TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — In a postseason slugfest that came down to the final out, No. 4 Florida State (54-8) came from behind to defeat No. 21 South Carolina (38-19) by a score of 7-6 on Sunday to win the NCAA Tallahassee Regional and advance to the Super Regional round for the seventh consecutive season.
Makinzy Herzog drove in the game-winning run with a two-out, two-run single to center in the top of the sixth inning. The freshman drove in a team-high eight RBI on the weekend and allowed just one hit and zero walks with four strikeouts with a victory in the circle, as well.
The Seminoles will host No. 13 Oklahoma State (42-14) in the NCAA Tallahassee Super Regional this coming weekend on May 23-26. The specific dates and times for the three-day Super Regional will not be determined until the conclusion of the entire NCAA Regional round.
For the Regional, the Seminoles posted a .887 slugging percentage as a team, recording eight doubles and 10 home runs, as 18 of the 25 hits on the weekend went for extra bases. Florida State scored a run in three of its seven offensive innings on Sunday, and the Noles have brought in at least one run in 16 of their last 23 times at the plate.
“First of all, I’d like to congratulate Bethune-Cookman, USF and South Carolina for getting to a regional,” said FSU head coach Lonni Alameda. “It is hard to reach the postseason and getting harder as the game is getting so much better from coast-to-coast. Big fan of South Carolina and always have been. They have an amazing coaching staff and players that play with a lot of heart. And that was a heartfelt game every pitch.
“Really proud of our team right now. Of course we are happy to be on the winning side, but the fight we saw was outstanding. We got sucker punched and haven’t been down like that in the fifth inning, but the team came together and played as Team 36 this afternoon.”
For the third consecutive game, Sydney Sherrill put the Noles on the board in the first inning as she lifted a sacrifice fly to left to score Cali Harrod. Harrod led off the game with a walk, stole second base, moved to third on a fly out and scored on the sac fly.
Elizabeth Mason continued the inning with a walk and scored on a double to left by Dani Morgan, her 11th 2B of the season. Anna Shelnutt added an RBI single to left to make it 3-0 Florida State. Cassidy Davis followed with a double off the top of the wall in left, but a nice relay from the South Carolina defense retired Shelnutt at the plate to end the inning.
The Gamecocks scored a run in the bottom of the first as a pair of one-out walks turned into a two-out RBI single by Kenzi Maguire to make it 3-1 FSU.
Carsyn Gordon pushed the Seminole lead back out to 5-1 with a two-run home run to right center, her 15th of the season, scoring Harrod, who reached on her second walk of the day. The run was Harrod’s 72nd of the season, tying Shamalene Wilson (1996) for the FSU single-season record.
South Carolina added two runs in the bottom of the third inning, chasing FSU starter Meghan King with two outs in the inning. Kathryn Sandercock entered to pitch for the Noles and got out of the jam with a ground out to second base. King gave up three runs on three hits with four walks and two strikeouts in her 2.2 inning start. The redshirt senior had her scoreless-inning streak snapped at 21.0 innings, dating back to May 5.
The Gamecocks tied the game at 5-5 in the bottom of the fourth inning on RBI singles by Cayla Drotar and Maguire.
SC took the lead in the fifth inning on a sacrifice fly by Alyssa Kumiyama, scoring Madison Owens who hit a double earlier in the inning.
The Seminoles scored twice in the top of the sixth to take a 7-6 lead as Mason led off with a double, Morgan followed with a walk and both scored on a single to center by Herzog.
King re-entered to pitch the final 2.0 innings for the Noles and allowed two hits and a walk with three strikeouts to close out the game and earn her third save of the season and 11th of her career.
Tickets for the NCAA Super Regional will go on sale Monday, May 20 and 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.