April 19, 2012
TROY, Ala. (seminoles.com) – Ahead by three runs in the early going, the No. 22 Florida State University softball team uncharacteristically gave up its second-inning lead and fell at Troy, 4-3, on Thursday evening at the Troy Softball Complex.
Nearly all the action took place in a lively second inning that saw the Seminoles (39-11) score three runs in the top half, only for the Trojans (28-16) to come back with four runs in the bottom half of the frame. Following the combined seven-run inning, pitching by both sides took over and dominated the rest of the game to end a swift 1 hour, 42 minute affair.
FSU held a 32-3 record when scoring first coming into Thursday’s game, indicative of its strong pitching when holding a lead. However, the percentages went against the Seminoles versus Troy as it chased starter Jessica Nori (3-2) out of the game with two outs in the second inning.
The Seminoles finished 5-for-26 at the plate, with three of their hits coming in the second inning. After starting 3-for-10 through the first two frames, FSU finished 2-for-16 in the last four innings with no extra base hits.
Troy starter Ashley Rainey (15-8) earned the win after settling down following FSU’s three runs scored. Rainey pitched a complete game and allowed three runs on five hits with just one strikeout.
Holding down the circle for FSU was freshman pitcher Lacey Waldrop, who came in relief in the second inning. Despite allowing the go-ahead run that wasn’t charged to her, the Chester, Va., native allowed just two hits in 4.2 innings and struck out five. Troy batted just 2-for-16 against the freshman, as Waldrop worked quickly and forced several outs early in the count.
FSU made a strong attempt to rally in the sixth inning. With two outs and Briana Hamilton on second base following an infield single and a fielder’s choice, Kirstin Austin laced a full-count pitch into left center. Austin then induced a rundown to try and help Hamilton score, but Troy shortstop Bailey Blake threw her out at home plate in what was a very close play to end the inning.
Erika Leonard recorded a three-run home run with two outs in the second inning to put FSU on top early. The Cincinnati, Ohio, native hammered a 2-2 inside pitch the opposite way over the right field wall for her fourth home run of the season. Courtney Senas led off the second inning by hitting a single to centerfield, and ended up scoring along with Austin on Leonard’s three-run blast.
What looked to be a comfortable early lead withered away quickly as Troy accumulated four runs on five hits with the benefit of one FSU throwing error in the bottom of the second. Sarah Shields’ RBI double to left center put Troy on the scoreboard, and a second run scored on Jaycee Affeldt’s sacrifice bunt that was overthrown to first base, making it 3-2. Kelly Luquette later recorded an RBI single to right field, and Nikki Hollett capped the scoring with a single to left center on an 0-2 pitch.
The Seminoles are now 23-10-1 all-time versus Troy, ending a four-game winning streak against the Alabama-based opponent. FSU will look to rebound in conference play and continue to ride an encouraging week that includes a home win over Georgia Tech (No. 25 RPI) and a road win at 23rd-ranked LSU (No. 20 RPI).
FSU returns home for its final regular-season series at JoAnne Graf Field as it takes on conference opponent Boston College beginning Saturday, April 21, with a doubleheader at noon. Sunday’s series finale beginning at noon will be senior day.