May 20, 2011
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ATHENS, Ga. (seminoles.com) - Senior pitcher Sarah Hamilton allowed just one earned run and five hits in a complete-game performance, but it wasn't enough as the Florida State University softball team endured a tough 2-0 loss to UAB in game one of the NCAA Athens Regional on Friday afternoon.
The Tallahassee native struck out eight Blazer batters to mark 997 for her career, three shy of becoming the first Seminole softball pitcher to touch the 1,000 K mark. She worked UAB with her solid repertoire of pitches and was effective for most of the afternoon.
For the season, Hamilton has now put together five starts where she allowed one earned run or less and come away with the loss. UAB jumped on the scoreboard first in the opening inning when Mandy Lowman's two-out bloop RBI single to left center plated Kayla Orr from second base, making it 1-0. Lowman reached base by hitting a double that left fielder Morgan Bullock appeared to lose in the sun, going over her head for an extra base hit.
"We just didn't come out and play like ourselves today," Hamilton said in her postgame press conference. "They did a really good job keeping us off, hitting. We popped up a lot of balls. I just need to go at batters a little better tomorrow and we'll come out and be more of ourselves."
UAB starter Leigh Streetman (16-7) stymied a Seminole ballclub that was hitting nearly .400 over their last four games. She forced a bevy of pop-outs and worked quickly against FSU, allowing just two hits in seven innings pitched while striking out three. FSU made good contact on a number of at-bats, but was unable to find a gap to advance runners on the day.
"They did a good job. [UAB pitcher Leigh Streetman] did a great job pitching," head coach Lonni Alameda added. "We just didn't make our adjustments and that's something we've definitely got to do if we want to stay alive out there tomorrow. Coming off of a couple of really good weekends, that's a little surprising for us. We have to make sure to get back to what we're good at, putting the ball in play and getting some good base running. We expect that tomorrow."
The Seminoles' (30-27) best chance to score came in the fourth inning. With one out, Jen Lapicki reached base on a fielding error by second baseman Lauren Webster. During Celeste Gomez's at-bat, Lapicki advanced on a passed ball to second base to put a runner in scoring position with one out. Sophomore Kirstin Austin entered as a pinch runner but was frozen on the bag as Gomez and Robin Ahrberg recorded consecutive pop-ups to end the threat.
FSU was aided by some sound defense in the fourth inning. UAB tried once again to score a run with two outs as Webster doubled to left center with Kate Armstrong on first base. The ball hit the gap and bounced off the wall before Courtney Senas made a strong cut-off throw to Ashley Stager at shortstop, who then threw a relay strike to home plate to throw out Armstrong and keep the game at 1-0.
The big insurance run by UAB came unearned in the fifth. Erica Sisson began the frame with a walk, and advanced to second base when Caley Waldron hit a dribbling single to second base. Two pitches before, it appeared Waldron had been out of the box when her foul ball hit her in fair territory. The next play, Hamilton struck out Catherine Douglass with a ball in the dirt, but Gomez's throw to Jen Lapicki at first base pulled the Oldwick, N.J., native off the bag to put runners on the corners.
Kayla Orr then stepped to the plate and recorded a key sacrifice fly to centerfield to make it 2-0, giving Streetman plenty of run support for the low-scoring affair.
Gomez and sophomore Tiffani Brown recorded FSU's lone hits, both being singles. FSU batted 2-for-23 on the day while Hamilton held the Blazers (39-17) to just 5-for-25.
The Seminoles look to keep their season alive in the double-elimination tournament on Saturday when they face the loser of No. 6 Georgia and Georgia State at 2:30 p.m.. Should FSU win its first game, it will then face the loser of tomorrow's noon matchup between UAB and the winner of No. 6 Georgia and Georgia State.