Feb. 10, 2012
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) – Faced with small one-run deficits late in its first two games of the season, the Florida State University softball team managed to string together a couple of comebacks as it defeated Stephen F. Austin, 4-3, in game one, followed by a 10-6 victory over Ole Miss in game two of the Seminole Classic.
Besides the Seminole offense igniting their come-from-behind efforts, two key pieces to FSU’s 2-0 start was the relief pitching of freshman pitcher Bailey Schinella (1-0) and redshirt sophomore hurler Jessica Nori (1-0). In game one against the Lumberjacks, Schinella entered the game with FSU trailing 3-2 and helped stave off Stephen F. Austin by tossing 2.1 innings of shutout ball, not allowing a hit to seven batters faced. The Valrico, Fla., native earned her first career win as a Seminole.
In the following matchup against the Rebels, Nori faced a similar situation with FSU trailing 6-5 with the bases loaded and two outs in the sixth inning. Facing Ole Miss’ Cali Overbeck, the Weston, Fla., native induced a pop-up in foul territory to give FSU a more manageable opportunity. She then retired the side in the seventh to earn the victory following FSU’s five-run sixth inning.
“I was very pleased with the relief efforts of Bailey and Jessica,” head coach Lonni Alameda said. “For Bailey to make her first appearance and get a win out of it while throwing in big situations, that’s huge for her. Jessica has improved so much in the last two seasons and I expected her to come in and get us out of that bases-loaded jam.
“Overall, we showed some early jitters but we managed to find ways to win. We’ll hope to come back even stronger tomorrow.”
Against the Lumberjacks in game one, FSU left 12 Seminoles on base but was able to exploit their chances late. In the bottom of the seventh with a 3-2 deficit, freshman Erika Leonard started the rally with a walk, followed by a key single by Kelly Hensley up the middle. Sophomore Courtney Senas then tied the game when she hit a lined shot off third baseman Cadie Weaver to score Leonard from second base on an RBI single.
One inning later, FSU matched its walk-off win total from 2011 when Shayla Jackson delivered a shallow single to left center to score speedster Tiffani Brown from second base. In FSU’s lone walk-off victory last season, the same scenario occurred in which Jackson brought home Brown for the game-winning run. For the day, Brown wreaked havoc on the base paths with five combined stolen bases in both games. As a team, FSU swiped nine bags in nine attempts, including three by Senas.
Jackson finished 4-for-9 in both games combined with an RBI, one triple and two runs scored. She and Senas led FSU with three hits apiece in game one. Senas, a Wahiawa native, finished 1-for-3 with an RBI and two runs scored in game two. Leonard made a strong debut by going 3-for-5 with two runs scored and two RBIs for the Seminoles.
Making a big impact at the plate against Ole Miss was redshirt senior Mallory Borden, who went 2-for-4 with four RBIs for the Seminoles in game two. She gave FSU a needed cushion when the Jacksonville, Fla., native lined a three-run double to left field to plate Senas, Hensley and Leonard in a four-run first inning. Borden’s RBI total was a career high, surpassing her previous best of three which she accomplished three times.
Borden added an insurance run in the sixth inning when she brought home Senas on an RBI single, as FSU reeled off five runs in the frame to build a sizeable lead heading into the seventh.
The Seminoles return for the second day of the Seminole Classic on Saturday when they face Tennessee Tech at approximately 12:15 p.m. FSU will then participate in tournament play as the first and fourth seeds square off at 2:30 p.m., and the second and third seeds play at 4:30 p.m.