TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – In a back and forth game that came down to the final at-bat, No. 3 Florida State (7-0) scored a run in the bottom of the seventh to defeat Northwestern (1-5) by a score of 3-2 on Friday night in its opening game of the 2017 ACC/Big Ten Softball Challenge.
Junior Morgan Klaevemann led off the FSU seventh inning with an infield single and moved to second on a stolen base. Senior captain Ellie Cooper put down a sacrifice bunt, but the throw from the Northwestern third baseman sailed into right field, allowing Klaevemann to score the winning run.
“That is a huge team win right there,” said FSU head coach Lonni Alameda. “Ellie is so great with situational hitting and that is a big thing we focused on this week, so it was really cool to see it put into action tonight. A lot of kids had some really good at bats tonight, but you can’t just get caught up in the results of whether or not you got a hit or drove in a run, but really trust the process in what you are trying to do. We had a lot of freshmen in big situations tonight and that is going to serve us down the line, as well.”
The Noles got out in front in the first inning behind a solo home run by Jessica Warren, her fourth HR of the season, to give the Noles a 1-0 lead.
Northwestern took the lead in the third inning, scoring two unearned runs after the Seminoles committed a pair of errors in the frame and NU’s Kenzie Ellis hit an RBI double to right field.
The Seminoles threatened in the fourth inning as Alex Powers led off with a double to left field. Cali Harrod reached on a NU throwing error and a four-pitch walk to pinch-hitter Zoe Casas loaded the bases with two outs. Freshman Dani Morgan drove a hard liner back up the middle, but it was caught by NU starting pitcher Nicole Bond to end the inning.
Northwestern got a pair of baserunners on with one out in the fifth, ending the day for King as Jessica Burroughs entered the circle in relief. The redshirt senior mowed down the next two hitters on a pair of strikeouts to end the inning.
King finished with 4.1 innings pitched, giving up two runs on six hits with two walks and five strikeouts.
The Seminoles tied the game in the fifth inning as Cooper drew her second walk of the game and moved up to second on a wild pitch. Warren posted her second extra-base hit of the day, driving an RBI double in the gap in left centerfield to tie the game at 2-2.
Burroughs (3-0) picked up the win with her solid relief appearance, allowing just three baserunners on two walks and a hit-by-pitch, keeping the Wildcats off the scoreboard to allow the Noles to complete the comeback. Five of the eight outs she recorded were strikeouts.
Ellis (0-3) took the loss and pitched the final 1.2 IP of the game for Northwestern, giving up an unearned run on two hits with two strikeouts, entering for Bond after Warren’s game-tying double. Bond gave up four hits and two runs with four walks and three strikeouts in 4.1 innings on the night.
The Noles will have a rematch with Northwestern on Saturday, February 18, with first pitch coming at 1:30 p.m. FSU and Nebraska will play immediately following at 4:00 p.m., as the 2017 ACC/Big Ten Challenge continues at JoAnne Graf Field.
All Florida State games of the weekend will be broadcast on ACC Network Extra, the streaming service through WatchESPN. Shawn Davison and former Seminole Maddie O’Brien will be on the call for both FSU games on Saturday, while the FSU Softball Radio stream on Seminoles.com from Robin Ahrberg and Bella D’Errico will still be available, along with links for live stats.
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