TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — After narrowly missing extra bases in the fifth inning on a leaping catch at the wall by Auburn’s Morgan Podany, FSU’s Carsyn Gordon came through in the eighth inning, leading off the frame with an inside-the-park, walk-off home run into the right field corner to give No. 6 Florida State (49-10) a 2-1 win over No. 18 Auburn (41-16) on Saturday afternoon at JoAnne Graf Field.
The victory places FSU in the finals of the NCAA Tallahassee Regional, which will begin at 12:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 20.
“What a great game,” said FSU head coach Lonni Alameda. “That’s what it comes down to when you get a strong team and a strong regional with a team like Auburn. It was a great game, a good battle on our part and I’m proud of the kids. There was a moment when they scored first that we had the decision whether to keep fighting or not and they beared down with the one run score and we knew we would keep swinging it and make something happen and for Cali to come up big for us and tie up the ballgame.
“One swing. It has been a motto of ours for a while now; one swing can change a game. Yes, it’s a silly quote sometimes but it’s true if you can stay in it and live it and it was awesome for Carsyn to be able to do that for us. I think King had close to 110-115 pitches today and battled each one was great and sticking to the game plan and getting after it. Proud of the group.”
FSU starting pitcher Meghan King opened Saturday’s game the exact same way Kylee Hanson did on Friday, by striking out the side to start the first inning. It marked the fourth time this season that King had recorded three strikeouts in an inning.
The Seminoles had runners on in each of the first three innings, but were unable to bring any runs across. Jessie Warren opened the bottom of the first with a walk but was left stranded on second after a pair of strikeouts and a groundout. Dani Morgan led off the Seminole second inning with a bunt single and dashed all the way to third base on Anna Shelnutt’s sacrifice bunt for the first out of the inning. A strikeout and line out left her on base.
Warren walked again in the third inning and Sydney Sherrill knocked a two-out single through the left side, but a strikeout kept the game scoreless after three complete innings.
Auburn opened the scoring in the top of the fourth inning, loading the bases with one out on a bunt single by Casey McCrackin, a fielder’s choice by Tannon Snow and a walk by Alyssa Rivera. Kendall Veach hit a sacrifice fly to center to put the Tigers up, 1-0.
Shelnutt sparked the Seminole offense with a one-out double into the right field corner in the FSU fourth inning. Deja Bush entered to pinch-run at second and moved up to third base on a groundout by Elizabeth Mason. Cali Harrod fell behind 0-2 in her at bat, battled two foul balls, but came through with a two-out, RBI single to center to tie the game at 1-1.
King retired the final 14 batters of the game to put the Seminoles in position to win it in the bottom of the eighth. She improved to 21-6 with the win, scattering three hits and one walk over 8.0 innings and finishing with eight strikeouts.
Florida State will play in Sunday’s regional final against the team that comes out of the loser’s bracket later tonight. The game will begin at 12:00 p.m. and will be broadcast on WatchESPN. If the Seminoles win, they will host the NCAA Super Regionals on May 24-27. Broadcast and live stats links for Sunday’s game will be available on the softball schedule page of Seminoles.com.
Single-game tickets will be available at the stadium for $10 for adult reserved seating and $5 for berm/standing room only, youth and seniors. Tickets can also be ordered either on Seminoles.com or by calling 1-888-FSU-NOLE. The ticket office is located at Gate B on the west side of Doak Campbell Stadium and the office hours are Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. ET.
The FSU Clear Bag policy will be in effect for all NCAA postseason events at JoAnne Graf Field. Fans are allowed items that can fit in one 12”x12” clear tote bag or a small 4.5”x6.5” clutch or purse. Items that are not allowed include camera or binocular cases, backpacks, printed pattern bags or any size tote or mesh bags.