March 5, 2012
HONOLULU, Hawaii (seminoles.com) – Redshirt junior pitcher Monica Perry and redshirt freshman shortstop Maddie O’Brien provided big performances as the 20th-ranked Florida State Softball team split its final day of the Bank of Hawaii Invitational Tournament. FSU defeated UC Santa Barbara, 13-4, and lost at No. 22 Hawaii, 1-0, in the championship game.
The Seminoles (17-3) finished 2-3 at the competitive tournament, putting up another strong fight against the nationally-ranked Rainbow Wahine (15-0). Known as one of the nation’s best offensive squads, Hawaii was stymied once again by FSU’s pitching as Perry (6-2) took another undeserving loss after allowing just two hits and no earned runs in six innings pitched.
Perry, a Whitesburg, Ga., native, was extremely impressive versus Hawaii. The redshirt junior fanned a career high 13 batters and made the talented batting order overly aggressive with several good pitches. Hawaii’s lone run in the contest even came unearned, as Dara Pagaduan’s strikeout swinging resulted in an errant throw to first base that drove in a Hawaii runner who was in scoring position.
At one point in the contest, the reigning national pitcher of the week fanned six consecutive Rainbow Wahine batters in the fourth and fifth innings. After allowing a double to Makani Duhaylonsod with one out in the second inning, Perry did not allow another hit to a Rainbow Wahine hitter until the sixth inning, a span of 12 batters.
In her two appearances at the tournament, Perry suffered her first two losses of the season unconventionally. She did not allow an earned run in 12.2 innings pitched and held down the opposition with 20 strikeouts. Opponents hit just .116 off Perry in her two starts.
Perry showed her poise early when she stranded three Hawaii base runners to get out of a bases-loaded jam. With one out, Perry walked Sarah Robinson and Jessica Iwata to load the bases but managed to strike out Alex Aguirre and Sharla Kliebenstein consecutively to keep the Rainbow Wahine scoreless through one inning. In the frame, Perry struck out four batters.
A Maddie O’Brien base hit and walks by Erika Leonard and Kelly Hensley allowed FSU to load the bases with one out in the second inning versus Hawaii. The Seminoles were unable to score any runs in the frame after a double play that ended with a borderline `out’ call at home plate finished FSU’s scoring threat.
Hawaii notched the game’s first and only run in the second inning by way of an errant throw, as Pagaduan struck out but reached first base on a throwing error. In that play, Duhaylonsod came around from second base to score and give the Rainbow Wahine a 1-0 lead.
O’Brien put forth a tremendous effort in FSU’s mercy-rule victory over UC Santa Barbara. The Palm Harbor, Fla., native registered a season-high six RBIs and two home runs, including a walk-off three run-home run in the bottom of the sixth that gave the Seminoles the needed advantage to end the game.
O’Brien’s first blast turned the game around significantly. On a full-count offering from Shelby Wisdom (4-6), O’Brien turned on a pitch and sent it over the right center wall for her first career home run as a Seminole, giving FSU a 5-4 lead. O’Brien’s six runs driven in are the most by a Seminole since former player Kaleigh Rafter had six RBIs on April 25, 2009, versus Virginia.
FSU set several offensive season highs against UC Santa Barbara, including runs scored (13), base hits (12), RBIs (11), home runs (3) and total bases (21). Aside from O’Brien’s two-hit performance, Tiffani Brown, Mallory Borden and Leonard also recorded multiple-hit games.
FSU came away with one run in the bottom of the first inning, as Shayla Jackson crossed the plate with the bases loaded on a wild pitch from Wisdom. The Seminoles did a good job of working the count in the inning, drawing two walks and a hit-by-pitch to load the bases.
The Gauchos (7-15) came back with one run in the second inning as Jenessa Jeppesen drove in a run on sacrifice fly to right field. UCSB used two singles in the inning to put runners in scoring position and load the bases with no outs. Jessica Nori was able to let her fielders make plays and managed to leave two runners on base.
Wisdom gave the Gauchos a boost in the third inning when she lined a three-run home run over the left center wall, making it 4-1.
Briana Hamilton’s fifth home run of the season allowed the Seminoles to trim their deficit to 4-3. Hamilton had a workmanlike at-bat versus Wisdom in the third inning, forcing a full count before hammering a pitch over the centerfield wall for a two-run blast. Hamilton drove in Brown, who led off the inning with a bunt single and a stolen base.
Following O’Brien’s big blast in the fourth, a five-run fifth inning ensued. O’Brien hit a grounder that was misfielded by shortstop Keilani Jennings to drive in two runs, with one being an RBI. Morgan Bullock then drove in a run on an RBI single through the right side, followed by Brown’s two-run single up the middle.
Freshman reliever Bailey Schinella (2-0) earned the win, providing three substantial innings pitched and allowing just one hit while striking out four.
FSU will get the day off Monday before facing No. 22 Hawaii again on Tuesday, March 6, at 11 p.m. ET/6 p.m. HT. The game will be televised locally on OC Sports Channel 12 or 1012 (HD).