College softball: Florida State completes ACC championship three-peat
RALEIGH, N.C. – For the third consecutive season, the No. 6 Seminoles (48-8) are tournament champions of the Atlantic Coast Conference, defeating No. 20 Notre Dame (41-10) by a score of 7-3 on Saturday afternoon at Dail Stadium on the campus of NC State. FSU earned its 14th ACC tournament championship in the 25-year history of ACC Softball.
Jessica Warren was named the ACC Tournament MVP, while Meghan King, Sydney Broderick and Cali Harrod joined her on the 2016 ACC All-Tournament Team.
“Even though it is the same result, this is a different team,” said FSU head coach Lonni Alameda. “It is so exciting, especially with our freshman as Cali Harrod came through for us this weekend, which was big. We obviously have some big goals of where we want to be in Oklahoma City, and this is all a part of that process and that journey. Very proud of them and really excited for them to have the experience of winning a championship.”
Florida State got on the board in the first inning as Morgan Klaevemann led off with walk and immediately stole second on the first pitch to Ellie Cooper. Cooper moved Klaevemann to third on sacrifice bunt and Warren gave the Noles a 1-0 lead on an RBI single through the left side.
Warren stole second base and, after a walk to Broderick, both runners stole a base to move into scoring position, but would be left on base after a strikeout.
Notre Dame tied it up in the second inning on singles from Kimmy Sullivan and Casey Africano, as well as an RBI single to center from Bailey Bigler.
The Irish took the lead in the third inning on a solo home run from Micaela Arizmendi, her 10th home run of the season.
The Noles opened it up in the third inning on a solo home run by Cooper and a two-run home run by Alex Powers to make it 4-2 FSU, chasing ND starting pitcher Allie Rhodes from the game.
The Irish brought in Katie Beriont in relief and the sophomore pitcher gave up a solo home run to Zoe Casas to extend FSU’s lead to 5-2 after three innings.
It marked the 43rd time this season, and third time in the 2016 ACC Tournament, that the Seminoles had scored at least four runs in an inning.
The home run derby continued as Notre Dame cut the FSU lead to 5-3 on a solo home run from Casey Africano.
FSU added two runs in the bottom of the fourth, sparked by a one-out double by Harrod. Klaevemann hit an RBI single through the left side to make it a 6-3 ballgame. Walks to Cooper and Powers loaded the bases and an RBI base on balls to Broderick, her third walk of the game, extended the lead to 7-3.
The Noles showed off their speed in the fifth inning after Victoria East walked and stole second base as well as third base. Klaevemann also drew a walk later in the inning and swiped second base for FSU’s eighth SB of the game, setting a single-game high.
FSU’s King (23-3) closed out an impressive outing in the circle, retiring 11 of the last 12 batters she faced to earn the complete-game win. She pitched 7.0 innings and gave up three runs and scattered seven hits without allowing a walk. The redshirt freshman tied a career high with eight strikeouts, matching her May 1 performance at Pitt.
The Seminoles earned the ACC’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament and will find out their postseason fate during the NCAA Selection Show on Sunday, May 15 at 10:00 p.m. on ESPNU. The top 16 seeds will host the NCAA Regional rounds on May 19-22, while the top eight seeds will have the opportunity to host throughout the postseason until the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City, Okla.