By Ariel Bedford
JoAnne Graf Field hosted a cross-town showdown, with the FAMU Lady Rattlers Softball team battling the Lady Seminoles as part of a 5-game home stretch for FSU…
FSU has dominated the overall match-up between the two schools, sporting a 101-8 record against FAMU, with a current 13-game winning streak against the Lady Rattlers. Based on that, along with the 10-1 5-inning rout at FAMU on March 21st, the game could have been seen as a foregone conclusion. However, the Lady Rattlers were very much a game opponent Tuesday evening, and provided the Lady Seminoles with a scrappy test on FSU’s campus.
A pair of RBI singles by FSU’s Erika Leonard and Kelly Hensley put State up 2-0 in the 2nd inning; FAMU’s Whitney Robinson not only served as relief pitcher during the contest but also gave the Lady Rattlers their first run on an RBI double in the 3rd inning. In the 4th a wild pitch by State’s Jessica Nori brought Tera Gainer home to even things at deuce. The game was won in the 5th inning thanks to a three run explosion by the Lady Noles, capped off with a two-run double courtesy of Redshirt Junior and Pomona, California native Amber Bryant. An RBI double by Alyssa Weaver that allowed Rockledge, FL product Jasmin Donaldson to score from first base made it interesting for FAMU, but sensational throwing by Lady Nole Freshman Lacey Waldrop closed the door, with the final tally being 5-3.
FAMU had their opportunities, as they only had 1 less hit in the game than State’s 10. They also capitalized on FSU’s 3 errors, getting runners in scoring position off of fielding mishandles, such as a timely single by FAMU Senior Rightfielder Tenisha Dixon that was bobbled by FSU 3rd Baseman Briana Hamilton. Leaving runners in scoring position was why the Lady Rattlers couldn’t end their 14 game losing streak to the Lady Seminoles. The top of the sixth inning was a tell-tale for the game, with FAMU having the bases loaded and FAM’s Alyssa Weaver being struck-out by State’s Nori.
Though losing is never good, FAMU can use this game as a true measuring stick for their club going forward. Head Coach Wiggins can point out the opportunities that her team let get away as a sign of their potential rather than lack of ability. The Lady Rattlers, energized by the solid relief work of Pitchers Whitney Robinson and Jennifer Lindsey, could possibly get on a roll heading into Jacksonville to face JU on the road. With MEAC opponents NCCU, South Carolina State, and Bethune-Cookman left in the regular season they will need to. FSU, ranked 21st in the nation, will next face the South Alabama Jaguars in hopes of tuning up for ACC foes Georgia Tech, Boston College, and Maryland later this year.