TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Courtney Senas has hit 36 home runs in her four-year career at Florida State, but none have been bigger than her towering two-run, walk-off home run in the bottom of the seventh to propel the No. 3 Seminoles to their eighth Women’s College World Series, and first since 2004, with a 4-2 win over No. 13 Michigan on May 23.
“We are extremely elated to be going to Oklahoma City,” said head coach Lonni Alameda. “This has been a vision of ours since day one. I don’t think you could draw it up any better than that. That was a lot of fun.”
Michigan threatened in the top of the first as the Wolverines notched three consecutive two-out hits to load the bases, but FSU starter Lacey Waldrop was able to get the Seminoles out of the inning with a fielder’s choice to second base.
Maddie O’Brien led off the Seminole first inning with a walk to raise her season total to 53 and set a new FSU single-season record, breaking the mark set by Erika Leonard in 2012. O’Brien came in to score later in the inning on a base hit by Kelly Hensley.
The Wolverines tied the game in the top of the second with a solo home run Lindsay Montemarano.
Michigan loaded the bases with one out in the third, but were only able to plate one run on a fielder’s choice to first to take the lead 2-1. A fly out and a groundout stranded three U-M runners for the second time in the game.
The Seminoles tied the game in the fifth inning on a crazy, two-out play off the bat of Senas. Alex Kossoff led off the inning with an infield single and Tiffani Brown replaced her at first with a fielder’s choice.
Senas hit a pop up down the first base line that was right in between the plate, the circle and first base. Michigan pitcher Wagner tried to track the ball down but was unable to get to it in time as the ball tipped off the end of her glove and went toward the Michigan dugout.
Brown, running on contact, saw that Wagner didn’t quickly regain control of the ball and continued to sprint around the bases and came all the way in to score from first and tie the ballgame at 2-2.
Waldrop continued to quiet the Wolverine bats the rest of the way. Her changeup was outstanding and fooled batters all game long. Even as Michigan loaded the bases with nobody out in the top of the seventh on a walk and two singles, Waldrop stayed calm in the circle and the Seminoles got out of the inning on a strikeout and two groundouts.
Florida State needed only one run in the bottom of the seventh, but got two as O’Brien was walked for the second time in the game setting the stage for Senas.
After working a 1-1 count, the senior outfielder blasted a home run deep into the Tallahassee night beyond left field to give Florida State a 4-2 win and clinch the NCAA Super Regional.
Wagner (24-5) got the loss, allowing four runs on seven hits with three walks and zero strikeouts.
Waldrop improved to 38-5 on the season after throwing her second complete game of the day. The Chester, Va., native scattered 10 hits and gave up two runs, three walks and recorded four strikeouts in the win.
“What a gusty performance on Lacey’s part,” added Alameda. “That is a tough Michigan team. They battled through Tempe with a lot of elements and (ASU pitcher) Escobedo and all that good stuff. Our defense played outstanding tonight and we knew someone was going to get a pitch to change the game for us. The team has been about that ‘one pitch’. One pitch for the team the whole time.”
The Seminoles move on to the 2014 NCAA Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City, Okla., starting on May 29. Florida State’s eight all-time trips to the WCWS ranks 10th all-time among Division I schools.
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