May 13, 2011
ATLANTA, Ga. (seminoles.com) – Entering the conference postseason with no home runs this season, senior second baseman Kristie McConn picked a good time to send one out of the ball yard. Her moon-shot two-run home run broke a 2-2 tie in the fifth inning and ignited the fourth-seeded Florida State University softball team to a 9-2 victory over fifth-seeded Virginia Tech in the first round of the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship on Friday evening at Mewen Field in Atlanta.
On a 1-0 offering from Virginia Tech reliever Jasmin Harrell, McConn went after a low fastball with plenty of velocity and hit a towering shot that cleared the left field wall with ease. The big play sparked a four-run inning that sealed the game and was a response to the Hokies (37-20) tying up the contest earlier in the top half on a two-run home run by Betty Rose.
“We’ve been very happy the way Kristie has performed at the plate in some of these recent games,” head coach Lonni Alameda said. “Her big home run certainly boosted our team’s confidence and from there we were consistently getting good at-bats against two strong pitchers from Virginia Tech. Our offense and pitching were in sync tonight, and it made the difference in tonight’s ball game.”
McConn’s hot bat as of late pushed her up to the No. 5 spot in the order, just the second time she has hit that high. She has certainly hit well at Georgia Tech’s off-campus field, going 5-for-8 with four RBIs and two doubles last weekend against the Yellow Jackets before providing the big blast tonight.
FSU’s offense has begun to click at the right time. In its last two games against ACC opponents (Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech), the Seminoles (28-26) have combined for 28 base hits after producing 13 tonight. FSU was aided by clutch hitting with runners on base in tonight’s ACC Championship nightcap, as third baseman Tiffani Brown and McConn led the team with two RBIs apiece.
Brown recorded her second round-tripper of the season when she led off the bottom of the first inning with a slap-hit, solo home run down the right field line. The Tallahassee native took a 1-2 pitch from starter Kenzie Roark (18-9) and turned on an inside fastball to give FSU an instantaneous advantage. Brown finished 3-for-4 this evening, her seventh three-hit performance of the year.
Ashley Stager’s team-leading fourth sacrifice fly brought in FSU’s second run in the fourth inning. A double steal by Bryant and Senas led to her 30th RBI of the season.
Starting pitcher Sarah Hamilton (17-17) dominated the Hokies through most of the contest, utilizing her effective offspeed pitches to the tune of six strikeouts while allowing only three hits in seven innings pitched. The Tallahassee native surrendered just one walk and tossed just 78 pitches. She now has 981 career strikeouts.
FSU can add tonight’s victory as another quality win for its NCAA Tournament résumé, as Virginia Tech entered the championship just below the Seminoles with a No. 52 ratings percentage index.
FSU will face eighth-seeded Virginia on Saturday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. at Mewen Field, with the winner slated to face either Maryland or North Carolina in the championship game on Sunday. The Cavaliers upset top-seeded and 16th-ranked Georgia Tech in the early evening, 6-0.
Fans can watch tomorrow’s contest again on theACC.com via video stream, as well as follow in-game updates on Twitter with @FSU_Softball.