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FSU Softball wins Tallahassee Regional behind Sandercock perfect game, advances to Super Regionals

Moving on.

Peyton Baker/Tomahawk Nation

In a crucial Game 2 against the South Carolina Gamecocks, the No. 3 seeded Florida State Seminoles rode a perfect game by Kathryn Sandercock to a Tallahassee Regional win and spot in the program’s 10th-ever Super Regionals.

FSU will face off against the Georgia Bulldogs with a trip to Oklahoma and the College World Series on the line.

Florida State softball has completed a dominant ACC regular season, as well as a sweep of the ACC regular season title and tournament title. With their win over Duke in South Bend for the championship game, they claimed the automatic qualifying bid for the ACC, and a number 3 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament. They will host the Tallahassee Regional, with three quality teams visiting in Marist, South Carolina, and UCF.

FSU is 100-75 in the NCAA Tournament, with this being the 35th time that they have qualified.

Marist Red Foxes (MAAC, 29-28 Overall)

Earning the automatic bid out of the MAAC conference, Marist comes to Tallahassee after taking down top seeded Canisius. Now, they will have their first ever matchup against No. 3 Florida State. During their 2023 season, Marist dropped four out of their first 5 games. Against Power 5 opponents, they went 0-4, with games against Penn State, Illinois, Iowa and Texas.

With a team batting average of .287, five Red Foxes have over a .300 (Haley Ahr, Maddie Pleasants, Peyton Pusey, Sam Freehand, and Alyssa Grupp). Their team leader in homeruns is Pleasants, who has 9 of their 28, and 11 of their 74 doubles. Pleasants, along with Ahr are the power bats in the lineup, both having double digit doubles, and slugging over .540. Speed wise, this is a very fast team that spreads the love. Four players have over 15 successful stolen bases (Ahr, Pusey, Freehand, and Grupp). Their team total is 112-131.

In the circle, Calista Phippen is leader in ERA and innings pitched. With a line of 2.11 ERA, 17 CG, 156 IP, 132 H, 68 R, 60 BB, 147 SO, 14 HR. Closely behind is Kiley Myers, who has a 2.37 ERA, 14 CG, 136 IP, 139 H, 64 R, 25 BB, 95 SO, and 6 HR.

South Carolina Gamecocks (SEC, 37-20 Overall)

One of the hottest teams in the country currently, South Carolina is coming off of a appearance in the SEC Tournament championship, where they fell to top ranked Tennessee. Coming off a hard 2022 season, USC has made a big comeback in 2023, with 11 ranked wins.

USC will come to Tallahassee with a former Seminole leading the team in batting average. Brooke Blankenship is batting .313 as a Gamecock, with 26 R, 41 H, 7 2B, and 27 RBI. She is the only player who has more than 50 appearances to claim an over .300 average. However, the team leader in RBI is Riley Blampied, who sits at 41, followed by Jordan Fabian with 31 and a team leading 10 homeruns.

It will be no easy feat for teams facing South Carolina, as they bring one of the most electric pitchers with them in Donnie Gobourne. With a 2.15 ERA, 7 CG, 120.2 IP, 70 H, 40 R, 72 BB, 189 SO, 9 HR and a .168 B/AVG, Gobourne has been used as a closer through the teams last several games, and helped secure big wins. While she enters in relief, Bailey Betenbaugh (2.77), Karen Ochs (3.07), and Leah Powell (3.58) have been sharing roles as starters.

Central Florida Knights (AAC, 39-19 Overall)

Coming off of an American Athletic Conference tournament win over Tulsa, UCF makes the trip North for the Tallahassee Regional. Starting off their 2023 campaign, they won 3 of 4, with a loss to Georgia before heading to Clearwater where they won 2 of 5. Since then, they have played 7 ranked games, with only 2 wins to come out of it.

Leading the charge offensively is transfer Chloe Evans, who leads with a .349 batting average. While also being the RBI leader at 45, she has 37 R, 60 H, 15 2B, 7 3B, 6 HR. Alongside her, fellow transfer Jasmine Williams has had a hot bat as of late. The .300 hitter has 31 R, 51 H, 8 2B, 5 HR and 26 RBI.

In the circle, Sarah Willis claims the lowest ERA, as well as most innings with a 1.52 in 133.2. Just recently completing the school’s first ever seven inning perfect game, she has 8 CG, 88 H, 34 R, 52 BB, 109 SO and a .182 B/AVG. With Willis is Grace Jewell who holds a 2.19 ERA, 6 CG, 121.1 IP, 79 H, 45 R, 43 BB, 70 SO. The rest of the staff make up for a 2.79 ERA.

Seminole Headlines

  • NFCA All-Region First Team: Kathryn Sandercock
  • NFCA All-Region Second Team: Jahni Kerr
  • NFCA All-Region Third Team: Devyn Flaherty, Michaela Edenfield, Kaley Mudge, Katie Dack

Tournament Schedule

Saturday 5/20:

Game 3: No. 3 Florida State vs. UCF, 1 p.m., ESPN+

Game 4: South Carolina vs. Marist, 3:30 p.m., ACC Network

Game 5 – 6:00 PM (Loser of Game 3 vs. Winner of Game 4)

Sunday 5/21:

Game 6 – 4:00 PM (Winner of Game 3 vs. Winner of Game 5)

Game 7 (If Necessary) – 6:30 PM

Stats Comparison

Batting average: UCF (.296), Marist (.287), USC (.259), FSU (.312)

ERA: UCF (2.76), Marist (2.90), USC (2.85), FSU (1.71)

On base percentage: UCF (.365), Marist (.368), USC (.374), FSU (.410)

Scoring: UCF (5.00), Marist (4.88), USC (5.00), FSU (6.29)