Feb. 26, 2012
ORLANDO, Fla. (seminoles.com) - Redshirt junior pitcher Monica Perry had another tremendous performance in leading the 25th-ranked Florida State University softball team to a 2-1 victory over Wisconsin to complete a perfect 5-0 mark at the Citrus Classic at the Disney Sports Complex on Sunday afternoon.
For the first time this season, Perry (6-0) earned a victory in relief after throwing the final 3.2 innings without allowing a hit to 13 batters faced. She struck out over half of her batters, fanning seven Badgers (4-5) in a short time span.
In her three appearances at the Citrus Classic over the weekend, Perry finished 3-0 with a 0.86 ERA and 28 strikeouts in 16.1 innings pitched. FSU's four opponents over the weekend - St. John's, Southern Illinois, Wisconsin and Marshall - hit just .091 against the hard-throwing Georgia native.
Perry's performance combined with a good showing at the plate from Shayla Jackson and Mallory Borden helped FSU to a perfect 15-0 record. The Seminoles' start is now solely the second best in school history, trailing only the 1992 team's 25-0 record to begin the season.
"I can't say enough about our pitching. Being 15-0 is a reflection of what we've done in the circle this season," head coach Lonni Alameda said. "We also got some good hitting from our two seniors today to do just enough for us offensively. Overall, I'm thrilled that we finished 5-0 at the Citrus Classic."
Borden and Jackson led the Seminoles with two hits apiece. Borden finished with two extra-base hits in a triple and double, while Jackson recorded her third multiple-hit game of the season. Courtney Senas and Maddie O'Brien rounded out the hitting total of six with one single apiece.
Borden led FSU with a 5-for-12 performance at the Citrus Classic, picking up 10 total bases, two triples, three RBIs and one double. Tiffani Brown had a team-leading six base hits that also included a triple and three RBIs, while Senas went 5-for-15 overall.
Brown has currently reached base safely in 12 consecutive games.
FSU had a promising start versus Wisconsin in the top of the first when Jackson's bloop single and O'Brien's check-swing single put two runners on with one out. However, Wisconsin starter Meghan McIntosh (1-3) made a series of good pitches against her remaining batters to keep the Seminoles scoreless in the opening frame.
Wisconsin tried to capitalize in the bottom half but left two runners in scoring position after Shannel Blackshear ended the inning on a flyout to Jackson in right field. Starting pitcher Jessica Nori's biggest at-bat came after a double-steal by Wisconsin with one out put runners on second and third base. She struck out cleanup batter Molly Spence before inducing the inning-ending out.
In the second inning, FSU amassed a couple runs on two base hits. Senas led off with a single down the left field line, and Borden followed with a run-scoring triple off the centerfield wall to drive home Senas. Two batters later, Loren Smith drove in pinch-runner Kirstin Austin on a sacrifice fly to right field to make it 2-0.
Freshman pitcher Bailey Schinella relieved Nori in the third inning after the Weston, Fla., native allowed her first two base hits of the game with one out. Schinella did her job of escaping the inning, as she was aided by a diving catch from Senas in centerfield before forcing Molly Spence to foul out to Kelly Hensley at first base to end the inning.
Wisconsin trimmed its deficit to 2-1 in the fourth inning following a fielder's choice sacrifice bunt by Maggie Strange, who faced Perry following Schinella's departure. The Badgers then recorded another double-steal to put two runners in scoring position before Michelle Mueller struck out. Perry then picked up a critical out when she struck out pinch hitter Karla Powell swinging with the bases loaded.
Perry struck out the side in the fifth inning and retired her next nine batters faced to end the game.
In 35 innings pitched at the Citrus Classic, FSU allowed just five runs for an 0.80 ERA. Opponents put together just 17 base hits combined against Perry, Nori, Schinella and Lacey Waldrop over the weekend.
The Seminoles play next at the Hawaii Classic from March 2-6 in Honolulu. FSU will start off with UC Santa Barbara at 8:30 p.m. ET next Friday.