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May 15, 2011
ATLANTA, Ga. – Senior Sarah Hamilton scattered three hits over seven innings as fourth-seeded Florida State topped second-seeded North Carolina 4-1 in the title game of the 2011 Atlantic Coast Conference Softball Championship Sunday at Mewborn Field in Atlanta, Ga. Hamilton was named the tournament’s most valuable player after collecting three wins on the weekend.
The championship is Florida State’s league-leading 11th overall and first since 2004. It also marks head coach Lonni Alameda’s first title in three years at the helm in Tallahassee.
With the victory, Florida State improves to 30-26 (9-11 ACC) on the season. The Seminoles were making their 15th overall and third consecutive appearance in the championship game. FSU and UNC have now met in the title game three times with the Seminoles holding a 2-1 advantage. North Carolina falls to 34-21 (13-7 ACC) in 2011.
Hamilton, a second team All-ACC selection, earned the complete game victory to move to 19-17 on the season. She allowed just one earned run on three hits and struck out five. Through the first four innings, Hamilton retired 12 of the 13 batters she faced, only surrendering a single to the second batter of the game.
Freshman and first team All-ACC pick Lori Spingola suffered the loss, moving to 27-16 on the season. She surrendered four earned runs on nine hits, striking out seven batters.
Freshman centerfielder Courtney Senas and sophomore third baseman Tiffani Brown led Florida State at the plate, each tallying two hits. Senas went 2-for-3 with three RBI. Brown finished 2-for-4. Four more Seminoles registered a hit in the game including junior right fielder Shayla Jackson, redshirt senior designated player Robin Ahrberg, sophomore left fielder Morgan Bullock and sophomore utility Briana Hamilton. Ahrberg drove in FSU’s fourth run of the day.
A trio of Tar Heels recorded a hit in the game including senior designated player Brittany Robinson, freshman right fielder Amy Nece and junior left fielder Kelli Wheeler.
Florida State put two runs on the board in the bottom of the second. Ahrberg led off with her sixth home run of the season, a solo shot beyond the left field wall. Three batters later Senas doubled to left center, plating Bullock.
The Tar Heels put two on base in the top of the fifth with one out, but senior Dani Manko grounded into a double play to end the inning.
The Seminoles would add two more runs in the bottom of the sixth to make the score 4-0. Batting third in the inning, Senas homered to left field, scoring Briana Hamilton. It marked her fifth round-tripper of the season.
In the top of the seventh a walk and a hit by pitch put two runners on base for North Carolina. Robinson doubled off of the center field wall to score sophomore Paige Williams and make the score 4-1. Hamilton struck out the final two batters swinging to seal the victory.
Florida State stranded six runners on base to North Carolina’s five. The Seminoles tallied three extra base hits, including two from Senas, while the Tar Heels hit two doubles.
The NCAA Division I Softball Selection Show will air today at 10 p.m. on ESPNU, unveiling the 64-team field. With today’s victory, Florida State earns the league’s automatic bid to the 2011 NCAA Division I Softball Championship.
2011 ACC SOFTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM
Celeste Gomez, Florida State Fr. C
Sarah Hamilton, Florida State Sr. P
Jen Lapicki, Florida State Sr. C/1B
Courtney Senas, Florida State Fr. UT
Sara Acosta, Maryland So. OF
Logan Foulks, North Carolina Fr. INF
Lori Spingola, North Carolina Fr. P
Kelli Wheeler, North Carolina Jr. OF
Alyssa Allbritten, NC State Sr. C
Marcy Bowdren, Virginia Fr. C/2B/3B
Melanie Mitchell, Virginia So. P
2011 ACC SOFTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP MOST VALUABLE PLAYER
Sarah Hamilton, Florida State Sr. P