April 18, 2012
BATON ROUGE, La. (seminoles.com) - A pair of two-run singles were more than enough to back a dominant effort by pitcher Monica Perry as the No. 22 Florida State University softball team defeated No. 23 LSU at Tiger Park, 8-1, on Wednesday evening.
Perry (18-5) had one of her best outings of the season and was aided by an offense that put up two early runs for her in the opening frame. The Whitesburg, Ga., native made smart pitches all night and showed tremendous command and control of her pitches against the Tigers (30-14). The result was a bevy of easy putouts for FSU's fielders while Perry was able to limit her number of balls thrown.
Perry threw her 10th complete game of the season and allowed just one run on five hits with four strikeouts. FSU now improves to 3-1 this season against Southeastern Conference competition, owning two wins over Ole Miss. The Seminoles are now 39-10 overall this season.
"Monica was impressive tonight and really got some great support from our offense," head coach Lonni Alameda said. "We performed well in some of the game's most important phases - stealing bases, manufacturing runs, hitting with two outs, hitting with two strikes. Tonight was a very important win at a Top 25 institution and we'll look for this to carry over tomorrow. We just have to take things one game at a time and maintain our focus for each and every game."
The win on Wednesday evening marks FSU's highest-rated win this season in terms of the ratings percentage index, with LSU sitting at No. 20. It is also FSU's third victory over a Top 25 opponent in the national polls this season, and Alameda's 13th win over a Top 25 team since becoming FSU's head coach in the 2009 season.
Kirstin Austin maintained her hot streak at the plate by fisting a 2-1 pitch to centerfield for a two-run single with two outs in the first inning. Tiffani Brown started the inning with a hit-by-pitch, then reached second base on a fielder's choice from Shayla Jackson in a hit-and-run situation. Both players advanced on a double steal to set up Austin's multiple-RBI hit.
Jackson finished 2-for-4 with three runs scored for her 12th multiple-hit game this season. FSU put together seven base hits and stole three bases on the evening.
Courtney Senas came through in the top of the third inning when she reached out on a 2-2 offspeed pitch and recorded a two-run single to left center, scoring Brown and Jackson once again. Brown reached base to lead off the inning with a single through the right side, and Jackson hit an infield single to extend her hitting streak to 14 games. Briana Hamilton's sacrifice bunt to the pitcher set up the scoring for FSU.
Celeste Gomez extended the Seminole lead in the top of the fourth inning when she hammered a 1-0 pitch for a home run to left center to give FSU a 5-0 lead. It was Gomez's first home run of the season and chased starter Brittany Mack (12-8) out of the game with USA Softball National Player of the Year Award finalist Rachele Fico entering in. Mack ended up with the loss for the Tigers.
Three more runs were tacked on in the top of the seventh, all with two outs. Hamilton's grounder at third base was mishandled by Tammy Wray and allowed Brown to score an unearned run. On the same play, Hamilton forced a rundown that allowed Jackson to score safely at home plate to give FSU a 7-0 advantage. During Senas' at-bat, a passed ball brought in Hamilton from third base to create an 8-0 lead.
FSU will look for its 40th win of the season on Thursday evening in a road contest at Troy. First pitch is set for 5 p.m. ET/ 4 p.m. CT. and can be followed through in-game updates on FSU softball's official Twitter handle - @FSU_Softball.