CLEARWATER, Fla. – The No. 7 Florida State softball team (8-2) fell to No. 2 UCLA (10-0) in a 6-4 loss on Saturday morning at the 2023 TaxAct Clearwater Invitational.
After leaving the bases loaded in the first, the Seminoles capitalized on their early offensive success in the second inning. Josie Muffley singled into right field to send Bethaney Keen to third, but a bobble by the Bruins right fielder allowed the runners to advance a base further, allowing Keen to run across home plate for the game’s first run. The next at-bat saw Kaley Mudge single to bring Muffley home.
Mack Leonard was in the circle for her third start of the season and gave up just 1 hit in the first four innings against a UCLA team that came in with a .418 batting average. She retired eight straight batters before the pitching change and moved to first base.
Allison Royalty came in from the bullpen to finish the fifth inning with runners in scoring position. She struck out the batter for the second out, eliminating the sacrifice chance before she retired the next batter on a ground out to Muffley to keep the shutout.
The Bruins were able to get on the board in the fifth inning, pushing four runs across the plate to give them a 4-2 lead.
The Seminoles responded by loading up the bases and used Muffley’s second single of the day to send Amaya Ross and Katie Dack home to tie the game at four
In the top of the final inning, UCLA used a single and double to put runners in scoring position. Megan Grant swung and hit one into right field for the runners to score and the play proved to be the decisive one as the Noles fell for only the second time this season. Sandercock picked up her first loss of the season, only the ninth of her career.
Josie Muffley had her first two-hit game of the season while scoring three of the four runs. She hasn’t batted in three or more runs since her same feat against Florida in 2021.
The Seminoles will finish the invitational with two games tomorrow at 1 p.m. against No. 22 Louisiana on ESPN+ then face No. 12 Alabama at 5 p.m. on ESPN.
For updates and exclusive content, follow the Noles on Twitter (FSU_Softball), Instagram (fsusoftball) and Facebook (Florida State Seminoles Softball).