A five-run sixth inning propelled Florida State (42-5) over Clemson (33-13) 7-6 as the Noles clinched the series over the Tigers on Friday night.
Clemson started the game with a home run in the top of the first inning from McKenzie Clark. The Noles responded immediately, with Kaley Mudge getting walked after an 11-pitch opening at-bat. Sydney Sherill then hit her third home run of the season down the right-field line to give the Seminoles an early 2-1 lead. That home run was Sherrill’s 37th in her career, moving her to fourth on the Seminole all-time home run list.
In the top of the third inning, Clark hit her second home run of the day, this time a two-run shot to put the Tigers up 3-2. After a quiet bottom third and fourth inning, Clark once again sent one over the fence for another solo shot and her third home run of the day to put Clemson up 4-2.
After squandering an opportunity to score in the fifth inning with runners on second and third, the Seminoles made clutch defensive plays to keep the Tigers off the board until the bottom of the sixth inning. Devin Flaherty got the inning started with a single, then Michaela Edenfield reached on an error to put runners on first and second for the Noles. With Jahni Kerr up to bat with no outs, she laid down a crafty bunt single and beat the throw to first to give the Seminoles the bases loaded with no outs. Amaya Ross then hit a ground ball down the first-base line but, thanks to an errant throw home, Flaherty and Riggs, who pinch ran for Edenfield, scored to tie the game at four.
With no outs still in the inning and Ross and Kerr on second and third respectively, the Seminoles had a golden opportunity to blow the game open. Brooke Blankenship was hit by a pitch to load the bases for the Noles once again. Kaley Mudge hit a deep sacrifice fly to make the game 5-4 for the Seminoles. Sherill stepped up to bat and hit a clutch single to left field to score Ross and increase the lead to 6-4. A wild pitch advanced Blankenship to third and Sherill to second before Kalei Harding hit a deep sacrifice fly to score Ross and increase the lead to 7-4.
In the top of the seventh, Arielle Oda singled on the first at-bat of the inning before Kathryn Sandercock came in to close the game out for the Seminoles. Clemson’s Moore reached first on a throwing error and scored Oda, making the score 7-5. Sandercock intentionally walked Cagle before Guimbarda grounded out to second, scoring Moore to make the score 7-6. With Russ up to bat, Sandercock got her only strikeout of the game to secure the win and collect her third save on the season. That save was Sandercock’s eighth all-time which moved her to a tied-for-fifth in career saves at FSU.
Emma Wilson got the start for the Seminoles, but only pitched the first inning and was replaced by Danielle Watson for the rest of the game. Wilson allowed one run on two hits in the first inning, while Watson allowed four runs on four hits while striking out three batters and getting her 14th win of the season.
Box score: FSU 7, Clemson 6
The FSU – Clemson box score can be viewed here.
The finale of the FSU – Clemson series is Saturday at 2 p.m. (ACC Network).