No. 10 Florida State (42-10-1) defeated Central Florida (41-19-1) today by a 2-0 score at JoAnne Graf Field in Tallahassee, FL. The Seminoles will advance to the Super Regionals of the NCAA Tournament.
Kathryn Sandercock started in the circle for Florida State. She started the game with a strikeout but then Denali Schappacher worked a walk. Sandercock responded by striking out Jada Cody but Schappacher stole second. However, Sandercock ended the threat by inducing a groundout from Jazmine Esparza. Alea White stepped in the circle for UCF. The Noles went down in order in the bottom of the first.
Sandercock retired the Knights 1-2-3 in the top of the second. Elizabeth Mason started the Seminole half of the inning with a single to right center. Cassidy Davis followed with a groundout but Mason advanced to second. Devyn Flaherty followed with a double off the wall in left centerfield. Mason held up a bit to see if the ball would be caught so she wasn’t able to score. FSU had runners on second and third with one out. However, White was able to end the threat with a strikeout and a groundout to keep the score tied at zero.
Sandercock started the third with a foul out down the first base line. Mason ranged over to make a nice catch on the ball. Sandercock quickly ended the inning with a groundout and a strikeout. Sydney Sherrill delivered a two out single in the bottom of the third but Cody made a nice play at third base on a hard hit ball from Kalei Harding to end the inning.
Sandercock set the first two batters down with only three pitches. Kaley Mudge helped out by making a great catch crashing into the wall on a foul ball down the left field line. However, Esparza reached on a fielding error from Josie Muffley. Sandercock pitched around it when Kyra Klarkowski grounded out to Mason at first.
In the bottom of the fourth the Noles made their move. Mason started it off by doubling down the left field line. Cassidy Davis followed by doubling to right centerfield. However, Mason was not able to score on the play so the Seminoles had runners on second and third with no outs. UCF coach Cindy Ball-Malone came out and made a pitching chance inserting Gianna Mancha in the game to relieve White. Flaherty greeted her with a single to right centerfield scoring Mason and moving Davis to third. Flaherty promptly stole second with no throw. Kiersten Landers came in to pinch run for Davis at third. Dani Morgan came up and FSU tried to execute a squeeze play. Morgan couldn’t get the bunt down and Landers was caught in a rundown. She was tagged out but Flaherty alertly moved to third. Morgan then grounded to second base. Justene Molina decided to go home to try to nip Flaherty but the throw was late and everyone was safe. Flaherty’s run gave FSU a 2-0 lead. However, the inning ended when Anna Shelnutt grounded into a double play.
Sandercock kept cruising in the fifth setting down UCF in order. In the bottom of the inning Sherrill worked a two out walk but the Noles couldn’t capitalize as Harding followed with a lineout to centerfield.
Sandercock started the sixth in fine fashion with a pair of strikeouts. However, Schappacher came up and legged out a triple to right centerfield. Sandercock ended the threat when Cody grounded out to Mason at first. In the bottom of the inning Davis worked a walk but was stranded as Mancha got two straight outs to end the inning.
Sandercock finished off her dominating performance in the seventh by setting down the Knights in order to end the game.
Florida State earned another trip to the Super Regionals with a 2-0 victory over Central Florida.
Kathryn Sandercock (23-2, 1.09 ERA) was sensational for Florida State. The sophomore pitched a complete game shutout giving up only one hit with one walk and eight strikeouts. Of her 83 pitches, 58 were strikes.
Elizabeth Mason was 2 for 3 with a double and a run scored. Devyn Flaherty was also 2 for 3 with a double a run scored and an RBI. Dani Morgan supplied the other RBI.
FSU has now advanced to the 15th Super Regional in program history. This trip will also be the eighth straight Super Regional appearance for the program.
Florida State has been winning games with pitching, defense and exceptional baserunning. These ingredients have been necessary this year because the Noles have their worst team batting average and lowest home run total since 2012. Today FSU certainly got the pitching and defense but the base running was a bit suspect. However, when Sandercock is dealing like she was today there is a little room for error.
Sandercock has basically been great all year. However, if today’s performance is a harbinger of what she will be able to do for the rest of the year the Noles can really make some noise in this tournament.
Florida State will advance to the Super Regional against the winner of the LSU/Louisiana game. If the Tigers win FSU will travel to Baton Rouge, LA. If the Cajuns win the Seminoles will host the Super Regional in Tallahassee, FL.