May 11, 2012
Chapel Hill, NC – Florida State’s streak of three straight ACC Championship game appearances and the team’s hopes of back-to-back ACC titles came to an end Friday with a 9-1 loss to Georgia Tech (35-21). Florida State (46-14) was unable to breakthrough against Yellow Jacket starter Hope Rush (24-12) who had a no-hitter through 5.2 and the Yellow Jackets carried a shutout into the bottom of the seventh.
“I think we are playing a little bit emotional right now and we have to figure out how to get out of that,” said FSU Head Coach Lonnie Alameda. “It is not something you want to be doing this time of year. These are all good learning lessons for us.”
Rush allowed just three base runners as she carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning before Maddie O’Brien ended the hitless streak. The Georgia Tech pitcher struck out three Seminoles and issued three walks in her six innings of work. In her two previous outings against FSU, Rush had walked 11 batters in 13 innings and allowed eight runs, five of which were earned.
“As a pitcher it is always nice to pitch with a lead,” said Alameda. “You can get really comfortable going at people. Hope (Rush) does a good job of pitching in general but when she gets some run support behind her it is a little tougher to beat her. She did a good job of mixing speeds today. She came right at us and we couldn’t make our adjustments.”
O’Brien was the only Seminole to record a hit on the day as the shortstop continued to see the ball well at the plate in her two games at the ACC Softball Championships. The redshirt freshman went 2-for-5 with three RBI, a homer and two walks in the two games.
After getting out to a 5-0 lead yesterday in a win, the Seminoles fell behind early on Friday. In the second inning Georgia Tech capitalized on a throwing error to plate the first run of the game. The Jackets added two more runs on a single to center. Florida State closed out the second but not before a fourth run came across on a single to center.
In the fifth inning Georgia Tech extended its lead on a deep homer to center field off the bat of Kate Kuzma. It was just the second homer allowed by pitcher Jessica Nori in relief in nearly 30 innings of work. Tech added to the lead in the seventh following a lead-off double, wild pitch and a single. Another hit drove in the seventh run for Georgia Tech. The Seminoles finally got out of the seventh but not before allowing two more runs.
The Seminoles were able to avoid the shutout in the bottom of the seventh and put together a little bit of a threat. A couple of walks and a few long fly balls allowed the Seminoles to get on the board but FSU was unable to do any more damage.
Florida State will now wait to hear where it will be placed in the NCAA Tournament. The field will be announced Sunday at 10:00 p.m. and with an RPI of 17 entering the weekend, the Seminoles look to be in good shape for the team’s 13th straight trip to the NCAA Tournament, the longest streak in school history should the squad be selected.
“You have to look at the whole book of the season and not let this emotion overshadow what we did,” said Alameda when asked about the team’s postseason prospects. “It is a great season and they (the players) need to realize that. This is what we worked for and now we have to start fresh from here.”