CLEARWATER, Fl. — In a back and forth battle that lasted nearly three hours, No. 5 Florida State (6-2) came up on the short end as No. 13 Minnesota (4-3) scored a pair of runs in the bottom of the seventh to take a 7-6 victory. Minnesota posted an early 2-0 lead and the Seminoles went in front 6-2, before the Gophers scored the final five runs of the game.
“Tough battle tonight, but I loved the fight from the kids,” said FSU head coach Lonni Alameda. “We are going to continue to learn and grow as a team and get after Northwestern tomorrow.”
Both offenses were quiet until Minnesota led off the bottom of the second with a double by Emily Hansen and Sydney Strelow made it 2-0 Gophers with a home run to center.
The Seminoles cut the lead to 2-1 in the top of the fourth as Elizabeth Mason and Cassidy Davis hit back-to-back singles and Devyn Flaherty put the Noles on the board with a two-out RBI single to left field.
Florida State took the lead in the top of the fifth, plating five runs to move in front 6-2. Josie Muffley started the inning with a walk and Kiersten Landers followed with an infield single. Sydney Sherrill tied the game with an RBI single up the middle and Mason fouled off a pair of two-strike pitches before singling up the middle to put the Noles up 4-2. After a walk by Kaley Mudge, Anna Shelnutt lined a two-run double into the gap in right center for a 6-2 Seminole lead.
Minnesota got three runs back in the bottom of the fifth after a lead-off double, a hit-by-pitch and a two-run double by Carlie Brandt. Following an infield single and an FSU error that allowed another Gopher run to score, Brianna Enter came in to replace Kathryn Sandercock in the circle. She issued a walk to the first batter she faced, but ended the inning with a pair of strikeouts as FSU held a 6-5 lead after five full innings.
Enter added two more strikeouts in a scoreless sixth inning and was replaced in the circle after allowing a lead-off double in the bottom of the seventh. An RBI triple tied the game at 6-6, and Davis induced a pair of groundballs to retire Minnesota runners at the plate. Strelow lined a 1-2 pitch into right field for an RBI single to win the game.
Sandercock gave up five runs, four earned, over 4.1 innings with six hits, zero walks and five strikeouts, including striking out the side in the fourth inning. Enter had four strikeouts in 1.2 innings of relief, allowing one run and one hit, while Davis gave up a run on two hits with a walk in 0.2 innings.
The Seminoles will continue the St. Pete/Clearwater Elite Invitational on Saturday with a game against No. 23 Northwestern at 2:30 p.m. The game will be shown on ESPN3 and links for the broadcast and live stats will be available on the softball schedule page of Seminoles.com.