CATHEDRAL CITY, Calif. – It was a pitcher’s duel in the desert on Saturday night between No. 1 Florida State and No. 9 Arizona , but the Noles (13-1) were able to push across a run in the third and hold on for a 1-0 victory over the Wildcats (15-1) at the 2017 Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic.
“Great win tonight in a game that felt more like June than late February,” said FSU head coach Lonni Alameda. “Both pitchers had outstanding performances and it came down to a handful of plays to decide the winner. It’s been great to play some highly-ranked teams in this tournament and we’ll have the opportunity to do it again with UCLA and Michigan tomorrow.”
Offense was at a premium in the early innings as both starting pitchers – FSU’s Meghan King and Arizona’s Danielle O’Toole – did a great job of limiting batters’ chances as the game remained scoreless through the first three innings. Seven of the first nine outs recorded by O’Toole were strikeouts, while King allowed just four runners through the first four innings.
The Noles pushed across what proved to be the game’s only run in the bottom of the third inning. Morgan Klaevemann reached on a walk and stole second with one away for her 11th stolen base of the season. Jessica Warren hit an RBI single up the middle that was stopped by the second baseman, but it was deep enough to score Klaevemann and make it 1-0 FSU.
Arizona threatened in the fifth inning as base hits by Ashleigh Hughes and Dejah Mulipola put Wildcat runners at second and third, but King was able to get out of the inning unscathed with a fly out to left.
Quality defense kept the Wildcats off the scoreboard in the sixth as Warren gloved a low liner from Katiyana Mauga for the first out and Ellie Cooper made two great defensive catches on line drives to steal base hits and end the inning.
Arizona refused to go down lightly in the seventh as Mandie Perez hit a two-out single up the middle, and an FSU error allowed her to move up to second base. Jessica Burroughs came in to relieve King and walked the first batter she faced before ending the game with a strikeout.
King earned the win and went to 6-0, scattering five hits and three walks over 6.2 innings, with three strikeouts. Burroughs earned her first save of the year, and the sixth of her career, moving into a tie with Leslie Malerich (1999-2002) for sixth place on the FSU all-time save list.
Arizona’s O’Toole (8-1) picked up her first loss of the year, tossing 6.0 innings and giving up three hits, one run with two walks and eight strikeouts.
The Seminoles will close out their six-game schedule at the 2017 Mary Nutter Classic with a pair of games on Sunday, February 26 as No. 1 FSU faces No. 6 UCLA (13-2) at 2:30 p.m. ET and No. 14 Michigan (8-4) at 5:00 p.m. ET.
Both games will be broadcast live on FloSoftball.com, which require a membership to watch the games. A free FSU Softball Radio broadcast, as well as live stats, will be available for each game on Seminoles.com.
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