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The Florida State softball team received several good individual performances, most notably from Kirstin Austin and Monica Perry, to defeat Presbyterian 8-0 in six innings on Tuesday night at JoAnne Graf Field.
Austin, a senior from Temple Terrace, Fla., recorded a career high three base hits in four at-bats while also totaling a career-best three RBIs in the win. The talented outfielder fell just a triple shy of hitting for the cycle, recording a three-run home run in the second inning, a single in the third and a double in the sixth. Her seven total bases also highlighted her career performance.
Florida State starter Monica Perry (8-5) had a dominant outing for the Seminoles (14-8). The Whitesburg, Ga. native retired her first 10 batters faced before allowing a walk to Jill Mclean in the top of the fourth inning. With a no-hitter still intact through her first 14 batters faced, Perry surrendered her first hit of the evening on an infield single by Presbyterian's Jennifer Marshall with two outs in the fifth.
"We really got a boost from several people tonight," head coach Lonni Alameda said. "I was proud of the way Kirstin Austin swung the bat - she was locked in at every plate appearance. We've been able to power up a bit this year with Kelly Hensley and Courtney Senas and they both hit big home runs for us tonight along with Kirstin. I thought Monica (Perry) pitched great as well and took control of things from the start tonight."
Perry struck out six of her 18 batters faced in five innings pitched before giving way to reliever Bailey Schinella. She then closed out the game with one scoreless inning pitched in the sixth. Schinella also ended the game in mercy-rule fashion when she drove in Alex Kossoff for the walk-off run in the bottom half on an RBI single.
Junior Courtney Senas recorded three RBIs for the Seminoles, all on her line-drive home run to left field in the fifth inning. Kelly Hensley added her team-leading sixth home run of the season and recorded two hits. Schinella's 2-for-3 day marked her career high in base hits.
Overall, the Seminoles had another solid outing at the plate by finishing 13-for-29 with four extra base hits. Florida State's three home runs were its second most in a game this season, trailing only the four home runs it hit at UCF on Feb. 20.
The win improves Florida State's record against Big South schools to 31-2 all-time, including its first win over Presbyterian in the teams' first-ever meeting. The Blue Hose (8-9) finished 1-for-19 at the plate and used four pitchers on Tuesday night, with starter Kensley Loudermelk (6-4) getting the loss.
In the bottom of the second inning, Austin stepped to the plate with runners on first and second base with one out. Austin took a low 2-2 pitch and drove it over the right center wall for a three-run home run to give the Seminoles a nice cushion early. The home run was Austin's first of the season and second of her career.
Hensley wasted no time adding insurance runs for the Seminoles in the bottom of the third, hammering a first-pitch solo shot to right center to make it 4-0. Senas did more damage when she launched her fifth home run of the season, a three-run dinger on a 2-1 count that was driven quickly over the left field wall in the fifth.
Kossoff recorded a bunt single in the sixth inning and was moved over to third base on Austin's double down the right field line with one out. Schinella then stepped to the plate and delivered a walk-off single to right field, Florida State's seventh mercy-rule win of the season.
The Seminoles begin conference play on the road at NC State this weekend. Florida State battles the Wolfpack on Saturday in Raleigh, N.C. with a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m. On Sunday, both teams will play at noon to finish the first ACC series of the season.
Chris Nee of 247Sports.com. You can follow me on twitter @CNee247.
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