South Carolina Falls to No. 8 Seed Florida State 4-0
May 21, 2016
Four two-out runs propelled No. 8 national seed Florida State (50-8) to a 4-0 win over South Carolina (37-22) in the winner’s bracket game on Saturday afternoon in the 2016 Tallahassee Regional.
The seventh-ranked Seminoles claimed a 2-0 lead with two down in the sixth. Carsyn Gordon singled up the middle, scoring Jessica Warren and Sydney Broderick after Warren started the frame with a double and Broderick drew a one-out walk. The duo moved into scoring position on Zoe Casas’ fly to deep center. Florida State added insurance in the seventh with consecutive two-out doubles by Ellie Cooper, Warren and Alex Powers.
Senior left fielder Alaynie Page started the fifth with an infield single and took second on an error, and freshman centerfielder Kennedy Clark followed with a bunt that died in front of the plate, giving her a hit. With runners at the corners, the Gamecocks thought they had a run in the fifth after sophomore second baseman Krystan White put down a one-out, two-strike bunt. It rolled onto the foul line and as the Seminole first baseman went to pick it up, White and her collided. After a conference, the umpires called White out due to interference and put the runners back on the corners. Seminole reliever Jessica Burroughs escaped the inning with strikeouts around the interference out.
The Gamecocks left eight runners on in the game, including the first two batters in the third and fifth and the bases loaded with two down in the fourth. In the fourth, senior right fielder Ansley Ard tripled to right with one down, and both freshman shortstop Kenzi Maguire and senior catcher Jordan Bizzell drew two-out walks. Florida State starter Meghan King got out of that jam with a foul out.
Burroughs (26-5) picked up the win with three innings of relief, striking out three. Gamecock junior Nickie Blue (19-13) took the loss, giving up four earned runs on eight hits in 6.2 innings of work while throwing a season-high 134 pitches.
The Gamecocks offense had chances but could not produce the needed runs.
The Seminoles hit 5-for-11 with two outs, with all four runs scoring with two down, while the Gamecocks went 0-for-3 with a runner on third and less than two outs.
â€¢ Warren went 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles and two runs scored.
â€¢ Six other Seminoles had hits, including the doubles to Cooper and Powers.
â€¢ Blue moved into eighth on South Carolina’s career innings pitched list, passing Gretchen Koenig (1985-88).
â€¢ She also tied Darlene Gareis (1992-95) in seventh on the strikeouts list with her seven K’s.
â€¢ Clark went 2-for-4 with a double to lead the Gamecocks.
â€¢ Four other Gamecocks had one hit each, Ard with the triple and singles by Page, junior first baseman Kaylea Snaer and Bizzell.
â€¢ King kept the Gamecocks off the board in the first four innings, scattering five hits and three walks while striking out one.
Head coach Beverly Smith:
That was an exciting game. Anyone who came out got their money’s worth in terms of watching a great softball game. Nickie Blue really threw a gem for us. For her having to come back-to-back days, I thought she pitched an excellent ball game. Unfortunately she just ran out of gas there at the end. We gave up some runs to Florida State, but we certainly had our opportunities on the bases. We left nine on today, so I think it really is just about being able to get that timely hit. Ansley Ard had a triple with one out. We had an opportunity to score there. That is what we need; we need players to step up in those situations, get people on, and now we just need that timely hit.
On how they could get that timely hit:
It’s to survive. It is to get in there and take your best swing on every pitch, and grind it out. In the seventh was a great example. I thought Kamryn Watts was going to lead us on with a hit, and Florida State’s shortstop just makes a great play. I think it is that time of year where you just need to step up and make the plays. That could have been just as easy as a leadoff hit for us. You need some things to fall for you too. We just need to make sure we are taking our best swings, confident swings, and be aggressive to good pitches.
On the crucial interference call:
Sure. It is critical and I think when you go down to these games in postseason sometimes you can look at one play, one pitch, one call. They are pivotal, and they are momentum shifters. That was certainly one for us, had that of gone our way we would have had a successful squeeze and a run across the plate. It was called out and everyone returned to the bases, so it was a momentum shifter for us.
On facing FSU pitchers:
We have prepared for both pitchers for Florida State. They have two excellent pitchers. We take a lot of pride in making them bring another pitcher out. I was glad we got to see Burroughs as well. We were kind of expecting King on the mound, but I was glad they had to bring Burroughs out at the end.”
Senior Ansley Ard
On hitting a triple:
In my second at bat, she just started to change the sequence. She started going more out, so I had to make an adjustment. She had thrown me in at the first at bat so I started to look out more. I fought off a few, and that last one I just kind of took my hack at it, and it fell.
The Gamecocks face the winner of the No. 24/24 USF and Florida A&M game later this afternoon.