May 15, 2010
BLACKSBURG, Va. — The No. 24 Florida State softball team is headed back to the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship Game.
The third-seeded Seminoles scored four runs in the top of the final inning against seventh-seeded Virginia Tech Saturday in the semifinal round of the conference tournament and came away with a thrilling come-from-behind 5-3 win over the Hokies on their home field.
The win propels the ‘Noles into the league championship game for the second year in a row against Georgia Tech. The championship game will be a rematch of the 2009 title contest, in which Georgia Tech defeated the Seminoles, 3-1. The teams also met in the championship game in 1995 and 2004.
“A come-from-behind win does a lot for morale,” FSU head coach Lonni Alameda said. “To have the fight and excitement from the day before should help us tomorrow when we play one of two very good teams.”
FSU (43-15) entered the top half of the seventh inning trailing 3-1 to VT (25-33) and was looking to make something happen.
“That was a good, fun ballgame,” Alameda said. “This time of year you see a lot of those types of games. We were swinging away throughout the game and just started connecting late. It was very exciting. The top half of the lineup did a terrific job of getting on base and Robin and Jen were able to bring them in.
“Sarah Hamilton hung in there and did some good things pitching-wise.”
Hamilton replaced starter Terese Gober in the circle at the start of the third inning and earned her 21st win of the season. She finished the game with a stat-line of two earned runs, five hits, three walks and eight strikeouts.
Gober gave up one run in two innings of work and struck out four with one hit.
Offensively, Ahrberg registered a game-high three RBIs while Lapicki was responsible for batting in the other two runs. Ahrberg had two of FSU’s nine total hits and seven other Seminoles posted a hit each.
Florida State is now 46-16 all-time in ACC tournament play.
After the Hokies built a 3-0 lead, Shayla Jackson finally busted up Virginia Tech’s no-hit attempt in the top of the fourth. Her single up the middle with one out was then followed by a single to left field by Ashley Stager.
Ahrberg then stepped to the plate and pounded a single up the middle that scored Jackson for the ‘Noles’ first run and pushed Stager to second base.
FSU would load the bases after Tory Haddad reached first on a catcher’s interference but unfortunately couldn’t add any more to the run total.
It was a close call but the first base umpire called the speedy freshman out on the play as the Hokies escaped the half inning still clinging to a 3-1 advantage.
After the Seminoles kept Virginia Tech off the board in the sixth, Carly Wynn and Tiffani Brown registered back-to-back infield singles start the seventh. Jackson then hit a ball to the shortstop and Wynn outran the potential force-out at third to jam the bases with no outs.
Two batters later, Ahrberg’s single to left field plated both Wynn and Brown to make it a tie game. On the play, Jackson advanced to third and Ahrberg’s heads-up base-running got her to second base.
That proficiency on the base paths would prove critical as Lapicki connected on a two-RBI single on the very next pitch to give FSU its first lead of the day, 5-3.
“I just tried to stay calm out there and do enough to move my teammates around the bases,” Ahrberg said. “I was able to do that and then Jen did a great job of doing the same thing when she came up to bat.”
FOXSportsFlorida.com will offer live streaming for fans in the state of Florida of Sunday’s ACC Softball Championship game beginning at 1 p.m. Mike Hogewood has the play-by-play with USA Softball assistant coach Barbara Jordan providing analysis.
The game will air on television statewide on same-day delay on FOX Sports Florida at 4:30 p.m. after the Florida Marlins baseball game.