ATLANTA — Trailing 4-1 entering the bottom of the seventh, No. 10 Florida State (47-10) scored four runs, including a three-run, walk-off home run from Anna Shelnutt to earn a 5-4 victory over Pitt (33-18-1) to win the 2018 ACC Championship.
Sydney Sherrill started the seventh-inning rally with a leadoff single up the middle, and walks to Zoe Casas and Elizabeth Mason loaded the bases with one out in the inning. Cali Harrod made it a 4-2 game on an RBI groundout, setting the stage for Shelnutt’s two-out, walk-off home run for the 5-4 win.
The Seminoles trailed in every game of the 2018 ACC Softball Championship and increased their winning streak in the tournament to 15 consecutive games as Florida State clinched its 16th conference championship in program history and fifth in a row.
Sherrill, Shelnutt and Meghan King earned a spot on the 2018 ACC All-Tournament Team, with Sherrill being named Tournament MVP.
“Pitt has had a little swag with them all weekend,” said FSU head coach Lonni Alameda. “They had a come from behind win against Virginia Tech. They have had a great season. They scrap it out. We knew it would be a dogfight with them the whole time. We had many opportunities in the beginning and they shut us down. What a tremendous game. I’m really proud of our kids. This was a really good championship ball game.”
Pitt put the first two batters on base with a hit-by-pitch and a walk to start the top of the first, but FSU starting pitcher Kylee Hanson left them stranded by forcing a groundout and recording a pair of strikeouts.
Florida State also put its first two hitters on base in its half of the first, but couldn’t manage to push a run across. Jessie Warren led off the game with a single up the middle and Carsyn Gordon followed with a line drive that went into the glove of Pitt pitcher Kayla Harris with such force that it ripped the glove off her hand for an infield single. Warren was retired on a steal attempt of third and two runners were left stranded after a fielder’s choice and a pop out.
Warren hit another single in the bottom of the third and moved up to second on a two-out walk by Sherrill. A groundout left both runners on base.
Hanson retired nine in a row until Olivia Gray started the Pitt fourth inning with a single to left, the first hit of the game for the Panthers. Gray moved to second with a sacrifice bunt and on to third after a fly out to center. The game remained scoreless as Pitt’s Kaitlyn Kruger lined out to first to end the inning.
FSU stranded two more runners in the bottom of the fourth inning as Dani Morgan led off with a bunt single and a two-out walk by Shelnutt put runners on first and second, but a strikeout left both Seminoles stranded.
Sherril and Casas hit a pair of two-out singles in the bottom of the fifth, but FSU and Pitt stayed knotted at 0-0 after five complete innings.
Pitt scored four runs in the top of the sixth inning to take a 4-0 lead. Giorgiana Zeremenko led off with a single, and a pair of one-out singles brought in the first run of the game. With runners on the corners, Sherrill fielded a ball at second and her throw home was wide to make it 2-0 Pitt. A wild pitch and a passed ball brought in the final two runs of the inning.
Florida State got a run back in the bottom of the sixth as Mason led off with a walk and moved to second on an infield single by Shelnutt. Warren drove in career RBI No. 258 with a two-out single to right, cutting the Pitt lead to 4-1 and setting the stage for the seventh-inning magic.
King earned the win for the Seminoles, her third win of the weekend and 20th of the season. She allowed just one hit over the final 1.2 innings with zero walks and three strikeouts. Hanson gave up four hits and four runs, two earned, with two walks and six strikeouts over 5.1 innings.
The Seminoles will find out their placement in the 2018 NCAA Softball Championship on Sunday, May 13 during the NCAA Selection Show that will air on ESPNU at 10:00 p.m. Florida State has hosted the NCAA Regional Round in each of the last five seasons.
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