Feb. 19, 2014
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The No. 10-ranked Florida State softball team won their 11th game in a row Wednesday night, defeating previously unbeaten UCF, 6-1, behind a strong 6.0 inning, 14 strikeout performance by junior pitcher Lacey Waldrop. The Seminoles scored one in the first and two in the second as they cruised to the 6-1 win.
"It was an outstanding effort by the entire team," said head coach Lonni Alameda. "Lacey pitched in some great spots. Bri Hamilton and Bailey Schinella had some big at bats. Being able to put the pressure on made it a really good day all around. They are having a blast right now and it is fun to see."
The `Noles got things started in the first inning with a Courtney Senas single and a double by Maddie O'Brien. Senas would come into score on a fielder's choice when UCF's catcher made an errant throw to try and retire Senas at third. It marked the ninth time this season that FSU has scored in the first inning.
"We want to put the pressure on them early and I think it is always easy to pitch with a lead. It is definitely a goal of ours as a program to start strong early," added Alameda.
In the second, Senas did more damage with the bat as she smashed a two-run double into the left centerfield gap, scoring Celeste Gomez and Ellie Cooper to give FSU a 3-0 lead. The double was Senas's third of the season and 28th of her career, which moved her into a tie for 10th place with Robin Ahrberg (2007-11) on the all-time list.
Waldrop continued to be dominant in the circle for the Seminoles. After getting the leadoff batter to groundout to Briana Hamilton at third, the junior would send the next five Knight batters down on strikes.
UCF would crack into the scoring column in the third inning with a pair of walks and an RBI infield single. After a meeting at the mound, Waldrop would strikeout Linnea Goodman on a nasty 3-2 pitch, and follow it up with a lazy fielder's choice to O'Brien at short to end the inning. It ended an FSU streak of 29.0 innings without allowing a run.
That would be the only UCF threat of the night as Waldrop would strikeout seven of the final 11 batters she faced. Waldrop finished with 6.0 innings, allowed three walks, two hits, one run and posted a season-high 14 strikeouts.
"It was great," said Waldrop. "I know I got a little shaky for one inning, but my defense did a really great job of bringing me back in and telling me they were going to play for me. When they are scoring a lot of runs, it makes it a lot more comfortable for me. We've been on a roll and we want to keep rolling with the wins and doing what we are doing."
Florida State added three more in a fifth inning that was started by a walk from Senas and a single by Schinella. Freshman Lauren Harris would come in to pinch run and stole second - the first stolen base of her career. A Victoria East walk would load the bases for Hamilton and she took the first pitch she saw into the left centerfield gap for a three-RBI double and made it 6-1 Seminoles.
Jessica Nori would pitch a scoreless seventh to close out the game and recorded a strikeout.
It was the fifth time this season that the Seminoles have allowed two or fewer hits in a game, including a combined no-hitter against North Dakota State on Feb. 15. FSU is only allowing 3.7 hits and 0.9 runs per game this season defensively, while on offense the `Noles average 8.3 hits and 7.6 runs per game.
"I would also like to thank Red Lightning for coming out today and kicking the game off for us on a big weeknight game," said Alameda. "We are really excited to see the local community come out and support us and appreciate him coming tonight."
The `Noles continue their homestand and will play in the Unconquered Classic from Feb. 21-23 at JoAnne Graf Field. UC Santa Barbara, Northern Iowa, Wichita State, Charleston Southern and Florida A&M will take part in the three-day tournament. Florida State's first game will be against Charleston Southern on Fri., Feb. 21 at 5:00 p.m.
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