Softball No. 11/9 drops to No. 5/6 Florida State & No. RV/25 Auburn

CLEARWATER, Fla. — It was a tough opener Friday for No. 11/9 Texas softball (5-3) at the St Pete/Clearwater Elite Invitational as the Longhorns lost a 9-2 decision to No. 11 Florida State. 5/6 (7-0) before dropping 6-2 to No. RV/25 Auburn (8-0).

IMPORTANT Notes

  • Texas is now 3-3 all-time in two visits (2019, 2022) at the St. Pete/Clearwater Elite Invitational.
  • First-year receiver Katie Cimusz recorded his first collegiate RBI on a second-inning sacrifice fly against No. RV/25 Auburn
  • rookie pitcher Sophie Simpson struck out four Auburn batters in relief and now has 13 strikeouts in his first 6.0 innings of college work.
  • Texas fell to 7-5 all-time against Florida State and is now tied 1-1 in all-time meetings with Auburn.

Main actors

vs. Florida State #5/6: Freshman third baseman Mia Scott (2 for 3, RBI); senior receiver Marie Iakopo (2 for 2, doubles, FC, RBI); second-year shortstop Alyssa Washington (1 for 2, run)

vs. No. RV/25 Auburn: Junior shortstop McKenzie Parker (2 for 3, race, double); freshman catcher Katie Cimusz (0-for-2, fly sacrificed, RBI)

In the circle

vs. Florida State #5/6: Junior Shea O’Leary (0-2) suffered the loss in the circle after allowing three earned runs on five hits with two walks and three strikeouts in 2.0 innings. Highlighting the succession corps, second year Estella Czech was strong, giving up a single hit, walking two and hitting three in 2.2 frames without a score.

vs. No. RV/25 Auburn: Senior Hailey Dolcini (2-1) suffered its first loss at Texas after allowing five earned runs on seven hits with two walks and five Ks in 5.1 innings. First-year reliever Sophie Simpson struck out four and walked one on 1.2 frames scoreless.

The details

vs. Florida State #5/6:

Florida State managed to take a lead in the first inning thanks to a key error from Texas. After a one-out single, left fielder Kaley Mudge took off on an attempted steal of second. The throw escaped for the Longhorns defense as the speedster raced around to score for a 1-0 advantage.

Iakopo kicked off Texas’ second in promising fashion by hammering a starting brace to the temporary fence on the left. Unfortunately, FSU ace Kathryn Sandercock retired the next three Longhorns to leave Iakopo stranded.

The Seminoles immediately got back to work in the bottom of the second as catcher Michaela Edenfield, second baseman Devin Flaherty and third baseman Sydney Sherrill recorded back-to-back singles to open the frame. O’Leary recorded a strikeout, but followed by walking shortstop Brooke Blankenship to force a run. As FSU looks to add more, Iakopo picked a third-row runner for a huge second out. O’Leary then limited the damage to a single point by removing center fielder Jahni Kerr to end the threat.

FSU took control late in the third as a Mack Leonard RBI single, an Edenfield three-run outburst and a two-run Kerr brace made the Seminoles lead 8-0.

Texas finally entered the scoreboard in the top of the fourth as Iakopo kicked his second HR of the season down center right to cut the deficit to 8-1.

Florida State extended its lead to eight late in the fourth on a sacrificial volley from Flaherty to left center.

Texas must score at least once in bottom of fifth to avoid run rule, sophomore shortstop Alyssa Washington kicked off the frame with a single down the middle. Freshman third baseman Mia Scott followed by entering the box with two retirees and delivering an RBI single clutch left to make it 9-2.

It was as close as the Longhorns could get as FSU pitchers struck out the last six batters of the game to seal the Seminoles victory.

vs. No. RV/25 Auburn:

Two long balls gave Auburn a big lead early in the first. Tiger leadoff hitter Makayla Packer started the contest by driving a solo shot down the left line. After a walk and a single, first baseman Bri Ellis hit a three-run HR left to make it 4-0.

Texas began trying to cut its deficit late in the second. A Iakopo walk and a McKenzie Parker double to the wall to the left put two Longhorns in scoring position with one down. With Cimusz in place, Auburn pitcher Maddie Penta uncorked a wild pitch to the backstop. With Penta covering the plate, a pitch appeared to be in time for the out, but Iakopo somehow slipped under the tag to score UT’s first run. Cimusz quickly followed with a sacrificial fly to bring Texas back to 4-2.

The Burnt Orange & White threatened again in the third as a second-year center fielder Bella Dayton walked and advanced to third on a stolen base and a sacrifice. With two in scoring position, following a Courtney Day walk and a Alyssa Popelka flight, a bouncer on the third left the duo stranded.

Auburn added two important insurance runs in the top of the sixth as designated player Jessie Blaine recorded an RBI single and a UT field error tackled another for a 6-2 lead.

Parker tried to do a little something for Texas in the bottom of the seventh by leading the frame with a single down the left side. Unfortunately, a caught flight quickly cleared the base paths, while the next two Longhorns were retired to end the contest.

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