CLEARWATER, Fl. — Playing a ranked team for the fifth time in the first nine games of the season, No. 5 Florida State (6-3) was defeated by No. 23 Northwestern (4-4) by a score of 6-2 on Saturday at the 2020 St. Pete/Clearwater Elite Invitational.
“Saw some good things from today, though definitely not the outcome we were looking for, but we are going to continue to grow,” said FSU head coach Lonni Alameda. “We came to this tournament, and purposely schedule difficult games in February, to get challenged. It is important for us to play some elite level softball and to learn how to play on the road in different conditions and situations. Learning to play consistently is a key that we are trying to focus on as a coaching staff. That’s what this tournament does so well, is challenge you from the first inning to the seventh inning. We’ll take the things we did well and work on the things we can do better and continue to attack pitch-by-pitch tomorrow.”
Offense was at a premium in the early going as the two teams combined for four total hits through the first four innings. The Seminoles struck first against the Wildcats as Cassidy Davis hit a solo home run to center in the bottom of the second inning to put FSU in front, 1-0.
FSU added another run in the bottom of the fourth inning, after Elizabeth Mason drew a walk and a single by Dani Morgan was misplayed by the NU centerfielder, which allowed Mason to score from first base and extend the FSU lead to 2-0.
Northwestern got a run back in the top of the fifth as Kenna Wilkey hit a solo home run to center to lead off the inning. A double by Gracie Huff was erased by Kaia LoPreste, as the freshman retired Huff at third base on a steal attempt to keep FSU in front, 2-1.
Brianna Enter started the top of the sixth in the circle for the Seminoles and faced just two batters, hitting one and walking another, before Kathryn Sandercock entered in relief. A bunt single by the Wildcats loaded the bases and a two-run single by Morgan Newport gave Northwestern a 3-2 lead. Sandercock retired the next two batters with a strikeout, but a single and double brought in three more runs for Northwestern to make it 6-2 Wildcats.
Arnold finished with 5.0 innings pitched, giving up one run on four hits with one walk and three strikeouts in the no decision. Sandercock tossed 1.2 innings of relief for the Seminoles and allowed three runs on four hits with one walk and three strikeouts. Kara Bilodeau retired the only batter she faced with a pop out.
The Seminoles will close out the St. Pete/Clearwater Elite Invitational on Sunday, February 16 with a pair of games against Liberty (12:00 p.m.) and No. 2 UCLA (7:00 p.m.). The Noles and Flames will be shown on ESPN3, while the Noles and Bruins will air nationally on ESPN2. Links for the broadcasts and live stats will be available on the softball schedule page of Seminoles.com.