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Miss State shocks FSU, ends Seminoles’ season

Florida State’s day took a wrong turn with a game 1 loss to Mississippi State. A few hours later, the Seminoles’ season came to an abrupt halt after holding the lead in the fifth inning with their ace on the mound.

Mississippi State scored three runs in the fifth to stun FSU 4-3 on Sunday evening and take the Tallahassee Regional. The 2021 national runner up, FSU’s season ends at 54-7 after back-to-back losses to the Bulldogs on Sunday.

“It’s definitely not the definition of our season by any means or the people to my right and left,” FSU coach Lonni Alameda said. “It’s more about today was Mississippi State’s day. Nothing went for us. Tip your hat to them and wish them luck as they move forward.” 

Danielle Watson started in game 2 and gave up just one earned run in the second before she ran into trouble in the fifth. Kathryn Sandercock entered the game, inheriting a bases-loaded situation with one down. But Shea Moreno had an RBI single and Chloe Malau’ulu followed with a two-run single as Mississippi State jumped ahead 4-3.

FSU had chances in the bottom of the fifth inning as Mack Leonard singled and Devyn Flaherty reached on a fielder’s choice, which erased Leonard. But Flaherty left first base early on Jahni Kerr’s single to left, eliminating what could have been a big inning with runners in scoring position. Instead, the inning quickly fell apart.

Mack Leonard appeared to reach base on an infield hit in the seventh. But on replay the call was overturned. Flaherty then flew out, as did Kerr to end the game.

“A game of inches and inches to the leaving the base early or Mack being safe, a game of inches and we talk about that all the time,” Alameda said. “It’s tough sometimes when the inches don’t go your way.”

The Seminoles built an early lead as Sydney Sherrill had a two-run homer to center field in the first and Kaley Mudge had an RBI double in the second to extend the lead to 3-1. While FSU did is damage early against Aspen Wesley (who did not record an out) and Kenley Hawk (two innings), Willis tossed five shutout innings in which she scattered six hits.

Leonard, Mudge and Kerr went 2 for 4. But FSU left nine runners on base and hit just 3 for 15 with runners on.

Danielle Watson gave up three earned runs in 4.1 innings. Sandercock (30-3) allowed an earned run in 2.2 innings.

Mississippi State will face Arizona, which won the Columbia (Mo.) Regional. While FSU’s season ended abruptly after reaching at least the Super Regional round in eight straight seasons, it was a regular season that saw the Seminoles claim an ACC Tournament title and take on top 25 teams like Oklahoma State as well as SEC schools like Florida and Alabama.

“We had an incredible run,” Alameda said. “A lot of historic moments, some incredible come from behind (wins). When you look at your body of work, it’s something you can fall back on, but you still got to execute this time of year and you can see that. I think the biggest thing is when you put your head on your pillow at night, you know you did your all and I definitely think that this team did that and they gave us a lot this year.”

Watson and Sherrill sat to Alameda’s right during a short postgame press conference, with Watson unable to hold in her emotions after what was her final game at FSU. Sherrill reflected on what signing with FSU meant to her and she was part of the Seminoles’ growth as a program.

“Florida State has meant everything to me, and I’m really thankful that I got to play five years here,” Sherrill said. “Thankful for that extra COVID year and thankful for this coaching staff. They have done an immeasurable amount of things for me as a person and a player. And I just don’t really know how to pay them back. So I’m just very grateful and it sucks but thankful to be a Seminole.”

Box score: Mississippi State 4, FSU 3

The FSU – Mississippi State box score can be viewed here.