(4) Florida State Seminoles (55-10) fell to the (13) Oklahoma State Cowgirls (44-15) 3-2 today in Tallahassee to end the season.
For the third straight game Samantha Show started for Oklahoma State in the circle and Meghan King started for Florida State. King started out strong setting the Cowgirls down in order including a pair of strikeouts. Cali Harrod started the game for FSU with an infield single. After a Carsyn Gordon popout, Harrod stole second. However, Show ended the threat with a strikeout and a ground out.
King hit Michaela Richbourg with a pitch to start the second inning. However, Leslie Farris was able to execute a nice double play after Taylor Lynch hit a sharp grounder to her at second base. Kiley Naomi flied out to end the inning. Dani Morgan worked a walk to start the inning for the Seminoles. After an Anna Shelnutt strikeout, Morgan stole second. However, she was stranded after a strikeout and a popup.
Chyenne Factor wasted no time putting the first run on the board with a solo shot to left. Sydney Pennington reached when King misplayed her grounder. Chelsea Alexander followed with bunt down the third base line that was fielded by Sydney Sherrill. Sherrill turned and fired to second but the ball sailed over Farris’ head into the outfield. Pennington raced to third. Alexander (perhaps intentionally) got caught in a rundown between first and second. Farris forced her back to first before throwing to Carsyn Gordon. Gordon fired to Shelnutt at home to try to get Pennington who was trying to sneak home. The ball hit off the top of Shelnutt’s glove and Pennington was safe at home for the second run of the inning. Alexander took second on the overthrow. King settled down from there and got three straight outs to end the inning. Show allowed a walk to Harrod but induced a ground ball double play from Gordon to end the inning.
Lonni Alameda inserted Kathryn Sandercock into the circle to begin the fourth inning. Sandercock started off well setting the Cowgirls down 1-2-3. Show continued to cruise retiring the Noles in order.
Factor continued her hot hitting in the fifth singling to center. However, Sandercock managed to get three straight outs to end the inning with no further damage. Shelnutt started the inning for FSU with a single. Deja Bush pinch ran for Shelnutt. After a Zoe Casas flyout, Makinzy Herzog singled to advance Bush to second. Farris followed with a single that scored Bush after some aggressive base running. OSU coach Kenny Gajewski responded by inserting Logan Simunek into the circle. Show moved to first base. Simunek uncorked a wild pitch which allowed Farris to move to second and Herzog to move to third. Simunek responded with a strikeout for the second out of the inning. Gordon came up and laced a screamer to short but Kiley Naomi made an excellent grab to save a couple of runs and end the inning.
Sandercock started the sixth by hitting Show on the knee with a pitch. Shalee Brantley came in to run for her. Brantley stole second and took third when Shelnutt’s throw ended up in center field. Madi Sue Montgomery delivered a sacrifice fly to score Brantley. Sandercock got two straight ground outs to end the inning. Simunek retired the Noles in order in the bottom of the sixth.
Sandercock induced three straight popups to keep the score at 3-1 going into the bottom of the seventh. “Postseason Anna” Shelnutt started the inning for FSU in fine fashion by depositing a ball over the left centerfield fence to close the gap to 3-2. However, Simunek was not rattled and she ended the game with a strikeout and two ground outs.
Meghan King took the loss pitching three innings giving up two runs (one unearned) with two hits, two strikeouts and no walks. Kathryn Sandercock pitched four innings giving up one hit and one run (unearned) along with a strikeout and no walks. King had 52 pitches while Sandercock had 45.
Anna Shelnutt went 2-3 with a HR. Leslie Farris was 1-2 and recorded the other RBI for FSU.
Florida State had four errors in the game which resulted in two of OSU’s runs being unearned. Coaches, in all sports, often say that the team that makes the fewest mistakes wins in the postseason. That was certainly true today. OSU made the Noles earn all of their runs but FSU can’t say the same.
While the errors were certainly huge they weren’t the only factor. For the whole series (with the exception of the third inning yesterday) Show and Simunek were able to keep the Seminole hitters off balance. For the series, FSU’s top three hitters were 2-26 with eight strikeouts. Those same three hitters were hitting .390 entering the NCAA tournament. This trend continued today as those hitters were 1-8 today. Slumps happen in softball. It is just unfortunate that it happened to three of FSU’s best hitters at the same time.
This one will sting for a while. The Seminoles will feel like they let a winnable game (and series) slip through their fingers.
The focus will soon turn to next season. The Noles must say goodbye to four very important seniors (Zoe Casas, Cali Harrod, Carsyn Gordon, and Meghan King) however FSU will welcome a top 10 recruiting class. The foundation of the program is strong and the future is bright despite today’s disappointment.