March 10, 2012
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) – The 22nd-ranked Florida State University softball team put together two quality performances as it defeated N.C. State in both games of a doubleheader, 7-1 and 8-0 (5), respectively, on Saturday afternoon at JoAnne Graf Field.
The Seminoles (19-3, 2-0) began the conference season on a high note thanks to an offense that was opportunistic, producing 14 base hits in 48 at-bats. Redshirt freshman Maddie O’Brien sparked the batting order on Saturday by finishing 3-for-6 with two doubles, three RBIs and five total bases.
FSU’s bats were able to execute well in certain situations in its ACC opening day. The Seminoles recorded eight hits in 21 at-bats with runners in scoring position, and seven of their 11 RBIs came with two outs.
“We really executed well at the plate in key scenarios,” head coach Lonni Alameda said. “It was important for our hitting to pick up in this series and give our pitchers more confidence, and today that happened. I thought Maddie O’Brien really swung it well today as did some of our other players, and giving our pitchers that type of cushion is always huge.”
FSU improved to 18-9 in the all-time series against N.C. State. The Seminoles win their first two ACC games for the first time since starting 2-0 in 2005 after road wins over North Carolina.
FSU’s performance at the plate included some early run support for the 1-2 combination of pitchers Lacey Waldrop (9-1) and Monica Perry (7-2). Waldrop was superb yet again with just one run allowed in six innings pitched while striking five Wolfpack (12-12, 0-2) batters. Waldrop held N.C. State hitless in four of her first six innings pitched, and settled down nicely after allowing her only run in the opening frame.
Perry also had another fine effort, throwing a complete-game in five innings and allowing just one hit and no runs with six strikeouts. In 10 starts, Perry has tossed four complete games and retired her last 12 batters faced on Saturday.
In the first inning of game one, the Seminoles struck first when Erika Leonard hit a two-out jam shot to right field for a single, driving home Tiffani Brown. Brown showed her aggressiveness on the basepaths early, reaching base on a bunt single before stealing second and advancing to third on a flyout to left field.
The Wolfpack responded with a big two-out base hit of its own in the second inning, as Scout Albertson swung at a first-pitch offering from Waldrop and drove the ball to centerfield to bring in Renada Davis, making it 1-1.
FSU hammered out four runs in the third inning, as Borden’s RBI double that bounced off the left center field wall brought home Shayla Jackson to begin the scoring. Hamilton followed with a run-scoring single to left field, and the inning was capped by O’Brien’s two-run double to the left center gap.
In the sixth, FSU added more insurance runs after scoring on a throwing error from pitcher Morgan Peeler (4-3), followed by an RBI single by Borden.
In game two, Jackson put FSU up first with a two-out, RBI double down the left field line to take a 1-0 lead. Jackson drove in Bullock, who reached base on a walk.
FSU produced three runs in the fourth inning, courtesy of a couple Wolfpack miscues. With runners on second and third base, O’Brien struck out swinging but reached first base on a passed ball that also brought home Hamilton. Bullock followed with well-placed bunt single that was overthrown by pitcher Emily Weiman (7-9) to score two more runs, making it 4-0.
The Seminoles did more damage with two outs in the fifth inning, as Senas laced an RBI single to left field and O’Brien followed with a run-scoring double to centerfield. The game ended in mercy-rule fashion when Kelly Hensley lifted a two-strike offering for a two-run home run to give FSU the 8-0 victory.
FSU tries for the three-game sweep on Sunday afternoon against the Wolfpack at noon at JoAnne Graf Field. Sunday is also youth day at the park, with several prizes being raffled off through the contest.