Softball ace Kelsi Gunarathne was crowned the FSU all-time strikeout leader on Saturday, March 30.
Gunarathne, the workhorse on the mound for the Rams, has become the most dominant softball pitcher in school history, 361 strikeouts.
She was able to reach this milestone after yet another impressive showing during a doubleheader against MCLA when she shut out the Trail Blazers in both games.
“Kelsi has a great presence in the circle,” Head Coach Lawrence Miller said when asked about Gunarathne as a team leader. “When she is out there, our team has complete confidence in her, which spreads its way into the rest of our play. Kelsi has established herself as being the most-dominant pitcher in FSU history and has been an integral part of our record setting seasons the past two years.”
Miller coached FSU Softball during their historic back-to-back MASCAC conference championships during which Gunarathne was key to the team’s success.
Gunarathne’s freshman year consisted of 12 starts and 13 appearances in total.
She was asked to do a lot of the heavy lifting for her team at such an young age, which ended up leading to a 4-7 record as a starter. She had an average ERA of 4.05 with 40 strikeouts in just under 60 innings of work.
Even with a limited workload, Gunarathne still showed she could be dominate on the mound.
Things picked up in a very impressive way during her sophomore season.
Gunarathne had an astronomical season with a 1.56 ERA, which is nearly a two-and-a-half-point decrease from her previous season.
Additionally, Gunarathne had 144 strikeouts, an increase of over 100 from her freshman campaign.
Her sophomore season was also very important as she proved she could handle the duties of an ace.
From her freshman to her sophomore year, she doubled her appearances, doubled her starts, quadrupled her wins, and nearly tripled her innings.
But most importantly, the team seriously improved under her leadership.
During her freshman year, the team won just 13 games.
But in her sophomore season, the team jumped up to 31 wins with 12 wins coming in the conference.
The Rams were MASCAC tournament champions in her sophomore season and a large part of the team’s success was due to Gunarathne’s 17-7 season.
Coming off a championship year, expectations were high not only for the Rams but also for Gunarathne in her junior season.
Gunarathne continued her dominance as the Rams’ ace.
She started 22 games and was featured in 28 games in total. She had a 16-8 season and again led the Rams to MASCAC glory, winning another conference title.
She once again had a phenomenal ERA at 1.88, with 129 strikeouts. She pitched 145.1 innings, avering almost one strikeout per inning, an impressive feat.
After her junior season, not only did Gunarathne show that she is an amazing pitcher, she also showed that she can be a great leader for a championship-winning powerhouse.
Despite the pressure, she has been able to succeed at an elite level.
Gunarathne is now in the middle of her final season at FSU.
After getting off to a shaky start in the beginning of the year and losing four of her first five starts, Gunarathne has gotten herself back on track as of late.
So far this season, Gunarathne has started 10 games and appeared in 11.
She is currently 4-6 in her 10 starts, including 7 complete games.
Her ERA is 3.09 so far this season.
Just as in her past seasons, Gunarathne’s strikeout numbers are sky high.
In just 63 innings, Gunarathne already has 53 strikeouts.
She is on pace for another 100-strikeout season yet again and by the end of the year will look to compile a record we won’t see broken for a long time.
The team got off to a rough start to start the season and are now sitting at 7-11 on the year.
However, the team is off to a fast start in the MASCAC, sweeping their first series in the conference over the weekend.
It is safe to say that Gunarathne’s presence as a great player and a fantastic leader will be missed in future seasons for the Rams, but for now, Gunarathne and the Rams are poised to make a run for a third-straight MASCAC title.