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May 11, 2012
CHAPEL HILL N.C. (theACC.com) - Hope Rush tossed a one-hitter and the Yellow Jacket offense posted two four-run innings as No. 3 Georgia Tech defeated No. 2 Florida State 9-1 in the first semifinal of the 2012 ACC Softball Championship.
Rush (23-12) took a no-hitter into the sixth inning before giving up a single to Florida State shortstop Maddie O'Brien. The Georgia Tech ace allowed four Seminoles to reach base and struck out three in 6.0 innings pitched. At the plate, the junior went 2-for-3 with a RBI and a run scored.
"[Rush's] toughness and her mentality have really set the tone for this team," said Georgia Tech coach Sharon Perkins. "When everyone is battling at the plate like they are it makes it a lot easier, a lot more fun to watch, and a lot more fun to play."
With the win, Georgia Tech improves to 34-21 and advances to the eighth ACC championship game in program history, having won it most recently in 2010. Florida State, ranked 20th in the USA Today/NFCA poll, falls to 46-14 and will await its postseason fate when the NCAA Tournament field is announced on Sunday night.
The Jackets, now 6-12 all-time against Florida State in the ACC Championship, pushed across four runs in the second inning, hit a home run in the fifth, and added four insurance runs in the seventh to clinch the berth in the final.
Starter Lacey Waldrop (19-5) allowed four runs in 1.1 innings pitched for the Seminoles. Jessica Nori threw 4.2 innings in relief and Bailey Schinella pitched the seventh for Florida State.
"You have to look at the whole book of the season and not let this emotion overshadow what we did," said Florida State coach Lonni Alameda. "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."
In the second inning, Rush helped her cause with a single to right-center to get the Jackets started. A Shannon Bear single and a Seminole error pushed Rush across for the game's first run, and then pinch hitter Danielle Dike drove the ball to left to score two. ACC Player of the year Kelsi Weseman knocked Dike in to give the Jackets the 4-0 lead.
Senior Kate Kuzma gave Georgia Tech a five-run lead in the fifth inning with a home run to left field, her fifth of the season. The Jackets sent nine players to bat in the top of the seventh to add four insurance runs and push the score to 9-1.
A sacrifice fly from Kelly Hensley drove in Courtney Senas in the bottom of the seventh to get the Seminoles on the board.