FSU knocks off No. 1 Alabama for second straight day

While Friday’s games each lasted eight innings, the Seminoles only needed five per game on Saturday as No. 8 Florida State (4-0) posted run-rule victories over Detroit Mercy (0-2) and No. 1 Alabama (1-2) in the second day of the JoAnne Graf Classic. The Noles defeated the Titans by a score of 22-0, before blanking the Crimson Tide, 8-0. 

The 22 runs against Detroit Mercy set a school record in run scored, surpassing the 20 runs that Florida State plated against Bethune-Cookman on February 10, 2013.

“We knew that we had a special group this year, and that we were going to be young and talented, so it’s been more about opportunities to play and develop kids in certain situations,” said FSU coach Lonni Alameda. “Very proud of that, and it is day by day right now. It is so early in the season, and obviously you are happy about being 4-0, and being excited for the kids. But we have a long way to go and need to keep growing. But it is really cool to see how mature we are as a young team.”

Game 1: No. 8 Florida State 22, Detroit Mercy 0 (5 innings)

The Seminoles jumped out to an early 13-0 lead against Detroit Mercy in the first inning and 11 of the 13 runs were unearned as the Titans committed three errors in the frame. Senior Anna Shelnutt highlighted the offense with a three-run home run and was also hit by a pitch. Dani Morgan drove in an RBI in each of her at-bats in the inning, bringing home Sydney Sherrill on a single and also scoring Elizabeth Mason on a sacrifice fly. Cassidy Davis also recorded an RBI in each of her plate appearances, reaching on an error with the bases loaded and also drawing a bases-loaded walk. Freshman Chloe Culp lined a two-run single to right field and redshirt freshman Kiersten Landers followed with a two-RBI single of her own. 

Sherrill opened the FSU third inning with a hit-by-pitch and quickly scored on an RBI triple by Devyn Flaherty. Morgan drove in another run with an RBI single up the middle and was pinch-run for by Kaley Mudge. Josie Muffley walked and Culp brought in Mudge with an RBI single to left. Landers closed out the scoring with a single up the middle as the Seminoles extended their lead to 17-0.

Extra-base hits were on the menu for Florida State in the bottom of the fourth as Sherrill and Flaherty hit consecutive solo home runs, while Mudge and Kaia LoPreste followed with back-to-back doubles. Culp gave the Seminoles a school record in runs scored with her third hit of the game, a two-run home run to center to make it 22-0 Florida State.

Sophomore Kathryn Sandercock (1-0) got the start in the circle for the Seminoles and was perfect in her 3.0-inning appearance with a pair of strikeouts. She finished with just 26 pitches in the win, including a four-pitch inning in the second.

Bianca Cruz pitched 1.1 innings of relief in her collegiate debut, striking out two while allowing one it. Kara Bilodeau closed out the game for the Noles, retiring each of the two batters she faced. 

Game 2: No. 8 Florida State 8, No. 1 Alabama (5 innings)

Similar to the first game of the day, Florida State struck first and took a 2-0 lead in the opening frame against Alabama, as Davis lined a two-out, two-run home run to left, scoring Sherrill. 

The Seminoles grew their lead to 8-0 in the third inning as Florida State added six more runs off Alabama’s Sarah Cornell, who was the 2019 SEC Pitcher of the Year. Josie Muffley started the inning with a solo home run to left for her first HR as a Seminole. After a single by Landers and a walk to Sherrill, Davis brought in a run with an RBI single to center. Morgan squeezed home another run with a bunt single, and Shelnutt hit her second three-run home run of the day to close out the scoring in the inning.

FSU starting pitcher Caylan Arnold (1-0) tossed a complete game in the victory, scattering two hits and two walks over 5.0 innings as no Alabama runner advanced beyond second base in the game. 

The Seminoles will close out the 2020 JoAnne Graf Classic on Sunday, February 9 with a game against Detroit Mercy at 11 a.m. The game will be broadcast on ACC Network Extra.

FSU women’s basketball looks for win No. 20

The No. 17 Florida State women’s basketball team hopes to carry its momentum going into Sunday when it hosts Virginia at noon at the Donald L. Tucker Center.

The Seminoles (19-4, 8-4) will celebrate National Girls and Women in Sports Day on Sunday.

FSU has won five of the last six meetings, including a 63-61 thriller in last year’s ACC opener at UVA on Jan. 3, 2019. Virginia leads the all-time series 35-18.

The Seminoles are coming off their ninth AP Top 5 win in program history after being the first ACC team this season to take down No. 5 Louisville on Thursday, winning 67-59 on the road. 

The senior trio of Kiah Gillespie (25 points), Nicki Ekhomu (18 points) and Nausia Woolfolk (11 points) combined for 54 of FSU’s 67 points at Louisville. In FSU’s other Top 10 win this year over No. 6 Texas A&M, the three seniors combined for 61 of FSU’s 80 points (Woolfolk: 24; Gillespie: 22 Ekhomu: 15).

FSU has already delivered five AP Top 25 wins this year, its most in a season since the 2016-17 team recorded a school-record nine ranked victories. The Seminoles are 5-1 against AP Top 25 opponents, with wins over No. 5 Louisville (road), No. 6 Texas A&M (neutral), No. 19 Michigan State (home), No. 23 Miami (road) and No. 24 Michigan (neutral).

A win over the Cavaliers on Sunday would mark Florida State’s eighth consecutive season with 20 or more wins, which would continue to extend the school record. It would also put FSU one win away of achieving its sixth straight season with 10 or more ACC victories.

Two of the ACC’s most gifted players in Virginia senior Jocelyn Willoughby and Gillespie face off on Sunday. Both players rank in the ACC Top 10 in scoring (Willoughby: 19.4 ppg; Gillespie: 15.6), rebounding (Gillespie: 9.1 rpg; Willoughby: 7.7) and field goal percentage (Gillespie: 44.7; Willoughby: 45.7).

Women’s tennis falls to UCLA

The No. 9 Florida State women’s tennis team (6-1) dropped a hard-fought 4-0 decision to No. 4 UCLA (6-0) in the ITA National Team Indoor Championship quarterfinals on Saturday afternoon at XS Tennis Village.

“All the credit to UCLA they played really well, they played the big points better than we did,” said head coach Jennifer Hyde. “They were relentless with pressure and did a good job of commanding the big moments very well.  We backed off a little bit in a couple spots and it made a big difference in allowing them some space to take over.  We fought hard and competed really well, they were just a little bit better than us today.”

Singles competition 

  1. #14 Elysia Bolton (UCLA) def. Emmanuelle Salas (FS) 6-3, 6-2
  2. #5 Abbey Forbes (UCLA) def. Petra Hule (FS) 6-3, 6-1
  3. #86 Nandini Das (FS) vs. #16 Jada Hart (UCLA) 3-6, 3-4, unfinished
  4. Sasha Hill (FS) vs. Abi Altick (UCLA) 2-6, 2-4, unfinished
  5. Victoria Allen (FS) vs. #112 Annette Goulak (UCLA) 7-5, 3-2, unfinished
  6. Sasha Vagramov (UCLA) def. Andrea Garcia (FS) 6-0, 6-4

Doubles competition 

  1. #2 Elysia Bolton/Jada Hart (UCLA) def. #15 Petra Hule/Victoria Allen (FS) 6-3
  2. Nandini Das/Andrea Garcia (FS) vs. Abbey Forbes/Annette Goulak (UCLA) 5-4, unfinished
  3. Abi Altick/Taylor Johnson (UCLA) def. Sasha Hill/Emmanuelle Salas (FS) 6-2

Swimming picks up wins over Auburn

More career best performances fueled the No.15/25 Florida State swimming and diving teams on the second day of the Auburn Invite at the James E. Martin Aquatic Center.

The Seminoles took home seven medals on the night, including three gold.

The men swept the podium in the 100 fly, led by freshman Ryland Sun who won gold with a time of 48.68. Sophomore Kyle DiMatteo added silver (48.76) behind a personal best and junior Gavin Jones followed with bronze (48.88) after swimming his career best in prelims at 48.24.

Newcomer Balazs Berecz picked up his second victory of the meet, winning the 200 free with a time of 1:36.48 ahead of his classmate Adrian Aguilar, who touched with a personal best of 1:37.01 for silver.

The Seminoles added gold and bronze in the men’s 100 breast as sophomore Jackson Seith touched in first place with a time of 54.15 ahead of freshman Nevada Wood in third (55.06).

“We showed our tenacity today,” FSU associate head coach Dan Kesler said. “Day two of an invite and we had our best performances yet. We had multiple lifetime best times and it’s always great seeing a team swim faster at finals.”

Freshman Cam Taddonio saw a near 10-second drop in the 400 IM, finishing in fourth place with a time of 3:56.95. Another rookie, Quinn Scholz swam his career best in the 200 free, touching at 1:37.66 for fourth place ahead of sophomore John Yambor-Maul in seventh (1:40.13).

Following Seith and Wood in the 100 breast were juniors Paxton Rhoads in fourth place (55.20) and Chad McGuire (55.46) in fifth.

Freshman Leanna Gharbaoui touched in seventh with a time of 57.66 after swimming posting a season best in prelims at 57.36.  Her classmate, Giulia Grasso led the Noles in the 200 free with a ninth place finish with a time of 1:51.38, which was her best, ahead of sophomore Lauren Hew (1:51.53) in 10th.

Capping off the night was junior Kara Coughlin finishing in sixth place in the 100 back (56.09).

Prelims on Sunday will start at 10:30 with finals following at 4 p.m. Sunday’s races include the 1650 free, 200 back, 100 free, 200 breast and 200 fly.


  1. Patricia Crawford Reply

    Appreciate your coverage of ladies sports…..Awesome to see Nole Softball rolling over the Tide. Gillespie in full gear will bring some ACC teams nightmares. Congratulations to all Lady Noles success.

    • Jerry Kutz Reply

      We love being able to cover winning teams in all our men’s and women’s sports. I am very impressed with how competitive our teams are nationally and how well coached they are. FSU’s women’s programs are exceptional.

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