TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Jumping out to an early 3-0 lead in the first inning, the Seminoles then leaned quality pitching from Meghan King and Savanna Copeland as No. 14 Florida State (25-6, 5-0 ACC) earned a 6-0 victory over Syracuse (15-9, 4-3 ACC) on Saturday afternoon at JoAnne Graf Field.
The win is the 31st-straight ACC win for FSU, which moves the Noles into a tie with Jacksonville State (2015-17) for the ninth-longest conference winning streak in NCAA history.
The victory also secured the series win over the Orange and Florida State extends its conference series unbeaten streak to 43. The Noles are 39-0-4 in ACC series dating back to 2012, with four 1-1 series splits.
“We want to start each game aggressively and I thought we did a great job of taking advantage of some early opportunities,” said FSU head coach Lonni Alameda. “Meghan King pitched great and was moving the ball all over the zone. We were patient offensively in drawing a bunch of walks, and then were able to get some good swings to drive them in. We know we’re going to face Romero again tomorrow, so it is a case of who can make the adjustments and improve from Friday to Sunday. I’m really looking forward to it.”
Cali Harrod led off the Seminole first inning with a walk and stole second base for her 20th SB of the season. Sydney Sherrill reached on a fielder’s choice and moved up to second on a stolen base of her own. Elizabeth Mason followed with a two-run double to left center to give the Seminoles a 2-0 lead. Anna Shelnutt wrapped up the scoring in the inning with an RBI groundout to short.
It marked the 13th time that Florida State has scored in the first inning and the Seminoles improved to 13-0 this season in those games. The Noles have scored 38 runs overall in the first inning in 2018, which is the most runs scored in any inning.
The Seminoles added a pair in the fourth inning on a two-RBI single by Sherrill. Leslie Farris started the offense with a one-out single through the left side and Carsyn Gordon followed with her second walk of the game. A passed ball from Syracuse starter Anna Marie Gatti allowed the runners to move up to second and third, before scoring on Sherrill’s base hit to right field.
FSU scored its final run of the game on a sacrifice fly in the fifth inning by Harrod, scoring Korina Rosario, who walked, stole second base and moved to third on a wild pitch earlier in the inning.
Syracuse was unable to hit a ball out of the infield until getting its first base hit of the game off King with one out in the sixth inning on a single by Rachel Burkhardt. The redshirt junior pitcher had retired 16 of the 17 batters she had faced until that point, allowing only one baserunner on an FSU fielding error in the first inning.
King (11-3) wrapped up the inning with her sixth strikeout of the game to end her day in the circle. She gave up just two hits and zero walks in 6.0 shutout innings.
Savanna Copeland pitched the seventh inning for the Seminoles and recorded a strikeout to the first batter she faced. Syracuse got a runner on base with a two-out walk by Andrea Bombace on nine pitches, but Copeland ended the game with a strikeout.
The series between the Noles and the Orange concludes on Sunday, March 25, with first pitch at JoAnne Graf Field coming at 11:00 1.m. The game will be broadcast on ACC Network Extra, and all video, radio and live stats links will be available on the softball schedule page of Seminoles.com.
Admission is free for all regular season home games at JoAnne Graf Field, with reserved premium seating behind home plate available through the Seminole Boosters. For more information on the premium seating, contact Alex Douglas at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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