TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Hitting three doubles and three home runs on Friday afternoon, No. 4 Florida State (52-8) opened the 2019 NCAA Softball Championship with an 8-0 victory in five innings against Bethune-Cookman (26-29) in front of 1,033 people at JoAnne Graf Field.
It is the fourth shutout in a row for the Seminoles, bringing FSU’s total to 22 on the season. It is also the fourth straight season where the Noles have recorded a shutout in their opening game of the NCAA Regionals. FSU has allowed a total of two hits in those victories to start the last four NCAA Tournaments with no-hitters against Florida A&M (2016) and Jacksonville State (2018), and a pair of one-hitters versus Princeton (2017) and Bethune-Cookman (2019).
There was a two hour and five minute delay during the bottom of the fifth inning due to lightning in the area.
“Great ballgame today and we had some opportunities to fight a little bit,” said FSU head coach Lonni Alameda. “I think Makinzy (Herzog) is getting better and better every time she goes out, and the defense is continuing to be more comfortable playing behind her. We had a couple of good swings all over the lineup and it was nice to get the W.”
For the 40th time in their 60 games this season, the Seminoles scored a run in the first inning to take an early lead. Cali Harrod led off by drawing a walk on four pitches, stole second base, moved to third on a fly out and scored on a sacrifice fly by Sydney Sherrill as FSU recorded its 110th first-inning run of the season.
Cassidy Davis made it 2-0 in the bottom of the second as she hit a solo home run to right center. It was her 10th HR of the season, becoming the seventh Seminole to hit 10+ HRs this season, and James Madison and Arizona State are the only other schools in the country to have even five players with 10 or more home runs.
Makinzy Herzog retired the first 11 batters she faced before allowing a two-out single in the top of the fourth to Kaira Cabato. It was the only blemish on her record as the freshman improved to 10-2 on the season with 4.0 scoreless innings and four strikeouts in the win.
Florida State added three runs in the bottom of the fourth to extend its lead to 5-0. Dani Morgan hit a solo home run and Herzog added a two-run double to left field, scoring Davis and Zoe Casas, who reached on a fielder’s choice and an infield single, respectively.
Kathryn Sandercock entered to pitch the top of the fifth inning for the Noles and retired the Wildcats in order, highlighted by an impressive spin throw from Harrod on a ground ball up the middle.
Carsyn Gordon hit a solo home run to begin the FSU fifth inning, just before a rain shower came to JoAnne Graf Field. After the over two-hour delay, Elizabeth Mason drew a walk and Morgan lined a single to left. Davis brought both of them in with a two-run double to right center to end the game.
The Seminoles will play USF (41-17) in the winner’s bracket game on Saturday, May 18 at 12:00 p.m. A win on Saturday will send FSU to Sunday’s 12:00 p.m. regional championship game. Saturday’s game will be shown on the ESPN family of networks and links for the broadcast and live stats will be available on the softball schedule page of Seminoles.com.
Reserved seats for the NCAA Regional are already sold out, but select amounts of Standing Room Only (SRO) and Berm seating is available. All-Session passes for the weekend will cost $15, while single-day tickets (if available) will be $10 for adults and $5 for children. Tickets can be ordered either on Seminoles.com, by calling 1-888-FSU-NOLE, or at the ticket office at JoAnne Graf Field on each game day. The main FSU ticket office is located at Gate B on the west side of Doak Campbell Stadium and the office hours are Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. ET.
Fans can listen to the FSU softball coaching staff, head coach Lonni Alameda and assistant coaches Travis Wilson and Craig Snider, on their weekly podcast: Coaches and Coffee – The FSU Softball Podcast. Each week, the coaches talk about the current state of the Seminole softball team, chat about NCAA softball from around the country, and have a lot of fun along the way. The podcast can be found on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, or directly at our website – fsusoftballpodcast.wordpress.com.
Follow Florida State softball on Twitter (@FSU_Softball) and Instagram (fsusoftball), and like our Facebook page (Facebook.com/FSUsoftball) to keep up to date with everything about Seminole softball.