CATHEDRAL CITY, Calif. – Playing three teams ranked in the top 15 in less than 20 hours to close out the 2017 Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic, No. 1 Florida State (14-1-1) earned a win and a tie on Sunday, defeating No. 6 UCLA (13-3) by a score of 2-1, before ending in a 5-5 tie with No. 14 Michigan (8-4-1), due to a drop dead time for travel.
The Seminoles are now 3-0 on the season against teams in the Pac-12 conference, earning victories this weekend over Stanford, No. 9 Arizona and No. 6 UCLA.
“We knew this weekend was going to be a huge opportunity for us to grow as a team through the game and the opportunities that we had against some strong competition,” said FSU head coach Lonni Alameda. “We are really, really excited as a coaching staff on how hard our kids fought.
“Today was a mentally tough day, playing two quality opponents, but I loved that each one of them gave everything they had and left it on the field. Getting the tie because of the drop dead is something unusual for us, but we’ll definitely build and grow from this experience. I’m really proud of them.”
FSU starting pitcher Jessica Burroughs opened the game against UCLA on an impressive note, striking out the side in the bottom of the first inning.
The Seminoles took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second as Alex Powers led off with her 10th double of the season, chopping it over the UCLA first baseman’s head and into the right field corner. Freshman Dani Morgan followed with an RBI single up the middle to give the Noles the early lead.
The Noles had runners in both the third and fourth innings, but couldn’t find a way to bring them in. Morgan Klaevemann reached on a UCLA error to open the third, stole second and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt from Ellie Cooper. A walk from Powers put runners on the corners, but both would be left stranded. Cali Harrod singled and stole second in the fourth, but was left on base.
Burroughs continued her strong start, facing just one over the minimum through the first 4.2 innings, giving up just a single to Paige Halstead in the second inning.
FSU extended its lead to 2-0 in the fifth inning behind a pair of doubles from Cooper and Powers.
The Bruins got their second baserunner of the game on a two-out single from Brianna Tautalafua in the bottom of the fifth inning, and after Burroughs gave up another single to Gabrielle Maurice, Meghan King came on to replace Burroughs in the circle for Florida State.
A single up the middle by Zoe Shaw cut the FSU lead to 2-1, but Cooper made a great defensive play at second base, ranging to her left and making a backhand stop and a backhand toss to Powers at first to end the inning and maintain the Seminole lead.
The Noles threatened in the sixth as Morgan led off with single through the left side. Korina Rosario put down a sacrifice bunt, and Morgan went past second and all the way to third on the play. However she would be left stranded after a pop out and a strikeout.
King closed out the game for the Noles, earning her first save of the season with 2.2 scoreless innings and giving up just two hits. Burroughs (7-1) picked up the win, tossing 4.2 innings and giving up three hits, one run with zero walks and five strikeouts.
UCLA’s Rachel Garcia (6-3) pitched a complete game in the loss, giving up six hits, two runs and three walks with eight strikeouts.
Florida State struck first against the Wolverines, taking a 1-0 lead after the first inning. Klaevemann led off the game with a 10-pitch at bat that culminated in a single to center. After a pair of hit-by-pitches to Cooper and Warren to load the bases, Powers hit a sacrifice fly to center to make it 1-0 FSU.
Michigan tied it up in the bottom of the first as Abby Ramirez was hit by a pitch and later came in to score on an RBI double by Kelly Christner.
Klaevemann reached on a bunt single in the second inning and stole second to move into scoring position for Cooper. The senior lined a single into right, but Klaevemann was thrown out at the plate to end the inning.
The Noles got back out in front in the fifth inning after Cooper was hit by a pitch and Powers walked. Sydney Broderick drove a double into the left field corner to score them both and give the Noles a 3-1 lead.
After Michigan loaded the bases with no outs in the fifth on a pair of singles and a walk, Burroughs entered the game to pitch for King, who started the game for FSU.
Burroughs got the first batter she faced to pop out, and Aidan Falk cut the lead to 3-2 with a sac fly to center. A walk and an infield single by Katie Alexander tied the game at 3-3 before a fly out to right ended the inning.
FSU took the lead back in the top of the sixth on a solo home run by Zoe Casas, but Michigan came right back to take the lead in the bottom of the inning. A pair of walks gave Tera Blanco the opportunity to give Michigan a 5-4 lead with a double to right center.
Cassidy Davis entered the game to pitch for FSU after the Wolverines gained the lead and got out of the inning on an infield single to Harrod at short, as the sophomore backdoored Blanco at third to end the inning after she rounded too far off the bag.
FSU tied it back up in the top of the seventh after a leadoff double by Cooper. Warren followed with a walk and Broderick loaded the bases with a one-out single to center. Morgan hit a grounder to third and U-M’s Lindsey Montemarano elected to step on the base and fire to first, but she was too late to get Morgan, allowing Cooper to score and tie the game at 5-5.
Michigan went down in order in the seventh, and due to a drop dead time in order to make flights home, the game was called a tie after seven innings with the score 5-5.
King finished with 4.0 innings, giving up three runs on six hits with two walks and a strikeout. Burroughs gave up two runs in 1.2 innings with two hits and three walks. Davis pitched 1.1 scoreless innings, surrendering just one hit with no walks and one strikeout.
Megan Betsa tossed 145 pitches in the complete game for Michigan, giving up five runs on seven hits with four walks and 11 strikeouts.
The Seminoles return home and will open up ACC play with a three-game series with Georgia Tech on March 3-5. FSU and GT will open at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, 1:00 p.m. on Saturday and 12:00 p.m. on Sunday as this is the first year that the conference series will be played over three days.
The weekend will also be FSU softball’s alumni weekend, where former players will be celebrated throughout the weekend. On March 4, there will be the Legacy and Legends dinner to celebrate the great history of Florida State and honor Jessica van der Linden (Boulware). Prior to Sunday’s game on March 5, we will be retiring her jersey in an on-field ceremony.
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