TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Closing out the 2016 ACC/Big Ten Softball Challenge, No. 13 Florida State (7-3) scored twice in the top of the seventh to take a 2-0 victory over No. 20 Minnesota (5-4) on Sunday afternoon on JoAnne Graf Field. Seminole redshirt freshman pitcher Meghan King tossed a complete-game shutout and freshman Zoe Casas went 2-for-3 from the plate with two doubles, including the two-RBI game-winner in the seventh inning.
“Something that is very important to our program is being smart and making adjustments,” said FSU head coach Lonni Alameda. “If we are going to play the same team in a three-game series, or two-game series, by game two we should learn something and make adjustments from there. I thought Meghan stuck to the game plan very well today and the hitters from first pitch on stuck to the plan for Groenewegen and didn’t falter from it. And that’s huge to see, especially with a young team. We’re really excited about that.”
It was a pitching duel from the beginning between Minnesota’s junior starter Sara Groenewegen and FSU’s King. Neither team was able to get a runner to third base until the fifth inning as Groenewegen pitched around a double by Casas in the second, and King scattered four hits through the first four innings, including a double from UofM’s Groenewegen.
Minnesota nearly scored in the fifth as Sydney Dwyer singled and was pinch ran for by Dani Wagner. Wagner promptly stole second and after Sydney Fabian singled up the middle, Wagner rounded third and headed for the plate. Morgan Klaevemann fielded the ball in center and fired a strike to Broderick at the plate to retire Wagner and preserve the scoreless tie. It marked the ninth career outfield assist, and third of 2016, for the sophomore centerfielder.
Groenewegen kept the Seminole bats at bay until the top of the seventh inning when Jessica Warren led off with a walk and she was pinch run for by Bella D’Errico. Ellie Cooper added a single to put runners on first and second for Casas. For the second time in the game, Casas blasted a double off the wall in left center, this time scoring two run to give the Noles a 2-0 lead.
“I was just thinking, ‘Zoe, keep swinging it. Keep swinging it,” said Casas. “I kept swinging and missing and knew I had to get it for the team. Once I did, I couldn’t be more thrilled.”
King (3-1) retired the side in the seventh to finish an impressive outing in the circle. She gave up six hits, zero walks and recorded six strikeouts in the complete-game shutout of 20th-ranked Minnesota.
“It definitely felt really good, coming off of yesterday and I knew I had a lot to work on,” said King. “But with the team’s intensity up every single pitch, it was nice to know they had my back and I knew that they would eventually score.”
Groenewegen (4-2) took the loss after 7.0 innings of work, allowing two runs on four hits with two walks and five strikeouts.
The Seminoles remain in Tallahassee for a mid-week game against cross-town foe Florida A&M on Wednesday, February 24 at 6:00 p.m. Admission is free for all regular season games at JoAnne Graf Field and a free live radio broadcast and live stats will also be available on Seminoles.com.
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