TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Continuing its undefeated start to 2017 at home, as well as in the ACC, No. 2 Florida State (45-3-1, 22-0 ACC) scored late runs in the fifth and sixth innings to earn a 3-0 shutout over North Carolina (36-16, 14-7 ACC) on Friday night at JoAnne Graf Field. Redshirt sophomore Meghan King tossed a complete-game one-hitter as the Noles won their 24th consecutive ACC game, setting a new league and school record.
“There are a lot of different ways to win ballgames, and we showed another one tonight,” said FSU head coach Lonni Alameda. “We struggled to figure out (UNC’s Brittany) Pickett, but we knew that one pitch and one play could prove the difference and continued to stay in it and battle. We only had three or four balls hit out of the infield, but we executed on some situations to get some runs on the board.
“Meghan (King) did an awesome job in the circle, getting strikeouts and also allowing her defense to make plays behind her. We’ll need to go back and make some adjustments for tomorrow, but I think we are in a good spot for the rest of the weekend.”
Offense was at a premium in game one of the series, as FSU’s King and UNC’s starting pitcher Brittany Pickett combined to allow a total of six runners through the middle of the fifth inning.
UNC opened the top of the first with a walk by Leah Murray, but she was thrown out by FSU’s Sydney Broderick trying to steal second and the next two hitters popped out.
FSU’s King retired 10 straight batters, including striking out the side in the third inning, until Kendra Lynch recorded the only hit for the Tar Heels on a two-out double in the top of the fourth.
UNC’s Pickett stymied the Florida State offense, issuing a walk in the first to Alex Powers, hitting Dani Morgan by a pitch in the second and allowing Jessica Warren to reach on an infield single in the third, but all would be left on base as the game remained scoreless until the bottom of the fifth.
The Seminoles got the fifth inning started on a bunt single by Cali Harrod. Carsyn Gordon followed with a single through the left side, and aggressive baserunning by the duo put FSU runners on second and third with nobody out in the inning.
Cassidy Davis opened the scoring with an RBI on a groundout to first, while Zoe Casas brought in another run on a fielder’s choice bunt to give the Noles a 2-0 lead after five innings.
Florida State added to their lead in the sixth inning as Broderick got on base with a four-pitch walk. Deja Bush ran for her at first, and after a fielder’s choice by Morgan and a UNC throwing error, the Noles had runners at second and third with one out.
Harrod placed a bunt down the first base line, but UNC’s Campbell Hutcherson threw home to retire Bush at the plate. As the play continued, Harrod turned to try for second base and UNC threw to the shortstop. Morgan rounded third and easily scored as Harrod got in a rundown and safely returned to first, making it 3-0 FSU.
King pitched a perfect seventh to close out the shutout, improving to 22-1 on the season with the complete-game victory, allowing just one hit and two walks with eight strikeouts over 7.0 innings.
UNC’s Pickett (20-6) gave up three runs on three hits, with two walks and three strikeouts in 6.0 innings in the loss.
Game two of the series will be on Saturday, with first pitch coming at 1:00 p.m. Admission is free and links for live stats, as well as our FSU softball radio stream, will be available on Seminoles.com.
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