(4) Florida State (52-8) defeated South Florida (41-18) by run-rule 12-1 in five innings today in the Tallahassee Regional of the NCAA tournament at JoAnne Graf Field at the Seminole Softball Complex.
Florida State was designated as the road team even though the game was being played in Tallahassee. South Florida sent their ace, Georgina Corrick, to the circle to face the Seminoles. Cali Harrod started the game by working a walk. Carsyn Gordon followed with another walk. Harrod was running on the play and she was hit in the head by USF shortstop Lindsey Devitt as she slid into the bag. The game was briefly stopped as the trainer came out to check on Harrod but she was thankfully okay. Sydney Sherrill came up next and hit a two strike double to right field scoring Harrod. FSU now had runners on second and third with no one out. Corrick settled down and got three straight outs to end the inning with no further damage. Meghan King got the start for the Noles. She promptly set down the Bulls in order with two strikeouts and a groundout.
Cassidy Davis led off the second with a walk on four straight pitches. Makinzy Herzog followed with a strikeout. Rock Benavides reached on a sacrifice bunt that was misplayed by Corrick for an error. FSU had runners on first and second with one out. However, Corrick got off the hook with a pop out and a fielder's choice. King kept cruising getting the Bulls 1-2-3 with two strikeouts and a groundout.
For the third straight inning the Seminoles worked a leadoff walk. This time it was Sydney Sherrill who took the base. Elizabeth Mason hit a double that was just fair down the third base line moving Sherrill to third. Dani Morgan singled to score Sherrill. After an Anna Shelnutt popout, Davis walked to load the bases. Herzog took full advantage by launching a 1-2 pitch over the right-centerfield wall for a grand slam to give FSU a 6-0 lead. USF coach Ken Eriksen replaced Corrick in the circle with Nicole Doyle. After a Zoe Casas flyout, Harrod walked and stole second. Carsyn Gordon walked but Sherrill flied out to end the threat. FSU coach Lonni Alameda made a pitching change replacing King in the circle with Kathryn Sandercock. Sandercock came in sharp getting three straight groundouts to end the inning.
Mason started the fourth with a flyout. Morgan singled to left and went to second on a wild pitch. After a Shelnutt strikeout, Leslie Farris hit a two run bomb over the left field fence scoring Morgan ahead of her giving FSU an 8-0 lead. Herzog would flyout to end the inning. USF got their first hit of the game on a Meghan Sheehan one out single. Devitt followed with another single and USF had runners on the corners with one out. Devitt stole second and Sheehan scored on the throw to break up the shutout. This was the first run given up by FSU in 29 straight innings. Sandercock got two straight outs to end the threat.
Zoe Casas started the fifth for FSU with a solo shot over the centerfield wall. Cali Harrod followed by jacking a 1-0 pitch over the left field wall to give FSU back to back homers. Eriksen then removed Doyle and inserted Cheyenne Eggens into the circle. Carsyn Gordon greeted her rudely by lifting the third straight home run over the right-centerfield wall. Sydney Sherrill got into the act by hitting a blast that cleared the centerfield wall and gave Florida State back to back to back to back jacks. This was the first time in NCAA tournament history that any team has ever hit four straight home runs. Elizabeth Mason came up and nearly extended the streak to five straight home runs but her drive was caught on the centerfield warning track. Eggens ended the inning with a strikeout but FSU had a 12-1 lead. Sandercock ended the game by retiring the Bulls in order in the bottom of the fifth.
Meghan King went two perfect innings striking out four. Kathryn Sandercock got the win and pitched three innings giving up two hits, one earned run and no walks with two strikeouts. King had 24 pitches while Sandercock had 32.
The following players all hit home runs for FSU: Cali Harrod, Carsyn Gordon, Sydney Sherrill, Makinzy Herzog (GS), Leslie Farris and Zoe Casas. Due to this impressive display of power the Noles now lead the nation in home runs.
Florida State is now on a 15 game winning streak. FSU is playing as well as any team in the country right now. The Seminoles have won six of their last eight games by run rule.
With today's win the Seminoles have earned the right to take the rest of the day off. The Noles will return to action on Sunday at 12 noon. If FSU wins that game they will advance to the Super Regionals (also to be played in Tallahassee) against the winner of the Stillwater Regional. If FSU loses they will play a winner take all elimination game 30 minutes after the first game on Sunday.