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’Noles, 'Cocks Bats Come Alive, Bulls Lose Heartbreaker

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(Photo Courtesy of FSU Athletics)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Maybe there was something in the water at JoAnne Graf Field. Maybe the two-hour lightning delay yesterday lit up the bats. Or maybe - just maybe - Florida State and South Carolina as good as they’re cracked up to be.

Whatever motivation you might attribute to Saturday’s collective onslaught, there was certainly no shortage of offense throughout the trio of contests, two of which ended in run-rule outcomes. Florida State (53-8) drubbed South Florida (41-19) 12-1 in the first contest of the afternoon, leaving the yard six times in five innings to continue their torrid start to the postseason.

South Carolina (38-18) also broke double digits in its 10-0 thrashing of Bethune-Cookman (26-31), who earned the unfortunate honor of becoming the first team to be eliminated from the Tallahassee regional tournament.

The Seminoles drew first blood, as Sydney Sherrill knocked in Cali Harrod with a double in the game’s first frame. It was a continuation of recent trends for both squads - Corrick put the first batter on base in all three games thus far, while Sherrill’s bat opened the scoring in both of FSU’s postseason contests.

What came after, however, marked a historic afternoon for the Seminoles and a blemish on Georgina Corrick’s otherwise stellar season.

Makinzy Herzog’s grand slam chased Corrick from the game and made it 6-0 for Florida State. Leslie Farris tacked on two more with a home run in her first tournament at-bat, but the ’Noles offense went nuclear in the top of the fifth inning.

Zoe Casas, Cali Harrod, Carsyn Gordon and Sherrill went back-to-back-to-back-to-back in the inning, tying the NCAA record for consecutive home runs while also marking the first time ever that such a feat happened during the postseason. The six-homer effort also put the Seminoles at 103 home runs on the season, moving them into second among all NCAA teams in long balls behind No. 1 Oklahoma.

“I really think the team rides off Cali’s at bats – Cali’s, Carsyn’s and Syd’s – they set the tone and work so well together,” FSU head coach Lonni Alameda said of the first three batters in her lineup, who were in some way responsible for eight of the team’s twelve runs.


To add further to the already rarefied air that this Seminoles team has occupied, they’ve also become the first in program history to reach the century mark in home runs.

South Carolina also brought the bats in their wipeout of Bethune-Cookman. Alyssa Kumiyama and Cayla Drotar became the 11th and12th players in program history to hit 10 home runs in back-to-back seasons as the Gamecocks scored nine of their ten runs with two outs.

“Good hitters are not going to chase junk, and when they get into those tight situations, those are situations where they’re going to really focus in and attack your mistakes,” Bethune-Cookman head coach Laura Watten said.

Drotar had a career day when it mattered most, as she pitched a shutout against the Wildcats and drove in the first run of the Gamecocks’ second game of the day against USF.

USF, South Carolina Duke It Out

While the Bulls might have been overwhelmed by the sizzling ’Noles bats, they were anything but against South Carolina during the second elimination game of the day. Though the outcome didn’t end up in their favor, as they lost 2-1 in ten innings, they fought hard every step of the way in the do-or-die matchup.

Georgina Corrick - whose earlier start against Florida State ended in catastrophe - went all ten innings of the affair, pitching her second complete game in three starts during the regional tournament. South Carolina’s Dixie Raley matched her step for step, allowing a leadoff home run to shortstop Lindsey Devitt but shutting out the next forty USF batters as the pitchers traded zeroes for seven and a half innings before Kennedy Clark’s solo shot to right broke the deadlock.

Clark admitted that she came to the plate with more than just the game on her mind; as a soon-to-be graduating senior, she knew that her extra-inning at-bat had the potential to be her last if she didn’t do something about it.

“I was like, ‘Make it a good at bat, just stay within yourself and don’t try and make it too big.’ That was just going through my mind,” the left fielder said.


Despite the overall dominance of both Corrick and Raley, it was a war of attrition as each pitcher worked out of numerous jams during the scoreless drought. South Carolina left nine base runners aboard while USF stranded eight, which is a testament to the “bend, but don’t break” mentality that both pitchers seemed to have down to a science.

“Dixie was keeping it close and I just knew it was going to be the first team to blink, because certainly Corrick was giving them that for USF as well,” Gamecocks head coach Beverly Smith said.

“It could’ve been an error, a hit, lucky for us it was a big home run.”

With victories over Bethune-Cookman and South Florida, South Carolina’s winning streak in NCAA elimination games now reaches five straight, as the team plays for their collective future but also for the legacy of their longtime players.

“We were playing for our seniors today. I think everybody was with that ‘Never say die’ attitude today,” opined Smith.

South Carolina will take on Florida State tomorrow at noon in a matchup that pits a juggernaut team against a unit that has been nothing if not hard-nosed and gritty. Look for that matchup to be just as thrilling, if not more so, than the other games of this tournament.

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