CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Extending its winning streak to an NCAA-leading 19 games, No. 11 Florida State (24-3, 4-0 ACC) posted a 15-6 victory over North Carolina (15-15, 3-4 ACC) on Friday night at Anderson Stadium. Junior second baseman Ellie Cooper led the Seminoles with five RBI on 3-for-4 hitting as FSU continued its undefeated start in ACC play. “Intense night, but glad to get the win,” said FSU head coach Lonni Alameda.
“It wasn’t a smooth game, but you have to fight and keep battling until the final out. We had some timely hits from Ellie and Zoe, along with defensive plays to help maintain the lead as North Carolina wasn’t giving up. Looking forward to getting some rest before our doubleheader tomorrow as it will be a tough afternoon.”
The Seminoles got on the board right away with a pair of runs in the first inning. Morgan Klaevemann got things started with a leadoff walk, reaching base to lead off the game for the 17th time in her 23 games played this year.
After Jessica Warren was hit by a pitch, Klaevemann came in to score on an RBI single to left by Alex Powers to make it 1-0 Florida State. It marked the 41st consecutive game that the Seminoles have scored a run, the fifth-longest streak in school history.
A walk to Sydney Broderick loaded the bases and Zoe Casas extended the lead to 2-0 with an RBI single to left. FSU scored in the first inning for the 18th time in 27 games this season and are 17-1 in those contests.
Ellie Cooper made it 4-0 in the second inning with a home run to left center, scoring Cali Harrod who led off the frame with a four-pitch walk.
North Carolina battled back with a pair of runs in the bottom of the third. Singles from Aquila Mateen and Taylor Wike put runners on the corners with one out. A successful double steal and an RBI double from Kristen Brown cut the FSU lead to 4-2 after three full innings.
Cooper continued to swing a hot bat, adding to the Seminole lead with a two-RBI double into the right field corner to score Harrod and Klaevemann who reached on a triple and hit-by-pitch respectively. Cooper has been powerful in recent games as six of her last nine hits have gone for extra bases.
UNC plated two more runs and made it 7-4 in the fourth on an RBI double by Mateen and throwing error that pulled Powers off the bag at first, allowing Mateen to score on the play.
Jessica Burroughs entered to pitch the final out of the fourth, ending Meghan King’s outing in the circle. King pitched 3.2 innings and gave up four runs, three earned on seven hits with one walk and three strikeouts. It marked the first time in six games and 29.1 innings that King had allowed an earned run.
The Noles added two more in the sixth on a bases-loaded walk to Powers and a sacrifice fly by Broderick to extend the FSU lead to 9-4.
A trio of walks by Burroughs in the Carolina half of the sixth set the stage for the Tar Heels to bring in a run on a hit-by-pitch to Brown to make it 9-5 going into the final inning.
Florida State put the game out of reach with a six-run seventh inning. Singles by Casas, East, Harrod, Klaevemann and Warren, along with sacrifice flies from Cooper and Casas extended the Seminole lead to 15-5.
The Noles have only needed to bat in the seventh inning nine times this season, with all of the home and run-rule victories, but have made those innings count, scoring in six of those nine games in the seventh inning. FSU has scored at least five runs three times in the final frame, all in road games at FIU, Cal State Northridge and North Carolina.
UNC scored a run in its half of the seventh on an RBI triple from Mateen to score Leah Murray who led off the frame with a single for the final score of 15-6.
Burroughs moved to 14-2 on the season with the relief victory, tossing 3.1 innings and giving up three hits and two runs with five walk and two strikeouts. It is her 11th consecutive victory and she now has an ERA of 1.34 on the season.
The series between FSU and UNC will wrap up on Saturday, March 26 with a doubleheader starting at 1:00 p.m. Both games will be broadcast through UNC’s premium GoHeelsTV service. There will also be a free live radio broadcast, along with live stats, available on Seminoles.com.
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