The late comeback wasn't enough for FSU softball to beat the No. 9 Florida Gators

The streak is over.

The Florida-Florida State rivalry provided a glimpse of what the postseason could look like for Florida State softball. But despite a strong comeback late in the game, the Seminoles trailed the Gators by a final score of 15-13 in the ninth.

The Seminoles emerged victorious from the last meeting on Gators territory. On Wednesday evening it was different. While it looked like the Gators would escape with a road win, the Seminoles found a way to score enough runs to overcome a seven-run deficit.

The Seminoles slowly crept up their path with unearned runs until Kalei Harding hit a three-run home run to tie the game and go to extra inning.

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As the Seminoles pushed the game into the ninth inning, a home run by UF's Kendra Falby and a walk by Reagan Walsh gave the Gators two runs. Falby then secured the Gators' victory with a double play, sending Jaysoni Beachum to first base.


Mistakes, missed throws and pitch defense led to trouble early on

The Seminoles were out of sync early in the first two innings. The Gators took advantage of FSU's errors with two unearned runs and two RBI singles from UF's infielder Reagan Walsh and outfielder Kendra Falby.

The Seminoles had three errors all game and two resulted in unearned runs for the Gators.

FSU coach Lonnie Alameda had to rely on her bullpen after starter Allison Royalty allowed four runs and three hits and no strikeouts.

“It’s not really a pitching issue,” Alameda said. “I think today was about the pitching defense. I don't think we were too clean. I think we could have put out so many innings, but we just misplayed a few balls.”

Ashtyn Danley, who led FSU with three strikeouts, relieved the Royals for 2.1 innings until Emma Wilson took over for 0.1 innings.

Freshman pitcher Mimi Gooden outlasted the rest of the pitching staff, totaling 81 pitches and 4.1 innings. With the loss going to Gooden, she finished the night with two strikeouts and allowed five hits and five earned runs.

“We just tried different things with her today because as we know, in the postseason we should be able to bring in different pitches and different parts of the zone,” Alameda said. “Some have been successful, some have not, but we will grow in this situation.”

Three Noles hit home runs, but so did the Gators

Both teams hit home runs, which would change the momentum of the game.

After trailing 2-0, Jaysoni Beachum tied the game with a two-run home run in the bottom of the first. It was the rookie's 15th home run of the season.

Jahni Kerr also hit a two-run home run to keep the Seminoles down just 11-6 in the bottom six. This was the beginning of FSU's comeback.

Harding was the Noles' best hitter as she led the way with two home runs. One singled to center field in the bottom of the third and then a three-run home run that tied the game at 13 and eventually went into extra innings.

Unfortunately, the Gators scored just as well. The Gators finished the night tied with the Seminoles with 13 goals.

While the game was close in the first three innings, the Gators took control with seven runs in the fourth and fifth innings, including a two-run home run by Jocelyn Erickson.

With FSU trailing by just four runs, Korbee Otis extended the Gators' lead with a two-run home run. With the game tied in the 13th top of the top nine, Falby hit a solo home run for the Gators to regain the lead.

“I don’t think we played a clean game at the beginning,” Alameda said after the game. “I knew we had the offense. You didn’t put your head down.”

“They did it, so it was pretty cool to give themselves a chance to score equal runs at the plate.”

What’s next for the Seminoles?

FSU will travel for the next two weeks and has no plans to return to Tallahassee. They will travel to Syracuse this weekend for a three-game series in their season finale.

A win against the Orangemen will clinch the ACC regular season title for the Seminoles. The Seminoles then travel directly to Durham (NC) for the ACC Tournament, scheduled for next Wednesday, May 8th.

Peter Holland Jr. covers Florida State athletics for the Tallahassee Democrat. Contact him by email at [email protected] or at X @_Da_pistol.

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