TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A home run to tie the game in the third inning by Jessie Warren, along with a complete-game one-hitter from Kylee Hanson were not the only reasons to celebrate for the Seminole seniors on Wednesday night as the duo were both selected in the Top 10 of the 2018 National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) Draft.
Hanson was selected with the No. 5 overall pick by the Cleveland Comets and Warren went No. 7 overall to the USSSA Pride as the draft occurred during the 3-1 victory for No. 10 Florida State (39-8, 16-2 ACC) over Louisville (28-17, 7-10 ACC) to complete the series sweep.
It is the second straight season that Florida State has had two players selected in the Top 10 of the draft, as Jessica Burroughs was the No. 1 overall pick in 2017 and Alex Powers was draft No. 10, both by the USSSA Pride. The Noles join LSU as the only schools to have multiple Top 10 draft picks in each of the last two years.
“Any time that these kids get to play softball beyond college is an awesome opportunity,” said FSU head coach Lonni Alameda. “It can be nerve-wracking to play at the same time as the draft, but I thought they did great. Kylee didn’t have her best stuff at the beginning of the game, and I think a little part was nerves, but to bounce back and make the adjustments and shut them down was huge. Our offense dialed in and got after Hensley. She’s a good pitcher and moves the ball around and we left a lot of runners on base. So that is something to work on as we go on the road for the next two weekends.”
Louisville opened the scoring in the top of the first inning on a two-out solo home run by Megan Hensley. It was the first run allowed by the Florida State pitching staff in 25.1 innings, dating back to April 13.
The Seminoles threatened in the bottom of the first, getting a pair of runners on with a two-out single by Sydney Sherrill and a walk by Warren, but both would be left stranded.
FSU got runners on the corners in the bottom of the second on a bunt and stolen base by Cali Harrod, along with a walk by Morgan Klaevemann, but the Noles were unable to push one across and trailed the Cardinals 1-0 after two innings.
Warren got the Noles on the board in the bottom of the third inning, tying the game with a solo home run to center. It marked the 74th home run of her career, which ranks 16th in NCAA history.
“It is really cool to be able to continue playing the game that I love,” said Warren. “This team is scrappy and competitive, and we just love to fight. So when we go down, we never think we are out of it. It is fun to compete with these girls out here.”
Zoe Casas led off the Seminole fifth inning with a walk and was pinch-run for by Deja Bush. Bush stole second and came into score as Carsyn Gordon hit her eighth home run of the season to center, putting the Noles in front 3-1.
Florida State looked to add to its lead in the sixth as Cassidy Davis led off with a single and walks to Gordon and Sherrill loaded the bases, but all three would be stranded as FSU ended up leaving a total of 10 runners on base in the game.
Hanson retired the final 19 batters she faced to improve to 23-3 on the season, giving up one run on one hit with zero walks and six strikeouts. It is the 16th time this season that Hanson has allowed two or fewer hits in an appearance, and the 10th time in her last 12 games.
“Tonight was exceptional,” Hanson said. “Playing softball past college has always been a dream, even though the options are limited. To be able to be drafted in the first five feels incredible. My offense, my teammates are amazing and I had complete confidence in them to come back and had a great feeling about this game the whole time.”
The Seminoles will hit the road to play the second and final game of the 2018 Fresh From Florida Sunshine Showdown on Wednesday, April 25 against No. 5 Florida (41-7) in Gainesville, Fla. The matchup between two Top 10 teams will begin at 6:00 p.m., and will be broadcast on SEC Network+. Tickets are on sale at www.floridagators.com and broadcast links for TV and FSU Softball Radio, along with live stats, will be available on the softball schedule page of Seminoles.com.
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