A lengthy delay but for a second straight day a quick — and dominating — win for the Florida State softball team in the regional.
Mack Leonard and Josie Muffley each had two run doubles in the first inning as FSU batted around and scored seven runs en route to a dominating 8-0 victory in five innings over South Florida on Saturday afternoon.
Amaya Ross added a solo home run in the top of the fifth to put the Seminoles (54-5) in position to pick up the mercy rule win.
“I’m really proud of the team,” FSU coach Lonni Alameda said. “Anytime you get lightning, rain or weather delays it can really take the mojo out of your plans. The kids came out and got after it pitch one. Obviously, you think you’re getting (USF Pitcher Georgia) Corrick so your mindset flips. So, when you get somebody else to be able to rely on getting after a swing for the team. I think we just put the pedal to the metal in the first inning that really set the tone.”
Kathryn Sandercock (30-1) and Leonard combined on the one-hit shutout. USF’s only hit was a ground ball to the left side of the infield that Sydney Sherrill knocked down early in the game. Sandercock had two strikeouts and did not allow a walk.
The Seminoles fully expected to see USF ace Georgia Corrick, who suffered an injury in the conference tournament and was instead taking a rest day on Saturday after tossing a shutout of Mississippi State on Friday. It was an unusual turn of events for the Seminoles, but they quickly adjusted and pushed seven runs across in the top of the first against three USF pitchers (Antoinette Hill, Erin Poepping and Lexie Kopko).
Jahni Kerr and Leonard each had two hits. Eight Seminoles scored runs.
Sandercock took the mound in the bottom of the first roughly a half hour after the game started, opening with four shutout innings. She pitched again with confidence and needed just 45 pitches (30 strikes) to get through four innings.
“I think the first inning Mack actually said, ‘Who feels relaxed right now?’ When we came out and did our infield, yeah, it’s totally relaxing,” Sandercock said. “It just takes the weight off your shoulders knowing that you can just go out there and do your thing and if you give up a run or two your team was already giving you a pretty good cushion.”
Leonard followed with a 1-2-3 fifth inning. This followed a controlling performance on Friday by Danielle Watson, who no-hit Howard, and now the Seminoles can rest, relax and watch the other three teams fight it out for the opportunity to advance to play on Sunday.
“The pitching has been very relaxed and has a really good understanding of what they’re trying to do in the circle,” Alameda said. “I think the offense has just really done a good job of taking what we learned last year and adding some power numbers to it. So there’s comfort that we have a couple of different ways to win games and different people coming off the bench and it’s not the same person all the time.”
FSU picked up its 24th straight regional win, the longest streak in the nation after Alabama’s loss on Saturday to Stanford (the Crimson Tide had a 44-game win streak, which dated to 2007). The Seminoles are now a win away on Sunday from reaching a ninth straight Super Regional.
Box score: FSU 8, USF 0
The FSU – USF box score can be viewed here.
Tallahassee Regional updates
Mississippi State defeated Howard 6-3 on Saturday evening and then Miss State eliminated South Florida 6-0 late Saturday night. FSU will play Mississippi State on Sunday at 2 p.m. TV is to be determined.