The (#4) Florida State Seminoles (54-6-1) advance to the super regional by defeating the Georgia Bulldogs (35-23) 8-5 today at JoAnne Graf field.
The game was delayed eight minutes due to wet field conditions. The game was in Tallahassee but FSU was designated as the away team so they batted in the top of the inning. Leadoff hitter Morgan Klaevemann wasted no time getting the game going as she started the Noles off with an infield single. Jessie Warren came up and deposited the first pitch she saw over the left field wall to give FSU a quick 2-0 lead. It was Warren’s 24th homer of the year. After an Alex Powers ground out Carsyn Gordon and Dani Morgan were both hit by a pitch. However, Sydney Broderick and Ellie Cooper both struck out to end FSU’s threat. Meghan King set the Bulldogs down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the inning with a flyout and two strikeouts.
Anna Shelnutt started off the second with a walk. Cali Harrod grounded into a fielder’s choice which erased Shelnutt. Klaevemann sacrificed Harrod to second. After Warren was hit by a pitch Powers grounded out to first to end the inning. Maeve McGuire started the inning for UGA by reaching on a Harrod error. However, King was able to pitch around it by getting three straight outs (strikeout, fielder’s choice and popout).
FSU had another big third inning. Gordon started it off with a single. Morgan then laced a 1-0 pitch to left for a double that scored Gordon. She advanced to third on the throw home. Broderick hit a sac fly to score Morgan. Ellie Cooper hit the first pitch she saw into right field for a single. After a Shelnutt flyout Cooper stole second. Harrod singled a 2-2 pitch through the left side to drive in Cooper to give FSU a 5-0 lead. Klaevemann grounded out to end the inning.
Georgia responded in the bottom of the inning. After a Mahlena O’Neal flyout Jordan Doggett singled. Cortni Emanuel dropped a nice bunt to third. Warren made an errant throw to first that Powers couldn’t handle and O’Neal ended up on third and Emanuel advanced to second. Sydni Emanuel walked to load the bases. Alyssa DiCarlo delivered for the Dawgs with a single up the middle to plate Doggett and Cortni Emanuel. After McGuire hit a flyout to left Lacey Sumerlin hit into a fielder’s choice to end the inning.
Warren started the fourth with a flyout to centerfield. Powers then popped out for the second out. After a Gordon walk, Morgan hit a blast over the centerfield wall. It was the sixth dinger of the year for the freshman. Broderick reached on an error when Emanuel dropped the ball in left field. However, Cooper flied out to Emanuel to end the threat but the Noles had a 7-2 lead. Brea Dickey started the inning with a single for UGA. Ciara Bryan followed with a single of her own and the Dawgs had runners on first and second with nobody out. King shut the door after that with a flyout, a strikeout and a groundout to end the threat.
The fifth began with UGA manager Lu Harris-Champer making a pitching change removing starter Kylie Bass and replacing her with Brittany Gray. Gray got Shelnutt to strikeout and got Harrod to lineout to first. Klaevemann then beat out a bunt for a single and Warren singled down the left field line. However, Powers grounded out to end the threat. Sydni Emanuel grounded out to start the inning for Georgia. DiCarlo then homered over the centerfield wall to cut the Seminole lead to 7-3. After a McGuire strikeout, Sumerlin hit a flyout to center to end the inning.
FSU went down in order in the sixth as Gray induced a ground out, a strike out and a popup. UGA was unable to take advantage as King set the Dawgs down 1-2-3 with two ground outs and a strikeout.
Cooper started off the seventh with a walk. Shelnutt reached on a fielder’s choice but Cooper was safe at second due to an errant throw by Doggett at second base. After a Harrod sacrifice advanced the runners, Zoe Casas (pinch hitting for Klaevemann) walked to load the bases. Warren then reached on a fielder’s choice but Cooper was out at home. Powers walked to drive in Deja Bush who was running for Shelnutt. Gordon then popped up to end the inning.
UGA came up with only three outs left. Doggett lined out to Warren at third. Cortni Emanuel then dropped a perfect bunt down in front of Warren to reach base. Sydni Emanuel singled down the left field line to advance her little sister to second. DiCarlo then continued her hot hitting by driving in Cortni with a single to right to cut the lead to 8-4. McGuire singled up the middle to plate Sydni and cut the lead to 8-5. Lonni Alameda then brought in Jessica Burroughs to relieve King. Burroughs promptly got Sumerlin to line out to Warren who doubled up McGuire at first to end the game.
The Noles advance to their sixth super regional in program history. It is their fifth in a row.
Florida State has now won 36 straight home games. I’m counting this as a home game since it was played in Tallahassee even though FSU was designated as the away team today. FSU’s last home loss was on May 7, 2016 to Louisville.
The Seminoles are now 6-0 in the postseason and are outscoring opponents by a cumulative score of 44-9.
Meghan King (27-2) got the win while Jessica Burroughs earned her fourth save of the year.
Florida State is playing very impressive softball right now. They are getting contributions from players up and down the lineup. However, the contributions from the freshmen really stand out. We discussed Anna Shelnutt yesterday but today it was fellow freshman Dani Morgan who stole the show. The ACC Tournament MVP was 2 for 3 with a homer, a double and three RBI. With these two swinging hot bats along with Warren’s normal excellence FSU will be hard to handle going forward.
However, there is always room for improvement. FSU needs to play better defense as the competition ramps up in the tournament. The Noles had two errors today and have five so far in the tournament. They have played only one errorless game this postseason. If they can clean this up there isn’t really any other glaring weakness on this team.
FSU will welcome the winner of the Baton Rouge regional to Tallahassee for the best two out of three super regional. (#13) LSU is the seeded team in that region but the Tigers lost to UL Lafayette so they need to win today against McNeese State and then beat Lafayette twice to reach Tallahassee.
The super regionals begin May 25th.