TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Using strong pitching in game one and an explosive offense in game two, No. 1 Florida State (7-0) earned a pair of wins on Friday at the St. Pete/Clearwater Elite Invitational. Meghan King recorded 11 strikeouts in a 3-1 win over Ohio State (3-2) and the Seminoles launched five home runs to take a 7-4 victory against No. 3 Oklahoma (8-1).
The lower half of the Seminole order carried Florida State on Friday as batters 5-9 in the lineup hit 11-for-29 on the day, including two doubles, five home runs, seven RBI and seven runs scored.
The five home runs against the No. 3 Sooners matched the most that OU has allowed since 2004, and ties the five-HR performance the Noles had at Syracuse on April 8, 2017.
“Thrilled with the way the team performed today,” said FSU head coach Lonni Alameda. “We faced a lot of adversity, but were able to work through them and grow a lot as individuals and as a team. Obviously pleased with the wins, but love the challenges and competition that we faced today, and will face throughout the weekend, that will help us develop through the season. Two complete team wins today.”
Game One: No. 1 Florida State 3, RV Ohio State 1
Meghan King started the game against Ohio State with four perfect innings in the circle, retiring each of the first 12 batters she faced, including nine strikeouts.
The Seminoles had their chances in the early innings as Cali Harrod started the FSU first with a walk, stole second and moved to third on a ground out. Elizabeth Mason drew a walk of her own and stole second, but both were left stranded on a lineout to shortstop.
Morgan Noah opened the FSU third inning with a single up the middle, took second on a wild pitch by OSU’s Lauren Rice and advanced to third with one out on a sacrifice bunt by Harrod. Carsyn Gordon reached on a fielder’s choice to short, and advanced to third on the play as Noah was retired in a rundown at home. Sydney Sherrill walked, but a leaping grab by Ohio State’s Lilli Piper ended the inning.
Florida State opened the scoring in the bottom of the fourth as Anna Shelnutt led off the inning with a solo home run to left. Back-to-back one-out doubles by Zoe Casas and Cassidy Davis extended the FSU lead to 2-0, causing Ohio State to make a pitching change and bring in Kat Duvall.
Morgan Noah lined a single to left to continue the inning, but a rundown and a groundout ended the inning.
Ohio State ended the perfect game with a solo home run by Kaitlyn Coffman with two outs in the fifth inning, to cut the Seminole lead to 2-1. It marked the first base hit allowed by Florida State in 11.0 innings, dating back to February 9 against Iowa State. The Buckeyes continued the inning on an FSU error and a base hit, but King ended the inning with her 11th strikeout of the game.
Ohio State threatened in the top of the sixth inning as a two-out walk and a base hit put Buckeye runners on the corners, but King got out of the jam as a bunt attempt by Amy Balich was popped up and caught by Gordon at first to end the inning.
Leslie Farris made it a 3-1 game with a solo home run to left in the bottom of the sixth, her first of the season and third of her career.
King (3-0) closed out the game in the seventh as she recorded her third complete-game victory of the season. The redshirt senior scattered four hits and a walk, allowed one run and recorded a season-high 11 strikeouts in the win.
Game Two: No. 1 Florida State 7, No. 3 Oklahoma 4
Florida State jumped out to an early lead in the top of the second against Oklahoma on home runs by Dani Morgan and Davis. Morgan hit a solo HR inside the left field foul pole, and following a two-out single by Casas, Davis crushed her first HR of the season to left center to make it 3-0 FSU.
Davis started the game in the circle and pitched out of a jam in the first inning as she induced a double play after a pair of one-out singles by Oklahoma. In the second inning, Oklahoma tied the game on a wild pitch, an FSU error and an RBI triple by Caleigh Clifton. Kathryn Sandercock replaced Davis in the circle and ended the inning with a groundout to the circle.
A solo home run by Sydney Romero gave Oklahoma a 4-3 lead in the bottom of the third, but the Seminoles battled back in the top of the fourth as back-to-back home runs by Mason and Shelnutt put the Noles back in front by a score of 5-4.
After a single by Harrod and a stolen base with one out in the FSU fifth inning, Gordon hit her second HR of the season to push the Seminole advantage to 7-4.
Mackenzie Puckett drew a pinch-hit walk in the top of the seventh, marking her sixth walk in six career plate appearances. The six consecutive walks are tied for 16th in NCAA history.
Sandercock (3-0) retired 12 of the last 13 batters she faced to secure the win, including a game-ending 6-4-3 double play. The freshman went 5.1 innings in the circle and allowed one run on three hits with zero walks and two strikeouts.
The Seminoles continue the St. Pete/Clearwater Elite Invitational on Saturday, February 16 with games against No. 8 LSU (1:00 p.m.) and Minnesota (7:30 p.m.). Both games will be broadcast on ESPN3 and live stats, broadcast links and field locations will all be available on the softball schedule page on Seminoles.com.
Throughout 2018-19, the Seminoles will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of women’s intercollegiate athletics at Florida State and there are many events and reunions planned for all women’s sports. Head to www.seminoles.com/50th/ for more information that will be updated throughout the year.
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