WATCH: Noles Rally To Win Second Game Of NCAA Super Regional
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – By the time they entered the top of the third inning here on Friday night, the Florida State Seminoles had seen 24 consecutive batters retired, dating back to Thursday’s first game of the NCAA Tallahassee Super Regional.
Having dropped that first game, and with Oklahoma State pitcher Samantha Show seemingly untouchable, the Seminoles needed to reverse their fortunes in a hurry if they were to have any hopes of returning to the Women’s College World Series.
They did, albeit not in the most traditional fashion.
A leadoff hit-by-pitch, a soft single and back-to-back walks gave Florida State a quick lead, a sacrifice fly doubled it, and – finally – a breakthrough hit from Elizabeth Mason scored the final two runs of a 4-1 FSU victory.
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For a team built on high-powered offense, it served as something of a mini-clinic in manufactured run-scoring.
And, at this time of year, any run is a good run.
“When we take our walks, we can make things happen,” said FSU coach Lonni Alameda, whose team drew five free passes on Friday. “… You saw some patience at the plate. Yesterday, we were all over the place, and (Show) mixing speeds kind of got into our heads.
“Today, we bore down and started to hunt some pitches in the zone and take the balls. It created some opportunities.”
Not many, but enough.
The Seminoles mustered only two hits after the fateful third inning, but the Cowgirls didn’t fare much better against FSU ace Meghan King.
All told, FSU and OSU – who rank fourth and 15th, respectively, in runs scored – have combined for nine runs and 20 hits in their two games.
On Thursday, the Cowgirls made the most of their limited opportunities. Twenty-four hours later, the Seminoles returned the favor.
“The difference is their base-on-balls and hit-by-pitch,” Oklahoma State coach Kenny Gajewski said. “Five free bags that cost us four runs. You can’t do that to good teams.”
Although Gajewski came close, neither coach would outright tip their hands about their plans for Saturday’s Game 3.
But it seems a near-certainty that the contest will feature King-Show, Round 3, and that, once again, scoring opportunities will come at a premium.
It’s perhaps worth note, then, that King has issued only one walk throughout the Super Regional.
Alameda acknowledged that King would be available to pitch on Saturday. And King, despite throwing 206 pitches in the last two days, and despite expected temperatures in the 100s by midday Saturday, is more than ready to embrace another game.
“I always want the ball,” she said.
With that kind of attitude, and the confidence that comes from scratching runs out of seemingly scarce opportunities, the Seminoles feel they’re in a good spot heading into Saturday’s game.
And why not? They’ve won seven consecutive elimination games since last year’s Super Regional.
“We can score a few different ways,” Alameda said. “We have the long ball, we have speed, the ability to hit and run. So, by taking some walks today, that showed a lot.”