ORLANDO, Fla. — Improving to 2-0 on the season against ranked teams on the road, No. 11 Florida State (12-6) defeated No. 22 UCF (16-3) by the score of 8-3 on Wednesday night at the UCF Softball Complex. Seven different Seminoles scored a run in the victory, as FSU and UCF were able to play the game that was originally scheduled for February 26 in Tallahassee.
“So proud of the team’s focus and mindset tonight,” said FSU head coach Lonni Alameda. “To have a game last night at home and then turn around and get on a bus this morning and play such competitive team on the road, that showed a lot of maturity. And we are going to need a lot of that in the coming weeks as we will be in the grind of several road trips. We executed in a lot of difficult situations, both offensively and defensively, and we can continue to grow that heading into this weekend’s tournament.”
The Seminoles opened the scoring in the top of the third inning as Morgan Noah lined a single to center and moved up to second on a walk by Sydney Sherrill, her 19th walk of the season. Dani Morgan followed with an RBI single to left, scoring Noah to put FSU in front, 1-0.
UCF threatened in the fourth inning as the Knights got runners on first and second with one out after a hit-by-pitch and a bunt single, but FSU starting pitcher Caylan Arnold struck out the next two batters to end the inning.
Florida State extended its lead to 3-0 in the top of the fifth inning, as Cassidy Davis and Josie Muffley each hit solo home runs to center and left field, respectively. It marked the second time this season that the Noles have hit back-to-back home runs, joining Sherrill and Devyn Flaherty on February 8 against Detroit Mercy.
Kathryn Sandercock entered the circle to pitch for Arnold in the bottom of the fifth inning. Sandercock retired the Knights in order in the frame, including a nice play at first base by Flaherty and a diving catch in left field by Kaley Mudge to end the inning.
The Noles added two more runs in the top of the sixth as Mudge opened the inning with a walk, stole second and advanced to third on an infield single by Sherrill. A fielder’s choice of the bat of Flaherty scored Mudge with the first out of the inning. Flaherty moved up to second when Morgan was hit by a pitch and scored on an RBI single by Muffley.
Florida State closed out its scoring with three runs in the top of the seventh on a three-run home run by pinch hitter Chloe Culp. Mudge hit a two-out double to right center and Sherrill continued the inning with her fourth walk of the game, before Culp launched her fourth HR of the season over the wall in center to put FSU up 8-0.
UCF rallied in the bottom of the seventh and scored three runs for the 8-3 final score. A single and a double brought in a run before Sandercock retired the next two hitters. The Knights used a walk and a pair of RBI singles to bring in the last two runs.
Arnold (4-2) extended her streak to 16.1 innings without allowing an earned run, as the senior tossed 4.0 scoreless innings with two hits, one walk and five strikeouts. Sandercock earned her second save of the season, giving up three runs on four hits with one walk over 3.0 innings of relief.
The Seminoles will stay in central Florida this weekend as FSU will compete in THE Spring Games on March 6-8 in Longwood, Fla. Florida State will play Longwood, Charleston Southern, Creighton, Penn and Detroit Mercy over the three-day event, with all five games broadcast by FloSoftball. Links for the broadcast and live stats will be available on the softball schedule page on Seminoles.com.
Fans can listen to the FSU softball coaching staff, head coach Lonni Alameda and assistant coaches Travis Wilson and Troy Cameron, 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.