TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Facing the two best teams in the Big Ten on Saturday, No. 13 Florida State (6-3) lost to No. 2 Michigan (7-1), 10-3, before earning a 5-4, walk-off victory over No. 20 Minnesota (5-3) on a solo home run by Victoria East to wrap up the second day of the 2016 ACC/Big Ten Challenge in Tallahassee.
“I think this entire weekend will be a growing opportunity for us,” said FSU head coach Lonni Alameda. “We’re a young team and trying to figure ourselves out, so it is awesome to be in these games and obviously awesome to win them. But I think it is more of the challenges and the chess match and the trusting your pitches and your swings that will show up huge for us down the road.”
Against Michigan, the Wolverines scored the first run of the game in the bottom of the first inning on a bases loaded Seminole fielding error with two outs.
FSU had its chances early on, getting multiple runners on base in each of the first three innings, including singles by Zoe Casas and Korina Rosario, but much like during Friday night’s game, the Seminoles stranded them on base.
Michigan used a big five-run third inning to break the game open. The first run of the inning was driven in on a single from Abby Ramirez that bounced off the second base bag and away from Klaevemann in center, while the second run was deflected by FSU starter Meghan King on a ball back up the middle and away from Ellie Cooper at second base. Sierra Lawernce left no doubt for the final runs in the inning as she hit a three-run home run to left field to make it 6-0 Michigan after three innings.
Another Michigan home run from Kelsey Susalla pushed the lead to 7-0 going to the top of the fifth. Florida State started the inning with a single up the middle from Jessica Warren and Alex Powers put the Noles on the board with her first home run of the season to make it 7-2.
The inning continued with a single from Alex Kossoff to chase Michigan starter Sara Driesenga from the game. Megan Betsa enters and offered up an RBI double off the wall by Zoe Casas to cut the lead to 7-3.
Michigan answered right back with three runs in the bottom of the fifth with a solo home run, an FSU fielding error and an RBI single from Tera Blanco. Morgan Klaevemann held off the run-rule attempt from Michigan in the fifth, gunning down Kelly Christner at the plate on Blanco’s single to center to hold Michigan’s advantage to 10-3.
Tessa Daniels pitched the final inning in relief for the Noles, retiring all three batters she faced on a trio of nice defensive plays – two from Cooper at second and another from Warren at third. Meghan King (2-1) took the loss after 5.0 innings of work, giving up 10 runs, seven earned on nine hits with four walks and zero strikeouts.
Driesenga moved to 4-0 with the win for Michigan, tossing 4.2 innings and giving up five hits, three runs with three walks and five strikeouts. Betsa recorded five strikeouts in 2.1 innings and allowed just one hit and zero runs or walks.
Versus the Golden Gophers of Minnesota, the Seminoles took a quick 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first on a two-RBI single from Cooper to score Warren and Powers who had reached on a walk and infield single, respectively.
Minnesota cut the lead to 2-1 in the third inning on a solo home run from Sam Macken down the left field line off of FSU starter Jessica Burroughs.
FSU answered right back in the bottom of the frame with a sacrifice fly to centerfield from Powers to score Klaevemann from third and give the Noles a 3-1 lead after three.
Minnesota nearly tied the game in the fourth, but an amazing defensive play by Klaevemann in center ended the inning with a double play. After a walk to Maddie Houlihan, Kayla Wenner launched a long fly ball to straightaway center and Klaevemann tracked the ball down and caught it as she crashed into the wall. She flipped the ball to right fielder Victoria East as she was falling to the ground, who threw it in to double off Houlihan at first who was running on the play.
The Gophers again made it a one-run game in the sixth with a sacrifice fly from Paige Palkovich. FSU added a sac fly of their own in the bottom half by Zoe Casas to score Powers who led off the inning with a double and make it 4-2 after six innings.
Minnesota fought for two runs in the top of the seventh to tie the game as the first two batters of the inning reached on a single and a walk. A single from Macken made it 4-3, while a wild pitch from Burroughs on an intentional walk attempt tied the game at 4-4.
The Seminoles wasted no time in securing the victory in the bottom of the inning as leadoff hitter East launched a 1-1 pitch from Minnesota pitcher Nikki Anderson over the wall in centerfield for a walk-off home run.
Burroughs (4-2) finished with 7.0 IP, six hits, four runs, four walks and a season-high 10 strikeouts. UM’s Anderson (0-1) took the loss with 6.0 innings pitched, nine hits, five runs, one walk and zero strikeouts.
Florida State will wrap up the 2016 ACC/Big Ten Challenge on Sunday with another game against No. 20 Minnesota on JoAnne Graf Field. First pitch will be at 12:30 p.m. and the game will be televised on ESPN3 with Jonathan Schillace and Alex Gallant on the call.
Admission is free for all regular season games at JoAnne Graf Field and live stats will also be available on Seminoles.com.
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