Feb. 28, 2013
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) - Clinging to an 8-6 lead through five innings, the No. 25 Florida State softball team got a big lift from redshirt sophomore Maddie O'Brien as she recorded a grand slam late in the game to help give the Seminoles a 12-6 win over Troy on Thursday evening at JoAnne Graf Field.
Faced with a 2-2 count against reliever Jaycee Affeldt and the bases loaded in the sixth, O'Brien swung on a pitch slightly up in the zone and hammered a mammoth shot to centerfield to give the Seminoles (10-6) a six-run advantage. The round-tripper was O'Brien's first of the season. The Palm Harbor, Fla. native also tied her career high by drawing three walks.
The performance marked O'Brien's 15th multiple-RBI game since 2012, the most of any Seminole in that time span.
"That was a great swing by Maddie. She came through when it mattered most tonight," head coach Lonni Alameda said. "She had four quality plate appearances tonight and really sparked us late with a good swing on a 2-2 pitch that was right in her zone."
Junior Courtney Senas had a prolific day at the plate, finishing 2-for-3 with two RBIs and three runs scored. The Wahiawa, Hawaii native had the go-ahead two-run single in the bottom of the second that gave Florida State a 3-2 lead they wouldn't relinquish. Junior Kelly Hensley finished 1-for-3 with a two-run home run, and freshman Alex Kossoff garnered her first RBI while finishing 1-for-3 with a run scored.
The Seminoles made Troy and its pitching staff work hard for strikes on Thursday night, drawing a season-high eight walks. The Trojans (6-7) proved to be just as feisty on the offensive end, with catcher Hannah Renn leading the charge with a 3-for-4 day including a home run and a double.
Redshirt senior pitcher Monica Perry (6-4) got her second win of the year in relief after pitching the final five innings and allowing just one earned run on one hit while striking out 10 of her 20 batters faced. Providing a change of pace with more of a hard-throwing mentality, Perry overpowered several Troy batters and painted her spots nicely on the inside and outside corners.
Florida State scored an unearned run in the first inning when Senas advanced home on a passed ball during teammate Maddie O'Brien's at-bat. Florida State drew three walks in the first frame and had the bases loaded with just one out, but a fielder's choice to the pitcher and a groundout by the Seminoles prevented any more runs from crossing the plate.
Troy pinch hitter Brittany Russ stepped to the plate in the second inning with the bases loaded and recorded a lining single to left field that just fell out of the outstretched glove of Kelly Hensley. Two runs scored on the play, but starter Lacey Waldrop battled back and forced a lineout and a groundout to end the damage.
The seven-run second inning was highlighted by a two-run lining single to right field from Senas and Hensley's fourth home run of the year, a two-run shot to right center to make it 5-2. Bailey Schinella came up three batters later and hit a dribbler to the pitcher that was overthrown to first base to bring in two more runs. Freshman Alex Kossoff capped the scoring with an infield slap single to the shortstop that drove in her first career run, making it 8-2.
Troy led off the top of the third with a solo home run by Renn and then put runners on second and third base with no outs. Perry entered the game and recorded a strikeout and a fielder's choice with a force out to home plate. Perry then struck out Bailey Blake but she advanced to first base on a wild pitch and allowed a run to score from third base to cut the deficit to 8-4.
Renn continued her hot bat in the top of the fourth when she whacked a two-run lining double to centerfield with no outs. Perry came back to get Caitlin Ortiz to strike out swinging, followed by a groundout and a pop-out to escape a bigger jam in the inning.
In the top of the seventh, Perry fittingly struck out the side to preserve Florida State's 10th victory of the season.
The Seminoles continue their homestand into this weekend by hosting their third regular-season tournament of the season in the Renegade Classic. On Friday, Florida State hosts Southern Mississippi at approximately 12:15 p.m. followed by a 2:30 p.m. game against Troy.
Every game at this weekend's tournament is slated to be on CBS GameTracker. Follow updates for all Florida State games on the team's official Twitter handle - @FSU_Softball.