April 24, 2011
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) – Playing in her final regular-season home game as a Seminole, senior Ashley Stager lifted a big two-run home run in the fifth inning to propel the Florida State University softball team to a 5-0 victory over Maryland on Sunday afternoon at JoAnne Graf Field.
The combination of Stager and fellow senior right-hander Sarah Hamilton (16-15) was all that the Seminoles (26-23, 8-9) needed to earn a quality win in the conference. Seniors Kristie McConn (1-for-3 with a triple), Robin Ahrberg (1-for-3) and Jen Lapicki (1-for-2) also registered base hits, while pitcher Lauren Varsalona relieved Hamilton and induced the final out in the seventh for a fitting end.
“I’m so proud of our six seniors,” head coach Lonni Alameda said. “They’ve meant so much to this program, and besides being great student-athletes they are wonderful people. Ashley came up big for us today and Hammy capped off her last regular-season home game in style. Every senior made big contributions today and I’m so happy to help send them off on the right note in their last regular-season home game.”
Stager, who has started every game of her celebrated career at shortstop, led FSU with two RBIs on the big two-run home run. The shot was the Trinity, Fla., native’s 20th of her career, tying with Lapicki and former great Carly Wynn for fifth on FSU’s all-time list.
Stager’s two runs driven in also give her 111 career RBIs, which places her in the top 10 on the school’s career list as well.
Hamilton was dominant once again for the Seminoles, throwing 6.2 shutout innings and striking out six while scattering only five hits against a solid Terrapins (23-14, 8-5) ballclub. The Tallahassee native and FSU career strikeout leader did what she does best, pounding the strike zone and going right after the opposition with both inside and outside pitches.
Hamilton now has 963 career K’s, 24 ahead of the next FSU student-athlete on the list. Her 140 all-time appearances rank fourth at FSU.
The Seminoles finally got the best of starter Kerry Hickey (14-7), who won both games yesterday. Hickey allowed three runs on four hits in two innings pitched, although two of those runs were self-inflicted. In the second inning, both McConn and Amber Bryant scored consecutive runs on illegal pitches. McConn started off the inning with a big triple down the right field line.
Getting base runners on early and often gave FSU the opportunity to score runs. In the first inning, Tiffani Brown lay down a bunt single then advanced to second on an errant throw by third baseman Lexi Carroll. Brown then advanced to third base on a wild pitch and scored on a passed ball to make it 1-0.
The Seminoles and Terrapins produced six hits apiece, while Maryland hurt itself by stranding 10 runners overall. Terrapin relievers Kendra Knight and Ashley Czechner also made appearances, combining to throw four innings and allowing two earned runs.
FSU goes on a nine-day hiatus as final exam week looms. The Seminoles head to the University of Florida for their next contest on Wednesday, May 4, at 6 p.m. The game will air on Fox Sports Florida.