The eighth-ranked Florida State softball team rallied for a 6-2 win over Kennesaw State on a sunny but very windy late Friday afternoon at JoAnne Graf Field in the Tallahassee Regional.
Kennesaw State took an early 1-0 lead in the first after placing runners on the corners with two hits to start the game against starting pitcher Kathryn Sandercock.
The Owls plated another run in the top of the fifth to take a 2-0 lead. Sandercock was then replaced by pitcher Danielle Watson with two outs, and she struck out the only batter she faced in the inning with a base runner on second. The Owls’ run was unearned with the run crossing the plate on a throwing error by second baseman Devyn Flaherty on an attempt to turn a double play to end the inning.
Sandercock allowed three hits in 4.2 innings with one strikeout throwing just 44 pitches.
In the bottom of the fifth FSU rallied when catcher Anna Shellnut reached first on a single to start the inning. FSU then loaded the bases with no outs after shortstop Josie Muffley reached first on a fielder’s choice and left fielder Kaley Mudge advanced both runners with an infield single. Two batters later third baseman Sydney Sherrill drove in Muffley on another infield single to cut the lead to 2-1. The Seminoles then tied the game one batter later when first baseman Elizabeth Mason drew a walk to plate Mudge. The next batter, designated player Cassisdy Davis, drew another walk to bring Sherill home to make the score 3-2. Right fielder Kalei Harding drove home another FSU run to make the score 4-2 before Kennesaw State was able to get out of the inning.
FSU added to more runs in the bottom of the sixth to take a 6-2 lead into the final inning.
Watson was dominant in relief, allowing just one hit over the final 2.1 innings to secure the 6-2 win for FSU. Mudge led FSU by going 3 for 4 with two runs scored. Sherill, Harding, Mason and Davis all had one RBI apiece. FSU totaled eight hits in the game vs. just four for Kennesaw State.
“It was great, we kind of scrapped away,” said Mudge about the comeback win. “We just game in with a little bit of nerves … It was a great team win. It was nice to have everyone packed back into JoAnne Graf Field.”
“It’s seven innings for a reason,” FSU coach Lonni Alameda said of the four-run fifth inning. “You’ve got to continue to throw punches.”
For the FSU-Kennesaw box score, click here.
FSU, which is the top-seeded team in the regional, will take on UCF, seeded third, in the winner’s bracket game at noon on Saturday. The Knights beat second-seeded Auburn 5-4 in Game 1 of the regional to advance to the winner’s bracket.