An hour earlier, eighth-seeded Florida State shocked top-seeded UCLA 2-1 in nine innings in the first game of the Women's College World Series Thursday in Oklahoma City, Okla.
Marier, the Seminoles' senior left fielder, was a hero twice over. She homered with two outs in the top of the ninth inning, then turned around and made a diving game-saving catch in the bottom of the inning with base runners on second and third to secure the win.
The modest yet elated Marier praised the Seminoles' poise and quiet confidence against a talented Bruins team that has played for the national title the past three years and leads the nation in hitting.
"I don't think it has completely set in yet," Marier said in a telephone interview with theTerritory.org.
"We tried not to look at the UCLA name and image. We just concentrated on going out, having fun and playing ball. And I think that worked. Everyone came together. It was a complete team effort. It was like, let's have fun. Everyone came to play and it wasn't like, 'Oh, it's UCLA.' We didn't mark it off as a loss in the book. We are like, 'Let's give them a good shot.' "
And Marier gave the Bruins a double shot with her bat and glove. She has hit seven of the team's last 11 home runs. Additionally, Marier has recorded the game-winning RBI in three of the Seminoles' last five wins.
Marier's home run down the left-field line came on an 0-2 changeup from UCLA pitcher Keira Goerl (31-5), whose 0.50 earned-run average ranks third in the nation. When Marier connected, she thought the ball was headed foul. Nope. The ball hugged the line and FSU was on way to its first series win since 1991.
Marier's home run was one of just four Seminole hits -- Shundra Colzie had two hits and Brandi Stuart added one. Marier, who played at Clearwater High, thought it was her first-ever game-winning home run at any level.
"I thought it was going foul and I was like, 'Oh, no," said Marier, who entered the game with eight home runs and a .263 batting average.
"When I got to first base and looked up, it looked like people were trying to grab the ball. I really wasn't surprised she threw the changeup. It's a pitch that usually gets you off-balance. I took a big hack at my second strike, which was a high rise (fastball). I just tried to key in, swing and hit the ball hard -- I guess that's what I did."
Marier also did it on the field, diving for a line-drive off the bat of Stephanie Ramos with two outs and runners on second and third.
"I think it was just a reaction thing - I caught it out in front of me," Marier said. "My glove got squished on it funky, but I caught it. It was in the glove. I opened it up and said, 'Yes, it's in there." It was a great feeling."
It marked only the second time in WCWS history the top-seeded team has lost the opening game. Ironically, in 1991, top-seeded FSU was upset by an upstart UCLA squad, 1-0. UCLA eventually lost to Arizona in the title game. The Lady Seminoles, returning to the series for the first time since dropping two straight in 1993, move into Friday's second round against the Oklahoma-California winner.
Marier believes the Seminoles can build on their opening-game heroics. FSU senior pitcher Leslie Malerich tied a career high with her 35th win of the season. The victory was also her fifth straight postseason win. UCLA lost in its opening game of the series for just the second time in 18 appearances.
"I think everyone settled down once the game got going," Marier said. "Once it got rolling, if we put the ball in play and get the outs, it's going to happen. As the game went on, we knew we could play with UCLA and we felt like we were going to win. It's pretty amazing. We are not going to give up. We put a lot of heart into it (game) and we are going to take it as far as we can."