April 8, 2009
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – In front of the largest crowd (2,398) they’ve played for this season, the No. 21 Seminoles fell 3-4 to No. 1 Florida in a heartbreaking extra-inning game at Katie Seashole Pressly Field in Gainesville in Wednesday night. Florida State is now 29-13 on the season while the Gators improve to 40-3.
Despite the loss, seniors Kaleigh Rafter and Michelle Snyder had notable performances that included a two-RBI homer from Rafter which tied the game in the sixth and a solo round-tripper by Snyder that gave FSU the 3-2 lead in the seventh.
Picking up the loss for the Noles was Terese Gober (18-8) who entered in the bottom of the sixth and gave up two earned runs on three hits with four strikeouts.
Starting in the circle for FSU was sophomore Sarah Hamilton who punched out seven Gators and gave up two runs, one earned, on three hits.
The Gators were on the board early in the first as leadoff batter Aja Paculba singled to centerfield and would steal second as Tiffany DeFelice struckout looking. A groundout to Kristie McConn at second would advance the runner to third and a wild pitch from Hamilton would score Paculba with two outs.
The sophomore pitcher redeemed herself in the bottom of the second as she struck out the side, shutting down sophomores Kelsey Bruder and Megan Bush and junior Corrie Brooks.
Florida State had its first big opportunity to place some digits on the board in the third as Carly Wynn drew a walk followed by a Rafter single that ricocheted off the pitcher’s leg to advance Wynn.
A pop fly to left field from Mallory Borden would allow Wynn to tag third as Rafter attempted to draw the throw, but the play would end with both runners in scoring position and Ashley Stager lining out to the pitcher.
The Seminoles were mixed up in a lot of Gator hullabaloo in the bottom of the third beginning with a single bunt by freshman Michelle Moultrie to place a runner on with one out. The centerfielder would then try to steal second, but it appeared to both teams that the runner was caught by Rafter’s throw to second baseman McConn.
Apparently that wasn’t the case. As Moultrie began to saunter towards the Gator dugout, the first base umpire made the signal of safe and she took off towards third.
In a bit of a panic, McConn made a wild throw to Snyder at third that got away and Moultrie would score the second Florida run on the throwing error.
The Noles would battle back in a big way in the top of the sixth to tie it up at two apiece thanks to Rafter’s two-RBI bomb that flew way over the left field fence, her eighth this year.
Then, for the first time in the game, FSU would take the lead thanks to the solo round-tripper by Synder in the top of the seventh which pulled the Noles ahead, 3-2.
Unfortunately, there was little time to get comfortable even after an unbelievable line drive snagged high in the air by Stager would put two outs in the bottom of the seventh for Florida. The third batter up, Megan Bush, took a hard swing on the second pitch Gober threw to send it bouncing off the scoreboard for a solo home run that would send the game into extra innings.
No runners would score for either team in the eighth and the Noles would put one runner on in the top of the ninth when Jessica Gilmore singled up the middle. But a strikeout would give the Gators another chance to take the win.
The home team was successful in that attempt as the leadoff batter, Francesca Enea, would not only pick up her first hit of the game but also the walk-off home run to left that gave UF the 4-3 victory.
Florida State came closer than many of Florida’s opponents have all season on top of out-hitting the Gators eight to six.
The Noles jump back into ACC play starting Saturday, April 10, as they host Maryland on JoAnne Graf Field for a three-game series that will conclude with a single game on Easter Sunday.