TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Scoring in four of the six innings they were at the plate, the Seminoles continued their undefeated run in ACC play as No. 2 Florida State (46-3-1, 23-0 ACC) earned an 8-1 victory over North Carolina (36-17, 14-8 ACC) at JoAnne Graf Field on Saturday afternoon. Jessica Warren put her name at the top of the FSU record book as the junior launched solo home runs in the first and sixth innings – the 56th and 57th of her career – to become the FSU all-time leader in home runs, surpassing the total of 55 HR set by Maddie O’Brien from 2012-15.
“Anytime you win a series, that accomplishes the goal we set out with for the weekend,” said FSU head coach Lonni Alameda. “We were able to scratch out a win today and we know we’ll face an excellent pitcher tomorrow, so there is still work to be done. It was great to see different people do different things for us today as we had several players come off the bench and produce.”
UNC got out in front early, scoring an unearned run in the top of the first inning for a 1-0 lead. Leah Murray opened the game with a bunt single, but an FSU throwing error allowed her to move up to third base on the play. A sacrifice fly by Taylor Wike brought in Murray for the game’s first run.
The Noles tied it up in the bottom of the first inning on Warren’s first solo home run of the day.
FSU took a 2-1 lead in the third inning, putting runners on the corners with one out after a four-pitch walk to Alex Powers and a single up the middle by Sydney Broderick. Korina Rosario hit a pinch-hit sacrifice fly to left, scoring Powers to put the Noles in front.
Warren added to her RBI total, driving in her 60th of the season in the FSU fourth inning to make it a 3-1 game. Cassidy Davis led off the inning with a hit by pitch, moved up to second on a groundout and scored on Warren’s RBI single up the middle.
FSU’s Meghan King retired 14 in a row, until allowing a two-out walk to UNC’s Brittany Pickett with two outs in the fifth inning. She ended the inning with her third strikeout of the game.
Warren extended her career home run total with a two-out solo shot to center in the bottom of the sixth to make it a 4-1 game.
“It’s really special to be able to get this record, but I couldn’t have done it without my teammates and hitting coaches, and even Maddie herself over the years,” said Warren. “So all the props go to them for helping me be as successful as I have been.”
“From the day she stepped on this campus, she’s been a special player,” said Alameda. “And she’s just been getting smarter and smarter. She loves the game and the little intricacies of it and so it is really starting to show that she trusts all the works she’s put in. She’s definitely having fun with it too, which is huge for us.”
Powers continued the Seminole sixth inning with a solo home run of her own for her seventh home run of the season. The Noles loaded the bases after a single by Broderick and walks to Rosario and Leslie Farris, and Carsyn Gordon brought all three of them in on a single to center that was mishandled by the UNC fielder to make it an 8-1 game.
King allowed a leadoff single in the UNC seventh, and after a pop out was replaced in the circle by Davis. Davis only faced one batter as Farris made a diving stop at shortstop, flipped the ball with her glove to Ellie Cooper at second and the senior completed the game-ending double play at first.
King (23-1) earned the win, surrendering just two hits and an unearned run, with a walk and three strikeouts over 6.1 innings. The redshirt sophomore has been outstandingly efficient in her last five starts, retiring over 85% of the batters she has faced against Troy, Louisville and North Carolina, facing just 107 batters to make 92 outs in her last 30.2 innings.
North Carolina combined to use three pitchers in the game as Sydney Matzko (3-6) was the pitcher of record, giving up two runs and three hits over 2.0 innings with two walks. Kellyn Daly got the start for the Tar Heels, pitching 2.1 innings, giving up three hits, a run with a walk and a strikeout, while Hannah Nommensen allowed five runs and three hits in her 1.2 innings, with three walks and a strikeout.
The series between FSU and UNC will wrap up on Sunday at 12:00 p.m. as the Seminoles celebrate Senior Day. The five-member senior class – Sydney Broderick, Jessica Burroughs, Ellie Cooper, Lauren Harris and Alex Powers, along with manager Bella D’Errico – will be honored prior to, and throughout, the game. Admission is free and links for live stats, as well as our FSU softball radio stream, will be available on Seminoles.com.
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