TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) – Redshirt sophomore Maddie O’Brien’s second big base knock of the season came at a crucial time as she produced a tie-breaking two-run single in the fifth inning to lift No. 25/24 Florida State softball over North Florida, 3-1, on Saturday at JoAnne Graf Field.
O’Brien delivered a two-out, bloop single that fell just in front of diving right fielder Stephanie McAdam and scored base runners Tiffani Brown and Stephanie Hartness. O’Brien’s big hit came on the heels of a run-scoring triple by the Palm Harbor, Fla. native in Friday’s victory over Florida A&M.
For O’Brien, it was her 12th multiple-RBI game of her playing career which began only last season.
“We certainly needed that big hit from Maddie. She has been very aggressive early and has started off with a couple big-time offensive swings for us,” head coach Lonni Alameda said. “Wins are wins no matter how you draw it up, but we certainly have more things to build on. We will shift our focus to two important games on Sunday and look to finish strong in this invitational.”
The Seminoles’ offense continued to be a work in progress and generated six base hits in 22 at-bats. Brown, Celeste Gomez, Kelly Hensley, Courtney Senas and Morgan Bullock each added singles in the afternoon contest to help give UNF starter Kayla Goff (0-1) the loss. Goff threw six innings and allow three earned runs on six hits with two strikeouts.
Sophomore starting pitcher Lacey Waldrop earned a no decision after pitching 4.2 innings and allowing one run, with it being unearned. The Chester, Va. native kept the Ospreys (1-1) swinging and missing by racking up nine strikeouts in 19 batters faced. Waldrop’s strikeout total fell one shy of her career high of 10 set on March 24, 2012, against Virginia.
North Florida kept itself in the game with an RBI single down the left field line by Kelly Wilson that scored Lexi Taylor in the third, tying the contest at 1-1. Waldrop battled back by striking out Ashley Holton to end the inning.
With two outs in the top of the fifth, UNF’s Brittany Hendrix drew a walk from Waldrop to put runners on the corners with two outs. Redshirt senior Monica Perry then entered the game and recorded a full-count strikeout from Wilson as she was caught looking.
Perry (2-0) followed by striking out three of her next six batters faced, retiring all six to notch her second victory of the season in as many appearances. It was Perry’s second win in relief as a Seminole, as she defeated Wisconsin last season after pitching the final 3.2 innings in that contest.
Florida State notched its other run in the bottom of the second inning when freshman Victoria East picked up her first career RBI on a sacrifice fly to score Kelly Hensley. Gomez began the inning with a hard single to centerfield, and Senas followed two batters later with a single through the right side to put Hensley in scoring position at third base.
The Seminoles finish the Panhandle Invitational with two games on Sunday at 1 p.m. against Bethune-Cookman and 5 p.m. against Jacksonville. There will be five games played at JoAnne Graf Field overall beginning at 9 a.m.