KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Unlike 2014, the Noles couldn't come through with the same last bat magic in 2015. Dropping the final game of the NCAA Knoxville Super Regional, No. 9 Florida State (49-14) ended its season with a 2-1 loss at No. 8 Tennessee (47-15) on May 22 at Sherri Parker Lee Stadium. The Seminoles had won game two earlier in the day, 6-1, to force a third game, but could not overcome an early 2-0 hole to the Volunteers in the final game of the series.
“An outstanding super regional,” said FSU head coach Lonni Alameda. “An amazing, well-fought game on all sides. I’m very proud of our program, it is hard to be down one game and come back in a tough environment against a good athletic squad like Tennessee. Very proud of our team.”
Tennessee got on the board in the first inning as Lexi Overstreet drew a leadoff walk from FSU starter Lacey Waldrop. A single by Rainey Gaffin and an RBI double by Megan Geer gave Tennessee a 1-0 lead. Waldrop struck out the next two hitters she faced to end the inning.
The Seminoles were able to get two runners on in the second inning on a walk by Alex Powers and a single from Victoria Daddis, but both were left stranded on base after a strikeout from UT starter Gaffin and a line out.
The Volunteers threatened in the second inning, getting runners on via a walk and single with one out, but Waldrop and the Noles were able to leave them on base after a line out to left and a ground out to Cooper at second.
Tennessee added a run in the fourth inning to take a 2-0 lead. Cheyanne Tarango led off with a walk and was pinch-run for by CJ McClain. Taylor Koenig followed with a hit-by-pitch and she was replaced to run by Hannah Devotie. After McClain stole third, she came in to score on a fielder’s choice to Ellie Cooper at second when her throw home went wide of the plate.
Waldrop posted a strikeout before loading the bases on a walk to Overstreet. The Seminoles got out of the inning on a fielder’s choice to Powers at first where she threw home and a ground out to Cooper.
Florida State cut the lead to 2-1 in the top of the fifth after Victoria East had a pinch-hit single to right to open the inning. She moved up to second on a groundout by Alex Kossoff and took third on a wild pitch from Gaffin. Morgan Klaevemann slapped an RBI infield single to second base to score East and bring in FSU’s only run of the game.
Waldrop retired the last seven batters she faced with three strikeouts to keep Florida State in contention.
In the seventh inning, Daddis and pinch-hitter Rylan Harvey each worked a full count but would eventually both post strikeouts. Kossoff slapped a single to continue the inning, but Klaevemann’s ground out to second base ended the game.
Gaffin (17-3) tossed her fifth complete game of the season, allowing one run on five hits with two walks and four strikeouts.
Waldrop took the loss and ended with a record of 28-7 on the season, allowing two runs on three hits with four walks and seven strikeouts.
“We’re going to grow and miss our three seniors completely,” Alameda added. “But they’ve left a legacy of fire, character, passion and we can keep going down all these amazing lists of words that describe great people. But Lacey, Bailey and Maddie have done amazing things for us.”
The Seminoles closed out a season that saw Florida State earn several team and individual awards. Jessica Warren was named ACC Freshman of the Year, Waldrop earned her second-straight ACC Pitcher of the Year honor, while Coach Alameda was named the ACC Coach of the Year for the third straight season. In all, FSU placed six student-athletes on the All-ACC teams, and three players (Waldrop, Warren and Klaevemann) on the NFCA Southeast All-Region Teams.
Florida State won its 13th ACC Championship in 2015 and won the regular season title in the conference for the third straight season. The Seminoles made their third straight appearance in the NCAA Super Regionals, after reaching the World Series in 2014.
The Seminoles finished with a 49-14 record and the 49 wins rank 15th all-time in FSU history and marks the second time since 2004 that the Noles have won at least 49 games in a season. The Seminoles lose only three players to graduation – Maddie O’Brien, Bailey Schinella and Waldrop – and are well positioned to continue their success in the 2016 season.