RALEIGH, N.C. – For the seventh time in eight seasons under head coach Lonni Alameda, the Seminoles will be competing for the ACC Championship after No. 6 Florida State (47-8) defeated North Carolina (31-23) by a score of 7-1 on Friday afternoon at Dail Stadium. The Noles improve to 14-3 all-time against the Tar Heels in the ACC Tournament.
“I am so proud of this team today and how well everything was clicking out there,” said Alameda. “We had some struggles, but trusted each other and the process and we were able to execute and keep UNC off the board. Cali had a big day and I was so excited for her as she’s been working so hard lately and it was great to see that show up in the game today. Meghan and JB gave us what we needed in the circle and put us in the position to go for the title tomorrow.”
After a slow start from both teams, UNC loaded the bases with nobody out in the second inning. Berlynne Delamora led off the inning with a single to left, followed by walks to Tracy Chandless and Lauren Fuller. FSU starting pitcher Jessica Burroughs got out of the inning unscathed, recording consecutive strikeouts to Darby Rosen, Jill Ferraro and Elena Covert.
Burroughs pitched out of a jam in the third inning as the Tar Heels got runners on first and second with one out on a single from Taylor Wike and a walk to Kendra Lynch, but the redshirt junior pitcher kept them off the scoreboard with a groundout and a fly out to end the inning.
The FSU offense struggled against UNC pitcher Lynch until the third inning when Victoria Daddis and Cali Harrod led off the frame with a single and a double, respectively. A hit-by-pitch to Morgan Klaevemann loaded the bases for FSU and Ellie Cooper gave the Noles a 1-0 lead with a sacrifice fly to centerfield.
Jessica Warren made it 4-0 with her 17th home run of the season, driving in her 68th RBI of 2016 on a three-run home run to right field.
FSU’s Meghan King came in to pitch for the Noles for the UNC fourth inning, ending Burroughs’ day in the circle. Burroughs finished with 3.0 innings pitched and gave up three hits, zero runs with three walks and three strikeouts and did not factor into the decision.
King made an immediate impact in the circle, recording all three outs in the fourth inning with a strikeout.
North Carolina got on the scoreboard in the fifth inning behind a leadoff double by Wike, her third hit of the game. Wike came around to score on a two-out double down the right field line by Delamora to cut the lead to 4-1.
Harrod opened the FSU fifth with a solo home run to right center, her third of the season, to make it a 5-1 game. Klaevemann slapped a single to third base, stole second and moved up to third on a sacrifice bunt from Cooper. She came in to score on an RBI single up the middle by Warren.
Alex Powers added a single through the right side and ended up on second as Warren took third on the play. Zoe Casas extended the Seminole lead to 7-1 with a sacrifice fly to left, her team-leading sixth sacrifice fly of the season which is tied for the second-most in the NCAA.
King closed out the seventh inning to secure the victory and moved to 22-3 on the season. She pitched 4.0 innings in relief and gave up one run on three hits with one walk and seven strikeouts. The seven strikeouts is the second-most for King in her career.
Florida State advances to Saturday’s ACC Championship Game at 2:00 p.m. on May 14. The Seminoles will play the winner of Notre Dame and Louisville and will look to earn their 14th conference tournament title. The game will be broadcast on ESPN with Cheri Kempf and Pam Ward on the call.
Saturday’s ACC Championship game will also be broadcast on Seminole Softball Radio on Seminoles.com with Robin Ahrberg and Marra Hvozdovic giving the play-by-play. Live stats will also be available on TheACC.com.
Daily tickets are available for $5 for adults and $3 for youth 18 and under, while students from an ACC school can enter for free with valid student identification. Tickets can be purchased online at http://theacc.co/sb16tix
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