FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Although they brought the tying run to the plate twice in the bottom of the seventh, the Seminoles’ comeback came up short on Sunday as No. 8 Florida State (10-6) dropped its final game of the weekend to Villanova (11-9) by the score of 9-6. The Wildcats used an eight-run third inning, scoring all of them with two outs, to take a lead that they would not relinquish.
Villanova pitcher Paige Rauch won her 10th game of the season on Sunday and is also batting .439 with 10 home runs at the plate this season, as the junior is one of the 50 players on the Watch List for the 2020 USA Softball National Player of the Year.
“Tough way to close out the weekend, but we are still learning and growing,” said FSU head coach Lonni Alameda. “We can’t dwell on this and will need to get refocused for another week full of games in Tallahassee and Orlando this coming week. Overall, a lot of great learning moments and opportunities for the entire team this weekend and I’m looking forward to where we go from here.”
After retiring the Wildcats in order in the circle in the top of the first inning, FSU starting pitcher Cassidy Davis helped her own cause in the bottom half of the inning with a two-run home run to left, scoring Dani Morgan who reached on a two-out single. It was her team-leading fourth HR of the season as the Noles took an early 2-0 lead.
Morgan Noah led off the bottom of the second inning with a single to right and scored on a two-out, two-run home run to center by Sydney Sherrill, the 31st HR of her career to make it 4-0 Seminoles.
Davis retired eight of the first nine batters she faced, including a double play in the second inning, but Villanova took the lead in the top of the third with eight runs, all with two outs. After a pair of walks and a pair of RBI singles, Brianna Enter relieved Davis. Enter issued a pair of walks, had a run score on a passed ball and gave up a three-run home run as Villanova went in front, 7-4.
Davis came back in to pitch and gave up a single and an RBI triple, before Kathryn Sandercock took over in the circle. The sophomore got the Noles out of the inning by catching a hard line drive back to the circle.
The Seminoles got a pair of runners on base in the bottom of the fifth inning with singles by Sherrill and Devyn Flaherty, but a fly out and a strikeout left them both stranded on base.
Sandercock faced the minimum through her first 2.1 innings of relief, including a double play in the fifth inning, before a pair of doubles in the top of the sixth inning extended Villanova’s lead to 9-4.
Kaia LoPreste opened the FSU seventh inning with a single to center and was pinch-run for by Maegan Tomlinson. After a groundout moved her up to second with one out, Tomlinson scored on an RBI single to center by Sherrill, her third hit of the game.
The inning continued with a walk by Flaherty and Morgan was hit by a pitch to load the bases with one out. Davis hit a sacrifice fly to make it 9-6 with runners on the corners and two outs, but a pop out ended the game.
The Seminoles will return to Tallahassee to host Holy Cross (0-5) on March 3 at 6:00 p.m. The game will be streamed on ACC Network Extra and links for the broadcast, live stats and tickets will be available on the softball schedule page on Seminoles.com.