Feb. 26, 2010
COLUMBUS, Ga. — The No.18/22 Florida State fell by a score of 4-3 to Illinois and then demolished Southern Illinois, 9-1, in the first day of the NFCA Leadoff Classic in Columbus, Ga.
The loss to the Illini marked the end to FSU’s (12-2) 11-game win streak and signaled the conclusion of a run of six-straight shutouts. The Seminoles’ run-rule triumph over Southern Illinois was their fifth mercy-rule game of the year.
“I thought today was two well-fought ballgames,” FSU head coach Lonni Alameda said. “Granted we went 1-1 but even when you lose you have to make sure that you compete at the highest level and we did that here today.”
Senior Terese Gober got the loss and the win Friday as she gave up the game-winning homerun against Illinois after replacing Sarah Hamilton. She was able to quickly shake it off, though, and was masterful in her 4 2/3 innings of work against Southern Illinois.
Against the Salukis, Gober allowed just two hits and rung up six batters before being replaced by Lauren Varsalona. In the matchup with the Illini, Hamilton went six innings and struck out 10. She left the ballgame with a 3-3 score so therefore did not have to take the loss.
Jackson was a perfect 3-for-3 in the evening game.
“To see the runs tonight in the later game is encouraging,” Alameda said. “We had people getting into the box and getting hits and that is good momentum heading into two more tough games tomorrow.”
The Seminoles were able to jam the bases in the bottom of the first against Southern Illinois.
But an over-the-head catch by Southern Illinois’ Alicia Garza on Haddad’s soft fly ball to shallow right field ended the inning and kept it scoreless.
Jackson put the ‘Noles on the board in the second inning after freshman Tiffani Brown and senior Carly Wynn had reached base. Her single sent Brown home and then one pitch later Ahrberg connected for a standup double off the right-center wall.
The two-base shot scored speedsters Jackson and Wynn and extended the FSU advantage to 3-0.
The Salukis had Gober on the ropes in the top half of the third after putting runners on the corners with just one out. FSU’s starting hurler struck out the next batter but gave up a walk that loaded the bags.
A batter later, Southern Illinois’ Allie Hanson took it to a full count but Gober struck her out looking to get out of the inning without a scratch. Unhappy with the call, SIU head coach Kerri Blaylock was then ejected after a confrontation with the umpire.
If she had been around to see it, Blaylock likely would not have liked what happened next as Haddad jumped all over the first pitch she saw in the bottom part of the third.
The homerun blast marked Haddad’s third of the season and was followed by a bases-loaded situation for Jackson. With junior Kristie McConn, Brown and Wynn all on base, Jackson earned her second RBI of the night with a nice hit to shallow left field that plated McConn.
With the bases still juiced, Ahrberg then drew a walk that sent Brown home and pushed Florida State’s lead to 6-0.
The ‘Noles then jumped out to an 8-0 score when Jackson and Wynn scored from second and third, respectively, due to an error in the field by Southern Illinois.
A bases-loaded walk drawn by Collins made the score 9-0.
Brown got the first hit of the Illinois game in the top of the third when her well-placed bunt moved Monica Montez to second and got her safely on base.
Unfortunately for the ‘Noles, two runners on wouldn’t be enough to update the scoreboard.
All that changed in the fourth inning, though when Bullock came to the plate. With one out, FSU’s true freshman outfielder/pitcher hit a bases-loaded blooper to left field that scored Courtney Rosen from third base.
FSU’s 1-0 lead grew in the fifth when Haddad got Jackson home on an RBI single. Jackson, who had reached because of an Illinois fielding error, raced around the bases and slid home to just barely beat the throw from the outfield.
Jackson then got an RBI of her own in the top of the sixth. After Brown flew around the bases on a triple down the right line, Jackson dropped a hit just over the third baseman to make the score 3-0.
Hamilton’s perfect game then fell apart in the bottom half of the sixth.
First Illinois broke up her no-hitter with back-to-back infield singles. Then Hope Howell cranked a pitch over the right-center wall to tie the game at three runs apiece.
Gober replaced Hamilton in the seventh inning looking to send it into extra innings. But the Illini didn’t let that happen as Gober gave up her first homerun of the year as Jessica Davis nailed the game-ending blast just over Wynn’s outstretched glove.
The walk-off dinger gave Gober her first loss of the season after she started 6-0.
The Seminoles will continue with their third game of the NFCA Leadoff Classic on Saturday at 11 a.m. against Mississippi Valley State. FSU then plays later in the day against Hofstra at 6:30 p.m.