#ACCSB Championship Semifinals Recaps

(Photo by Tony Quinn, theACC.com)

Notre Dame 9, Virginia Tech 6: Irish To Face FSU For ACC Title

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (theACC.com) – Despite being knocked back early, Notre Dame refused to stay down. As a result, the Fighting Irish own a spot in the Atlantic Coast Conference Softball Championship title game.

Notre Dame (39-10) spotted third-seeded Virginia Tech a 5-0 first-inning lead, countered with seven runs of its own in the fourth, and went on to claim a 9-6 win in Friday’s semifinal action. The Irish will face top-seeded Florida State for the title on Saturday at 2 p.m. (ESPN2).

Few in attendance at Maryland Softball Stadium likely penciled Notre Dame in for Saturday’s game after watching Virginia Tech rough up Irish All-ACC starting pitcher Laura Winter for five runs in their opening at-bat. Amanda Ake highlighted the Hokies’ big inning with a two-run double, and Logan Spaw added an RBI single for the Hokies.

Virginia Tech (35-21) threatened to add more in the top of the third, but Notre Dame rightfielder Lauren Stuhr threw out the Hokies’ Dani Anderson on a close play at the plate for the third out, keeping the score at 5-0.

Virginia Tech starter Maggie Tyler took a perfect game into the fourth inning, but the complexion of the game changed from there. Notre Dame sent 12 batters to the plate and parlayed seven hits, a Virginia Tech error and one walk into a 7-5 lead. Two-run singles by Katey Haus and Chloe Saganowich highlighted the Fighting Irish’s uprising, and Stuhr, Winter and Jenna Simon also drove runs home.

Vanessa Gonzalez led off the fifth inning with her eighth home run of the season to bring the Hokies within 7-6, but Notre Dame put two insurance runs on the board in the bottom of the sixth for the final 9-6 margin. Emilee Koerner delivered a run-scoring base hit, and Haus worked a bases-loaded walk to force home the game’s final run.

Winter (27-4) went the distance on the mound and picked up the win, allowing eight hits and five earned runs while striking out eight batters and walking two.
Kelly Heinz (20-13), who came on in relief of Tyler in the fourth, took the loss for the Hokies. Heinz allowed four runs (three earned) in two innings while yielding six hits and walking four batters.


Florida State 9, North Carolina 1 (5): Seminoles Put Away UNC

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (theACC.com) – Even with Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year Maddie O’Brien held in check, Florida State still proved capable of generating a power surge.

The top-seeded Seminoles pounded out five extra-base hits – including two-run homers by Celeste Gomez and Courtney Senas – to defeat fifth-seeded North Carolina, 9-1, in Friday’s ACC Softball Championship semifinal game. The contest was halted in the bottom of the fifth inning in accordance with the tournament’s eight-run rule.

Florida State (49-6) moved on to Saturday’s 2 p.m. championship game against the winner of Friday’s second semifinal between second-seeded Notre Dame and third-seeded Virginia Tech. The Seminoles are seeking their 12th ACC championship and their first since 2011.

North Carolina ended its season at 24-26.

FSU took a 5-1 lead into the bottom of the fifth, and proceeded to seal the win with four runs as six consecutive runners reached base. An RBI double by Bailey Schinella, followed by run-scoring singles by Gomez, pinch-hitter Ellie Cooper and Tiffani Brown provided the Seminoles with their winning margin.

ACC Pitcher of the Year Lacey Waldrop (32-4) worked the full five innings and picked up the win on the mound. She allowed three hits while walking four batters and striking out four. UNC’s lone run in the top of the first inning was unearned.

Lori Spingola (18-15) took the loss for the Tar Heels after yielding five runs on four hits in 1 2/3 innings. Leadoff batter Aquilla Mateen collected two of UNC’s three hits.

The second-inning home run by Gomez, who finished with three RBIs, was her fourth of the season.  Following a two-out single by Brown, Senas delivered her 12th homer of the season to push Florida State’s lead to 5-1. Neither team scored again until the Seminoles’ decisive fifth inning.