TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Seminoles are making it a seasonal routine.
Florida State is headed to the Super Regionals for the fifth straight year after defeating No. 25 Georgia, 8-5, to win the NCAA Tallahassee Regional. The Noles won their 13th regional game in a row with the victory over the Bulldogs and moved to 4-3 in 2017 against the Southeastern Conference. “Very proud of our team for coming together at the right time,” FSU coach Lonni Alameda said after the game.
“Just to see them relax and trust each other is the maturity of what having experience has given us.”
FSU hit seven home runs in the Tallahassee Regional, including two on Sunday. For the year, the Noles have hit 71 home runs as a team. Jessie Warren connected on her ACC-leading 23rd home run of the year against the Bulldogs, a two-run blast, to give the Seminoles an early 2-0 lead in the first.
“Getting my swing off just sets the tone for the team and gives us energy,” Warren said of her first-inning home run.
“I think it also helps our pitchers and defense relax.”
Warren’s long bomb was her second of the regional and she is now hitting .419 on the year with 23 homers and 67 runs batted in.
Dani Morgan added a home run in the fourth to extend the FSU lead to 7-2. The two-run shot was the her fifth of the season and the freshman finished the game 2 for 3 with three RBIs. The Noles balanced lineup caused problems all weekend for teams in Tallahassee, which is part of what makes FSU so tough to beat.
“At any point in the game anyone can get their swing off,” Morgan said. “And you just have to trust your teammates, and I think we trust each other a lot.”
In all, FSU scored 18 runs on 24 hits in three games during the regional round, displaying its blend of speed, discipline and power. The Noles entered the weekend as one of the best offensive teams in the NCAA, ranking in the top ten of five different categories, and further cemented their case during the regional.
Work Hard, Play Hard
Florida State is admittedly a fun-loving bunch.
From dancing in the outfield between outs to the many chants that come from the dugout while at the plate, the Noles enjoy being around each other.
But when it’s time to work, the team is all business.
“I think it keeps us loose and helps keep us as a unit,” Morgan said.
“We are who we are on the field and off the field,” Alameda added. “If you try to be completely in the zone for 60 games in a season and be amazing in the postseason, you’re going to emotionally lose it.”
The head coach praised her team’s maturity and ability to focus when called upon, something the Noles hope will help them the rest of the postseason.
“You have to be able to zone in and zone out,” Alameda said. “But when you step in the circle it’s about business and that’s the kind of heartbeat we’ve talked about all season.”
Florida/Louisiana showdown on Tap
Up next the for the Seminoles is a Super Regional matchup against either No. 9 LSU, Louisiana, or McNeese State. The three teams are battling in the Baton Rouge Regional and the winner heads to Tallahassee for a chance at a trip to the Women’s College World Series.
Regardless of who the Noles face, they’re excited for the opportunity to play in front of their home fans again.
“The atmosphere from the parking garage to stands and the cheers back and forth, it’s a home-field advantage, but also a spark for us,” Alameda said. “It’s a such a cool energy boost and we haven’t had that in the past.”
The Seminoles have made the WCWS twice in the past three seasons, having reached the semifinals in 2016. The squad is now just two wins away from making it back yet again.
“We can see the light at the end of the tunnel,” Alameda said with a smile.
“It’s Oklahoma City, it’s what we want and it’s what we’ve been going for.”