OSU softball: Florida State evens up super regional with 4-1 win vs. Cowgirls
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Winning elimination games is becoming a habit for the Florida State softball team.
The fourth-ranked Seminoles were facing elimination Friday, but survived with a 4-1 win over No. 13 Oklahoma State to force a third and decisive game in the NCAA super regional at JoAnne Graf Field.
The Seminoles won six elimination games last year during the NCAA softball tournament on their way to a national championship.
“It’s not exactly where we wanted to be, but when you’re down Game 1, Game 2 was huge for us,” Florida State coach Lonni Alameda said. “Hard-fought game. That’s a great ball club. I’m really excited about our fight.
“There was a different momentum last year, but last year was last year,” Alameda added. “It was a completely different team. The thing we have this year is we’re a smart ball club at the plate.
“I love the fight. I love how much passion they have to play and it’s a completely different thumb print with this squad.”
Florida State (55-9) won Friday’s game behind a dominating pitching performance by senior ace Meghan King, who allowed just four hits and struck out nine without a walk.
“Credit Meghan King. I thought she was really good,” Oklahoma State coach Kenny Gajewski said. “We didn’t make her work at all, like we did (Thursday).
“Sometimes you just have to credit good kids when they are good and she was good.”
The Cowgirls bested King on Thursday with a 3-1 nine-inning victory in the first game of the best-of-three series. The series finale will be Saturday at 11 a.m. Central Time.
King and OSU’s Samantha Show appeared to be on their way toward another pitchers’ duel on Friday as each retired the first six batters they faced.
But the Seminoles (55-9) pushed four across the plate in the top of the third. It all started with a hit-by-pitch.
Show plunked FSU’s Cassidy Davis on the first pitch of the inning. Zoe Casas then chopped an infield single over the mound. After a failed bunt attempt by Rock Benavides resulted in a foul out, Show walked Cali Harrod and Carsyn Gordon to give the Seminoles their first run. A sacrifice fly by Southmoore graduate Sydney Sherrill drove in another run before Elizabeth Mason’s two-run single to center.
“I thought Show was good for us, but the difference was the free passes,” Gajewski said. “I didn’t think either team hit the ball well, eight total hits. The difference is five free bags and it cost us four runs. You can’t do that against good teams.”
The Cowgirls (43-15) got one back in the bottom of the stanza when Sydney Pennington, who led off with a single, scored on a throwing error.
A bunt single by USA Softball Player of the Year Madi Sue Montgomery began the bottom of the fourth, but Seminoles ace Meghan King retired the next three batters to thwart any rally.
OSU junior Logan Simunek relieved Show to begin the fourth and kept the Seminoles bats in check, but the damage was already done.
Oklahoma State is trying to reach its seventh Women’s College World Series and first since 2011. Despite Friday’s loss, OSU still owns an 11-8 advantage in the all-time series with Florida State. Those wins include two regional victories over the Seminoles in the 2009 Tallahassee Regional.
King and Show are expected to again start Saturday’s decisive contest. Gajewski is confident Show can start and King said she “always wants the ball.”
OSU vs. Florida State
Game 3: 11 a.m., Saturday
Where: Tallahassee, Fla.
TV: ESPN (Cox 29)
Radio: KGFY-FM 105.5