April 16, 2014
PITTSBURGH (Seminoles.com) – The No. 8/9 Florida State Seminoles (41-6, 18-3 ACC) tied a school record with their 18th conference win of the season as they swept both games of a doubleheader over the Pitt Panthers (13-24, 4-14 ACC). FSU took game one 5-2 and won 10-3 in game two. Over both games, Maddie O’Brien hit two home runs, two doubles and drove in seven RBI in the FSU victories.
“We talk about the character of our program and the leadership that we have and Maddie has been outstanding with that,” said head coach Lonni Alameda. “She represents Florida State so well on and off the field, so it has been fun to see her excel and you wish for her to have great things.”
O’Brien continued her amazing season at the plate in game one as she ripped a 2-2 pitch to the left field wall for a double in the first and followed it with her 19th home run of the season in the fourth inning to give FSU a 1-0 lead.
Briana Hamilton almost added a solo shot of her own in the fifth as her blast to right center bounced off the top of the wall and allowed Hamilton to sprint all the way around to third. She was brought in a batter later as Tiffani Brown slapped a single over the pitcher’s head.
Pitt would get a run back in the bottom of the fifth after Lacey Waldrop allowed a leadoff walk to Ashlee Sills. O’Brien showed her defense on a diving stop in the hole and threw out the lead runner at second from her back.
Two batters later a single to left skipped low off the turf and got away from Stephanie Hartness in left field and allowed a runner to score and make it 2-1 FSU after five innings.
O’Brien crushed another home run to left – her 20th of the year – in the seventh to score Hamilton and Courtney Senas who had reached on a fielder’s choice and walk, respectively. It was her second two-HR game in her last three games and the third time she’d accomplished the feat this season.
The reshirt junior shortstop ended the game 3-for-3 with four RBI. It was her 23rd game this season that she has had multiple RBI and the fifth game of driving in at least four runs.
Waldrop improved to 27-4 on the season after throwing 7.0 innings, scattering seven hits, and allowing two runs, one earned and two walks while recording seven strikeouts.
O’Brien picked up where she left off in game two by drawing an intentional walk in the first inning and then roped a bases-loaded double to the wall in left to give Florida State a 3-0 lead. Her next three plate appearances were all intentional walks to give the Palm Harbor, Fla., native four for the game and eight on the season.
The three RBIs gave O’Brien 74 RBI for the season and 164 career RBI which set a new FSU record, surpassing Jessica van der Linden (2001-2004) who had driven in 161 in her career.
Pitt answered back in the second with a leadoff walk by Kaila Balatgek who came into score on a throwing error by Jessica Burroughs on a comebacker to the circle. A double to left by Jordan Fannin brought in another run and cut the FSU lead to 3-2.
Hamilton hit her second extra-base hit of the afternoon with a two-run double to left in the third after Pitt starter Savannah King had allowed walks to Victoria East and Macey Cheatham to stretch the Florida State advantage back out to 5-2 after three innings.
The Seminoles put up another crooked number in the fourth inning as Senas led off the frame with a home run to left center. After another intentional walk to O’Brien, Kelly Hensley hit a double to left to make put runners on second and third. East drove in a run on a ground out to second and Alex Powers’s double to the gap in left center gave FSU an 8-2 lead.
Jessica Burroughs was excellent in the circle for Florida State. She tossed 5.0 innings and gave up only two hits, two unearned runs, three walks and recorded nine strikeouts to get the win. Five of the first six outs were strikeouts as she improved to 14-1 and lowered her ERA to 2.34.
Florida State added two more runs in the seventh on back-to-back doubles by Hamilton and Brown, as well as an RBI single by Hensley to give FSU a 10-3 lead. All three hits on the day for Hamilton were for extra bases – two doubles and a triple.
Jessica Nori came into pitch the last 2.0 innings and gave up one run on three hits and did not allow a walk. She closed out the game with a perfect seventh inning inducing two ground ball outs and snagging a line drive back to the circle.
“It has been a long road trip and I think it has been good for us,” added Alameda. “I think when you get on the road you have some bonding moments, like we have had with the snow and cold weather and different ballparks that we’ve been to. But the leadership and the maturity has really shown through and to walk away with two wins tonight is huge.”
The Seminoles return home for the final two weekends of the regular season and take on Syracuse in a three-game series on April 19-20. Saturday’s doubleheader will begin at 5:00 p.m. and will be shown on ESPN3 with Tom Block and Robin Ahrberg doing the play-by-play. Sunday’s single game against the Orange is scheduled for a 3:00 p.m. first pitch and will air on ESPNU. Adam Amin and Amanda Scarborough will be on the call.
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