March 29, 2012
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) – A combined 12-for-18 effort at the plate by 1-3 hitters Tiffani Brown, Shayla Jackson and Maddie O’Brien helped put away Florida Gulf Coast on Thursday evening as No. 22 Florida State softball won both games of a doubleheader by scores of 5-0 and 7-1.
All three hitters highlighted a successful offensive day for the Seminoles (31-5), as FSU batted 18-for-52 in both games for a .346 average. Over its last eight games, FSU’s team batting has risen by 21 points as it continues to aid a pitching staff that ranks fourth nationally in team earned run average.
“Our top three tonight gave us a ton of production. They each had good, consistent at-bats tonight and made the most of their opportunities,” head coach Lonni Alameda said. “With a challenging conference series coming up it’s important for those three players to get hot at the right time.”
Jackson, a senior from Pembroke Pines, Fla., finished 5-for-6 with two RBIs, four runs scored and one triple in both games. Jackson’s three-bagger was her fourth of the season to put her near the top of the national leaderboard. Jackson also moved above the .300 mark this season.
Virtually every time O’Brien stepped to the plate there was a run-scoring opportunity, and she made the most of them by recording seven RBIs altogether. In game two, the Palm Harbor, Fla., native racked up five RBIs, which included two sacrifice flies as she finished 1-for-1 in the contest. Her five runs driven in were one shy of her season-high of six versus UC Santa Barbara on March 4 in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Brown was consistent all evening, going 4-for-7 with three runs scored. Brown had multiple-hit performances in both games to reach 11 on the season, the most on the team. Brown is now batting .320 on the year and has 29 stolen bases this season. She now holds an eight-game hitting streak.
FSU produced nine hits apiece in each game, highlighting a night in which the batting order jumped on the opposition for some early runs that set the tone for the entire evening. FSU started game one by scoring two runs in the opening frame, as Jackson’s infield single to second base ended up scoring a hustling Brown from second after no one covered first base in time on Jackson’s hit and failed to recognize Brown’s aggressiveness.
The second run of the frame occurred on Courtney Senas’ sacrifice fly to right field, a lined shot that scored Jackson. In game two, FSU’s early run came on O’Brien’s long sacrifice fly to left field to give the Seminoles an early 1-0 lead. O”Brien later opened up the game with a three-run double.
The early cushions were plenty for pitchers Monica Perry (13-2) and Lacey Waldrop (15-2) to work with. Perry picked up the win in game one after allowing just two hits with seven strikeouts in six innings pitched, giving way to Bailey Schinella who pitched a scoreless seventh.
Waldrop stranded nine Eagles (20-18) in her start and completed the minimum four innings needed for a win, allowing four hits and one unearned run. Redshirt sophomore Jessica Nori finished the non-save situation by pitching the last three innings and allowing just two hits and no runs.
FSU is now 24-0 this season when scoring three or more runs. The wins over FGCU mark the first time both in-state schools have met, as FSU now improves to 6-1 this season against Sunshine State opponents.
The Seminoles head back into ACC play for what should be an entertaining three-game set at home versus No. 23 North Carolina beginning this Sunday with a doubleheader starting at noon. Both of this Sunday’s games will be streamed on ESPN3.com.
The final game of the series occurs on Monday at 7 p.m. on ESPNU. Several promotions highlight Monday’s affair, including Military Appreciation Day as well as the first 200 fans in attendance receiving a free FSU baseball ticket for its Saturday game against Miami on April 21.