Feb. 8, 2009
AUSTIN, Texas – Florida State begins the 2009 season with a tournament title after taking down Texas, 6-4, in the championship game of the Time Warner Cable Texas Invitational on McCombs Field Sunday afternoon. The Seminoles are now 4-1 on the year after notching two home runs and a double in the big win over the Longhorns.
Much to the dismay of the tournament hosts, the Noles won the coin toss and would have the home team advantage against the Longhorns. The Garnet and Gold got things started early, filling the bases and scoring two in the bottom of the first.
Senior Kaleigh Rafter put the first hit on the board with a single to centerfield that loaded the bases. A strikeout by Jessica Gilmore brought sophomore Ashley Stager to the plate with one out. Stager would suffer her first hit by pitch of the season, she was hit a whopping 17 times last season, that would bring junior Carly Wynn home for the first point of the game.
Texas would not answer until the top of the fourth when the leadoff batter, Alexis Bennett, hit a home run over left center off of FSU pitcher Terese Gober to put the Longhorns on the board.
The score would remain 2-1 until the fifth when both teams scored. Texas base runner Crystal Saenz managed to touch home plate before teammate Desiree Williams was tagged out at third for the last out, tying up the game 2-2.
But the Seminoles battled back with a Rafter home run down the leftfield line, her first of season and 27th career. Stager laid down a nice bunt to reach first and rounded the bases on a McConn double to pull the Noles ahead 4-2.
But Texas wasn’t giving up without a fight as FSU called in sophomore Sarah Hamilton from the bullpen to start the sixth inning. Hamilton walked the first batter and managed to strikeout the next two before power hitter Brittany Barnhill stepped up and knocked a two-RBI homer over left center to once again tie the game.
Florida State would go three up and three down in the bottom of the sixth, giving Texas one last chance to pull ahead. Gober would return to the circle for the second batter in the lineup and get out safely with no runs and one hit.
The pressure was on for FSU to win it in the bottom of the seventh as there was no time for extra innings with the Noles having to catch a 4:00 p.m. flight. Montez led the inning and grounded out to the first baseman. Rafter wouldn’t repeat her performance from the previous innings and grounded out to the pitcher.
With two outs and Stager on deck, Gilmore hit a single to the shortstop with one out left in the inning. It appeared the game would likely end in a tie as the count was full, but the shortstop took a mighty swing at the next pitch and sent it flying over the leftfield wall to clinch the 6-4 victory for Florida State.
Stager went 3-for-3, one homer, with three RBI and two runs scored while Rafter was 3-for-4 with one homer, one run and one RBI. McConn also had a good showing after hitting 2-for-3 with two RBI.
Gober was awarded with her third win this season as the Noles head back to Tallahassee to take on cross-town rival Florida A&M at the Lady Rattler Softball Field at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 11.
Following the mid-week contest, FSU will hosts its first of three home tournaments, the Sunshine Classic, with its first game against Appalachian State at 2:30 p.m. on Friday.