Every day beginning Monday, June 24 and ending on Wednesday July 3, there will be a countdown to Florida State softball’s Top 10 accomplishments from the 2013 season. Check back each day on Seminoles.com as well as on our Facebook and Twitter pages to find out where each feat ranks as we get to No. 1 on July 3.
In a year that was highlighted by a resurgent and record-breaking offense, Lacey Waldrop, Monica Perry and company wanted to make sure you didn’t forget about the team’s biggest strength in the circle. It was another fantastic year for the Florida State hurlers, evident by several statistics including this one: Florida State’s pitchers allowed two hits or less in 17 of the team’s 63 games played this season.
Not surprisingly, the Seminoles finished 17-0 in those 17 games in which they surrendered two hits or less to the opposition. The breakdown is as follows: Florida State tossed two no-hitters this season against Troy (March 3) and Tennessee State (March 13). Three one-hitters were recorded against Presbyterian (March 5), vs. FIU (March 12) and against North Carolina (March 24). Twelve two-hitters were produced against Florida A&M (Feb. 8), North Florida (Feb. 9), Bethune-Cookman (Feb. 10), LIU-Brooklyn (Feb. 22), at NC State (March 9), against FIU in game two of a doubleheader (March 12), at Maryland (March 30), vs. Boston College (April 6), against Virginia twice (April 14 & 15), at Georgia Tech (April 27) and in the ACC Tournament against North Carolina (May 10).
In the two-hitters-or-less gems, Florida State’s pitching showcased a sparkling 0.56 ERA. Monica Perry was 9-0 with a 0.47 ERA, owning a no-hitter against Tennessee State. Lacey Waldrop was 8-0 with an identical 0.47 ERA and recorded the no-hitter against Troy. Jessica Nori made six appearances and earned a save, while Bailey Schinella contributed with four appearances. Altogether, the four pitchers let up just 27 hits in 100 innings pitched in those 17 games played, holding opponents to a .082 batting average.
In Florida State’s 44 games won in 2013, the Seminoles outscored their opponents 319-70 and had an average margin of victory of 5.7 runs per game. Helping create a sizeable cushion in each of their victories were 17 mercy-rule wins, including one in each ACC series during the regular season.
Not only were the 17 victories by mercy rule beneficial for the Noles themselves, it got the fans out of the ballpark quickly. The average game time of the mercy-rule wins, which lasted between five and six innings, was 1 hour 39 minutes. Better yet, 13 of the 17 victories came at the minimum of five innings for a regulation game.
As mentioned before, Florida State pulled off a remarkable feat of earning one mercy-rule win in each of its seven ACC regular-season series. The Noles defeated NC State 11-1 (6), North Carolina 9-1 (5), Maryland 13-1 (5), Boston College 10-0 (5), Virginia 10-2 (5), Virginia Tech 11-0 (5) and Georgia Tech 8-0 (5). The 11-0 win against the Hokies on April 20 in game two of a doubleheader set up a Sunday finale that Florida State won to clinch its 11th ACC regular-season title in school history.
One of Florida State’s Top 25 victories in 2013 came in mercy-rule fashion, as the Seminoles topped Hofstra 9-1 in six innings on Feb. 16.
It was a fantastic season for sophomore pitcher Lacey Waldrop, who became the first FSU player to earn All-America honors since 2009. On May 30, 2013, it was announced that the Chester, Va. native was a National Fastpitch Coaches Association Third-Team selection, the Seminoles’ first All-American since former pitcher and school strikeouts leader Sarah Hamilton.
While many All-America pitchers are known for their overpowering stuff, Waldrop brings more of a deceptive approach but can certainly still fire it in there. She finished 24-10 with a 1.53 ERA, an average that was actually higher than last season’s 1.33 ERA. The difference in Waldrop’s pitching this past season was her ability to strike out batters, improving with 259 K’s this year as opposed to having 139 strikeouts as a freshman.
Waldrop became fearless in big games. She baffled rival Florida with 18 strikeouts on March 27 in Gainesville, and was outstanding in Florida State’s first two games of the NCAA Mobile Regional against Mississippi State and South Alabama. Her sidekick Monica Perry wound up saving the Seminoles in the circle against South Alabama, but Waldrop certainly put them in the ‘winner’s mentality’ with back-to-back outstanding starts.
Three times this season Waldrop earned ACC Pitcher of the Week honors, and dominated the conference competition. She was 12-2 with a 1.17 ERA against ACC foes, not including a string of dominant pitching against Boston College, North Carolina and NC State at the ACC Tournament. Her ability to attack hitters was much better in her sophomore campaign, holding opponents to a .191 average. Waldrop would end up finishing the season with the 16th-best ERA in the country.
While she is known for keeping her head held high in any given situation in the circle, Waldrop’s overall pitching repertoire proved to be head-and-shoulders above many others in 2013. She came to work each and every day in the bullpen, seeked advice from head coach Lonni Alameda and put all her knowledge and physical abilities to use in every appearance. Showcasing the right attitude on and off the field, Waldrop is one of several beacons of light that the Noles have to look forward to over the next few years.
Florida State softball took the ACC by storm in 2013, finishing with an 18-2 record in the regular season that was one win shy of the conference record of 19 held by Georgia Tech in 2010. The Seminoles had a chance at tying the wins mark but their final game of the regular-season was cancelled due to heavy rain.
The result was Florida State’s 11th ACC regular-season title and a No. 1 seed in the conference tournament. When you have a dominating year like that in the conference, the individual awards begin to build up as they came in record fashion. The Seminoles boasted the ACC Coach of the Year (Lonni Alameda), four All-ACC First Team selections (Victoria East, Courtney Senas, Lacey Waldrop, Monica Perry) and one second-team selection (Morgan Bullock). Don’t let Bullock’s second-team pick fool you, she ended up joining teammate and All-American Lacey Waldrop on the all-region team.
Since the first and second-team conference formats were introduced in 2005, Florida State’s five total All-ACC selections tie a school record set in 2007. The Seminoles’ list of four first-team student-athletes breaks the previous school mark of three established in 2006 and 2012.
The four-first team selections also tie a conference high, with Georgia Tech accomplishing the feat four times (2005, 2007, 2010, 2011) and North Carolina doing it once in 2008. Even better for the Noles, three of their four first-team selections in East, Senas and Waldrop return next season, while Perry and second-team pick Bullock will be missed following their senior seasons.
It was Benjamin Franklin who once said “The only things certain in life are death and taxes.” Well, since the new millennium began you can add another certainty – Florida State softball making the NCAA Tournament.
Since 2000, the Seminoles have found their way to an NCAA Regional in every season – marking 14 consecutive trips to the Field of 64. The 14 straight NCAA Regional bids extend a program record, which had been 11 until the 2011 team added to the streak by securing a trip with an ACC postseason title.
Currently, the Seminoles are one of just 11 programs that have made the NCAA Tournament in every season since 2000. The other schools make up some pretty good company – California, Arizona, Washington, Oklahoma, Michigan, Stanford, UCLA, Louisiana Lafayette, Notre Dame and Alabama. Florida State is the only school from the ACC that belongs in this exclusive club.
Although it is always expected for the Noles to participate in NCAA postseason play, it is never a given. Yet since the Y2K scare came to a screeching halt and Cast Away made its debut on the screen, Florida State has been able to play in the “new season” year after year.
It’s been noted before, but Florida State softball virtually ran away with the conference lead this season and never looked back. The Seminoles won the ACC regular season in dominating fashion, finishing 18-2 against conference opponents.
For the 11th time in program history, Florida State clinched a No. 1 seed in the ACC Tournament. The Seminoles won the ACC crown by five games over NC State, which was swept by Florida State in the regular season but exacted its revenge with a 1-0 win in the conference title game. In fact, the five-game differential is tied for the most by a conference champion in ACC history, tying Georgia Tech when it won the league by the same amount of games in 2010 and 2011.
In many sports including softball, your statistical numbers typically dip a little bit in conference play. The exact opposite was the case for the Noles in 2013 as they batted .340 against ACC opponents compared to its stellar .292 overall batting average. Florida State’s pitching only got better in the ACC, showing a 1.35 team ERA compared to a 1.82 overall ERA. Redshirt senior pitcher Monica Perry was dominant in the conference, going 6-0 with a 1.14 ERA.
In 2013, Florida State softball accomplished one of many firsts in program history – it won all seven ACC series played in the regular season.
While much has been documented in this Top 10 countdown of the different feats the Noles reached in ACC play, you can surely add this near the top of the list. Florida State swept five of its seven ACC series played (counting the two-game set against Georgia Tech to end the regular season) and went into the ACC Tournament riding a 13-game conference winning streak.
Florida State’s two losses? A 5-4 stinger against UNC on March 23 where it ended the game leaving a runner in scoring position with one out. The other one was another tough 5-4 loss, this time on the road at Maryland on March 30 where it relinquished a three-run lead in the bottom of the seventh. Take the typical production from the Seminoles in both situations and Florida State could have become the first undefeated team in league history since the current 21-game format was introduced.
It was the evening of March 27, 2013, and with a record crowd of 2,443 fans in the stands, fans of both Florida State and Florida packed Pressly Stadium in Gainesville to see two rivals clash on the softball field.
While they watched a gut-wrenching walk-off win by Florida in eight innings, the scintillating performance by pitcher Lacey Waldrop is what stole the show for the majority of the contest. The NFCA Third-Team All-American sat down one of the nation’s most dynamic offensive units with an incredible 18-strikeout performance in 6.2 innings of work. With 32 Florida batters reaching the plate against Waldrop, more than half were sent packing as her effective mix of pitches and speeds caught the Gators off guard throughout the evening.
Florida hitters 1-4 combined to strike out 10 times against Waldrop, going 2-for-14 at the plate. All-American Lauren Haeger struck out three times versus Waldrop, whose three runs allowed were all unearned as a result of fielding errors. Waldrop fanned three batters in an inning five times, mowing down the Gators with each K. It was marked as the best individual performance by a Seminole softball player this past season.
The Chester, Va. native’s 18 strikeouts against the Gators was the most by a Seminole pitcher since former All-American and career strikeout leader Sarah Hamilton recorded 20 K’s against Auburn on March 18, 2010, in a nine-inning contest.
Perhaps nothing was more entertaining in the 2013 season than watching Florida State softball mash and bash a record-setting 60 home runs. The total number of round-trippers eclipsed the old school record of 49 (2007) by a double-digit margin of 11.
Through the guidance of offensive coaches Travis Wilson and Craig Snider, in just their second seasons, the Seminoles showcased immense power in the recent year. Four student-athletes in Courtney Senas (14), Kelly Hensley (13), Maddie O’Brien (10) and Celeste Gomez (10) recorded double-digit home runs, twice the amount of the previous school record for double-digit home runs (2) in one season.
In 16 of Florida State’s 63 games played, the Seminoles produced multiple home runs. The long ball display was highlighted by a four home-run effort at UCF on Feb. 20, which included several tape-measure blasts. The Noles produced three home runs against Presbyterian (March 5), at NC State (March 9), versus North Carolina (March 24), at Virginia Tech (April 20) and at Georgia Tech (April 27). Altogether, Florida State homered in 36 games.
The record-setting 50th home run of the season was hit by none other than … Bailey Schinella. The Valrico, Fla. native picked a historic moment to hit her first career home run when she delivered a shot to right field on April 20 in game two of a doubleheader at Virginia Tech.
Not surprisingly, it was the end part of the Seminoles’ season that was truly special. With everything accomplished leading up to the NCAA postseason, what made the year a celebratory benchmark was the “Miracle in Mobile” that sent Florida State to its first super regional since 2006.
The Seminoles were sent to the No. 13 seed South Alabama’s regional in Mobile, Ala. Florida State was already familiar with the site after traveling to face the Jaguars in a mid-week matchup on April 10 and walking away with a 4-0 loss. This time, however, the Noles came out with dominant stuff in the circle and put itself in position with a 5-2 victory over Mississippi State and a 2-0 shutout over South Alabama.
That Sunday, May 19, all Florida State needed to do was defeat South Alabama once. The first game of the day resulted in a 3-0 loss to the Jaguars to set up a winner-takes-all final game of the Mobile Regional. And in that game, the Seminoles were dealt a tough blow when they found themselves down 6-1 going into the top of the seventh.
All of the sudden there are two outs in the final inning, Noles still trailing 6-1 with Courtney Adams on second base, Bailey Schinella on first base. Batter Alex Kossoff hits an infield single to third base, and the throw to first base ends up being mishandled to allowed Adams to score and make it 6-2. With runners on first and second base, unsung hero Kaitlin Allen battles on a 2-2 count and ends up drawing a walk to load the bases for the Seminoles.
A glimmer of hope begins to show for Florida State, as top-of-the-order batter Kelly Hensley steps to the plate albeit against the nation’s top pitcher in terms of ERA in Hannah Campbell. Unbelievably, Hensley gets a 1-1 pitch and records a grand slam that hits off the scoreboard in left field to tie the game at 6-6.
After Kaitlin Allen records a season-saving putout with runners in scoring position in the bottom of the seventh, Victoria East hits the game-winning home run in the top of the eighth to put FSU ahead 7-6. Reliever Monica Perry, who entered earlier the game, continues her scoreless streak and gets the win in relief after closing the door in the bottom half.
It was a victory that not only was program-changing from recent years, but a true characterization of the stick-to-itiveness shown by the Seminoles in 2013. With a never-give-up attitude that kept them poised even in the worst of situations, Florida State proved on that unforgettable night that the game never ends until the final out is made.