May 21, 2010

ATHENS, Ga. - The No. 24 Florida State softball team opened NCAA Regional play in Athens, Ga. Friday with a bang, run-ruling Radford, 10-1.

With the win over the Highlanders (36-16), the Seminoles (44-16) are now 23-1 this season when scoring at least six runs in a ballgame. FSU also moves to 4-1 all-time in postseason play on the campus of the University of Georgia.

"Throughout the season we have had some ups and downs and we haven't peaked," FSU head coach Lonni Alameda said. "It would be nice if now were the time when we started to peak. We have been having different parts of the lineup come through but never at the same time. Today we really made things happen from top to bottom."

Junior Sarah Hamilton earned her 22nd victory of the season by allowing just one run on two hits in three innings of work. She struck out seven batters before senior Terese Gober came on in relief.

Gober threw two innings and gave up just one hit with no runs.

Offensively, FSU mashed a season-best 16 hits on the day, including two apiece by Carly Wynn, Shayla Jakson, Robin Ahrberg, Morgan Bullock and Jen Lapicki. Tiffani Brown posted a game-high three hits.

Jackson finished the game with a career-high four RBIs and Ahrberg belted in two runs. Brown, Bullock, Lapicki and Ashley Stager all had an RBI each.

The Seminoles fell into an early hole due to a leadoff homerun by the Highlanders in the top of the first.

It was a 1-0 Radford lead that wouldn't last, though.

Wynn jump-started the FSU offense with a single up the middle and the Brown did the same to put two on with no outs in the bottom of the first. Jackson's standup triple off the right-center wall then pushed them across for a 2-1 Florida State advantage.

Two batters later, Ahrberg demolished a pitch over the scoreboard in left field for a two-run homerun that extended FSU's lead to 4-1.

After back-to-back singles by Lapicki and Tory Haddad, Kristie McConn's deep foul ball was enough to get Lapicki to third base. Bullock then hit a laser down the feft-field line that scored Lapicki and moved Haddad to second base.

In total, the 'Noles scored five runs off of seven hits in the opening inning.

"After I gave up that first homerun I knew they were going to be aggressive at the plate," Hamilton said. "It was nice to have my offense help out after that, too. It gives you a lot of confidence as a pitcher when we are scoring runs like we were."

Lapicki, who registered what turned out to be the game-winning homerun when the Seminoles played in Athens during the regular season, hit another on Friday. Her solo shot made it a 6-1 game in the third.

The long ball by Lapicki wouldn't be the last of the scoring in the third.

FSU jammed the bases with just one out and Brown hit an RBI single that scored McConn from third base.

Jackson then continued her hot-hitting with a two-RBI single on the very next pitch that plated Bullock and Wynn and moved Brown to second. Jackson's hit made it a 9-1 game in favor of Florida State.

Stager's RBI single up the middle then sent the speedy Brown all the way home to make it 10-1. Ahrberg then smacked a ball to right field for FSU's sixth-straight single before the inning came to a close.

The Seminoles, who are now 41-32 in NCAA regionals all-time and 47-48 overall in postseason play all-time, will play the winner of today's Elon-Georgia game tomorrow at noon.