TUCSON, Ariz. — In a back and forth battle on Friday night, No. 1 Florida State (24-1) defeated No. 12 Arizona (17-6) by a score of 5-3 on the road in the first game of the three-game series between the Seminoles and Wildcats.
It marked FSU’s first win at Hillenbrand Stadium in program history as the Seminoles lost each of the previous two meetings in Tucson – 8-0 in 1991 and 7-1 in 1995.
The Seminoles extended their NCAA lead in home runs on Friday with one from Cali Harrodin the top of the fourth inning for their 41st of the season. It stands as the ninth-most in FSU single season history, surpassing the 40 hit in the 2011 season.
“Tonight was everything we hoped or expected it to be,” said FSU head coach Lonni Alameda. “A competitive game, a great crowd, executing in different situations and coming away with the win. Great job by our hitters to be patient and not chase too many balls out of the zone and get quality swings off. Also proud of how Meghan (King) bounced back after Wednesday and pitched a great game for us. Now we get to work on the smart side and make some adjustments before tomorrow night.”
Florida State continued its trend of scoring in the first inning by plating two runs in the top of the first on Friday night. Back-to-back walks with one out to Carsyn Gordon and Sydney Sherrill allowed Elizabeth Mason to put the Noles on the board with an RBI double to right center. Dani Morgan followed with an RBI single to right field on the first pitch of her at bat to make it 2-0 FSU.
It marked the 17th time in 25 games this season that the Seminoles have scored in the first inning and 63 of Florida State’s 201 runs have come in the opening frame of the game.
The Seminoles threatened in the third inning, loading the bases with two outs on walks by Sherrill and Zoe Casas, along with a single by Morgan, but a strikeout left them on base.
FSU starting pitcher Meghan King was perfect in the circle until a one-out infield single by Hannah Martinez in the third inning. After a walk, Arizona tied the game with a two-run double by Alyssa Palomino. King got out of the inning with a line out and a groundout.
Makinzy Herzog began the FSU fourth inning with an infield single and scored on a two-run home run by Harrod to put Florida State back in front 4-2. It was Harrod’s 26th career home run, moving her into a tie with Yuruby Alicart (2006-07) for eighth all-time in FSU history.
Arizona got a runner to third in the bottom of the fifth on a one-out double to left by Jenna Kean and a fly out to center. But King ended of the inning with a groundout to Harrod at shortstop.
The Seminoles added a run in the top of the sixth inning without recording a hit as consecutive walks to Harrod, Gordon and Sherrill loaded the bases with two outs. Mason was hit by the first of pitch of her plate appearance, bringing in a run to extend the lead to 5-2 FSU.
The Wildcats got a run back in the sixth inning on a one-out home run by Dejah Mulipola.
Arizona drew a leadoff walk to start the bottom of the seventh, but King retired the next three batters to end the inning. King (11-1) scattered three runs on five hits with two walks and three strikeouts in the complete-game win.
Arizona’s Taylor McQuillin (7-5) took the loss after giving up a season-high five earned runs and seven walks in 6.0 innings of work.
The Seminoles and Wildcats will play game two of the series on Saturday, March 9 at 8:00 p.m. ET. The game will be streamed online for free through the Pac-12 Networks. Links for the broadcast, live stats and ticket information will be available the softball schedule page of Seminoles.com.
Fans can listen to the FSU softball coaching staff, head coach Lonni Alameda and assistant coaches Travis Wilson and Craig Snider, on their weekly podcast: Coaches and Coffee – The FSU Softball Podcast. Each week, the coaches talk about the current state of the Seminole softball team, chat about NCAA softball from around the country, and have a lot of fun along the way. The podcast can be found on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, or directly at our website – fsusoftballpodcast.wordpress.com.
Throughout 2018-19, the Seminoles will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of women’s intercollegiate athletics at Florida State and there are many events and reunions planned for all women’s sports. Head to www.seminoles.com/50th/ for more information that will be updated throughout the year.
Follow Florida State softball on Twitter (@FSU_Softball) and Instagram (fsusoftball), and like our Facebook page (Facebook.com/FSUsoftball) to keep up to date with everything about Seminole softball.