April 3, 2010
COLLEGE PARK, Md. — The No. 16 Florida State softball team defeated Maryland at Robert E. Taylor Stadium in back-to-back games Saturday afternoon.
The Seminoles (33-6, 6-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) earned a 2-0 win in the first game before escaping with a thrilling 3-2 victory in extra innings over the Terrapins (20-15, 0-7).
“Today was just two hard-fought ballgames,” FSU head coach Lonni Alameda said. “Maryland has great pitching and some very fiery ballplayers. It’s fun to play against people that are really into it. We really enjoyed it and it’s nice to pick up two wins.”
Junior Sarah Hamilton was nearly flawless in the opening game, allowing just two hits and no runs in a full seven innings of work. She also struck out an impeccable 14 Terrapins batters en route to her 16th win of the year.
Redshirt junior Robin Ahrberg knocked in the lone RBI for the Seminoles in the 2-0 win.
True freshman Tiffani Brown was also strong in the batter’s box as she posted a game-high two hits. Senior Tory Haddad, junior Ashley Stager and sophomore Shayla Jackson also registered hits in the game.
In the second game of the doubleheader, Brown’s two-RBI triple in the top of the eighth proved to be the difference in a showdown that was close from start to finish.
“It felt really good,” Brown said. “We always try to have eachother’s backs as teammates and that’s what I wanted to do. Everyone play really well today and I just wanted to do whatever I could to help out.”
Senior Terese Gober, who was named the conference’s pitcher of the week on Tuesday, gave up just five hits and allowed only one earned run in 7 1/3 innings. She struck out seven and didn’t walk anyone.
Hamilton came on in extra innings and accrued the save. She struck out two and walked just one in the bottom of the eighth inning.
The Seminoles got on the board in the second inning of the first game when Ahrberg was sent home from third following an illegal pitch by the Terrapins.
An inning later, Ahrberg was once again at the heart of some scoring. First Lapicki reached on a single and then Haddad moved to first on a walk. Ahrberg’s single to shallow right field was enough to push Lapicki across from second for a 2-0 lead.
After loading the bases and failing to get anything to show for it in fifth, FSU put Stager and Brown in scoring position with just one out in the sixth.
A pop-out by Wynn and walk by Jackson then juiced the bases with two outs for Lapicki but her hard-liner to center field kept the score at 2-0.
Just like in the first game, FSU couldn’t capitalize on packed base paths in game No. 2. With the bags loaded, true freshman Morgan Bullock – who had entered the game the inning prior after Jackson was hit hard by a pitch – went down on strikes to finish the second and keep the game tied at zero.
Maryland scored its first run of the day in the third when the Terps pushed a run home on an error in the field by the Seminoles.
The ‘Noles got that run back in top of the fifth thanks to Lapicki’s two-out RBI infield single. The scoring hit sent Brown, who had started the inning off with a double down the left-field line, home from third base and made it 1-1.
Maryland put a runner in scoring position in the bottom half of the inning but Gober escaped with the tied score still intact.
In the top of the eighth inning, Courtney Rosen and McConn got on third and second, respectively with two outs. Brown, who had already doubled, then smacked a two-out, two-RBI triple that put the Seminoles up 3-1.
The elation of Brown’s clutch hit would briefly fade away, however, as the Terps had an answer.
Gober exited the ballgame after giving up two singles and Hamilton allowed a walk against the first batter she faced to load the bases with just one out. Hamilton then struck out a batter and hit the next one as the Seminoles’ lead dropped to just 3-2 with two away.
But there’s a reason Hamilton is the reigning ACC Pitcher of the Year. The Tallahassee native calmly struck out Nikki Maier to end the game.
FSU and Maryland will conclude the series with a Sunday matchup at 1 p.m.
“We have to come out and get after it all over again tomorrow,” Alameda said.
Of note: Former Florida State football star Graham Gano was in attendance at Saturday’s games. Gano, the 2008 Lou Groza Award winner as college football’s top kicker, now plays professionally for the NFL’s Washington Redskins.