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May 16, 2010
BLACKSBURG, Va. — No. 1 seed Georgia Tech beat No. 3 seed Florida State, 8-4, in the title game of the 2010 Atlantic Coast Conference Softball Championship. ACC Freshman of the Year Hope Rush was named tournament most valuable player.
The Yellow Jackets, who beat Florida State in last year’s championship game in Raleigh, N.C., won their second straight ACC championship and fourth in school history. The win improves Georgia Tech to 48-9 (19-2 ACC) and automatically qualifies it for the NCAA Division I Softball Championship.
“The win feels pretty good,” said Georgia Tech head coach Sharon Perkins, who was named ACC Coach of the Year earlier this week. “Our girls played really well.”
The loss drops Florida State, which is expected to receive an at-large bid to the national tournament, to 43-16 (12-9).
Georgia Tech loaded the bases in the top of the first inning on singles from ACC Player of the Year Jen Yee and junior All-ACC first baseman Kristine Priebe and a walk from Rush, but sophomore third baseman Danielle Dike stranded the runners by fouling out. Opportunity presented itself again in the Yellow Jackets’ half of the second inning, and sophomore catcher Kate Kuzma cashed in with her ninth home run of the season, a three-run long ball to left field that put Georgia Tech up, 3-0.
The Yellow Jackets extended their lead to 6-0 in the next inning. Rush led things off with a single and advanced to second base on an error by Florida State freshman leftfielder Morgan Bullock. Seminole junior All-ACC starter Sarah Hamilton hit Dike with a pitch, prompting head coach Lonni Alameda to call on senior hurler Terese Gober in relief. Yellow Jacket freshman designated player Caitlin Jordan singled to score senior outfielder Kelly Eppinger—running for Rush—from second base and advance Dike to third. Sophomore leftfielder Shannon Bear fouled out to first base, but Florida State senior Haddad carried the ball out of play, allowing Dike to score Georgia Tech’s third run of the inning.
The Seminoles looked to answer in the bottom of the third inning, putting a pair of runners on base with two outs. Freshman third baseman Tiffani Brown singled to left field, but Bullock, caught in a run-down between third and home, was tagged out to end the inning.
In the fifth inning, the Yellow Jackets scored two more runs, increasing their advantage to 8-0.
Senior first-team All-ACC centerfielder Carly Wynn led off the sixth inning with a home run, her sixth of the year, to put Florida State on the board. A pair of singles and a pair of doubles scored three more runs for the Seminoles, cutting their deficit to 8-4 in favor of Florida State.
Junior pitcher/third baseman Kristen Adkins came on in relief of Rush to work the last of the seventh inning, setting Florida State down in order.
Rush earned her league-leading 28th win of the year, improving to 28-6. She allowed four earned runs on seven hits and struck out two batters over 6.0 innings. Hamilton, who allowed five runs (all earned) on four hits and struck out one, fell to 21-9.
Action for ACC teams continues next week in the NCAA Softball Championship. The field will be announced by the NCAA Division I Softball Committee tonight at 10 p.m.
2010 ACC All-Tournament Team
|Robin Ahrberg||Jr.||C||Florida State|
|Tiffani Brown||Fr.||3B||Florida State|
|Sarah Hamilton||Jr.||P||Florida State|
|Kate Kuzma||So.||C||Georgia Tech|
|Kristine Priebe||Jr.||1B||Georgia Tech|
|Hope Rush||Fr.||P||Georgia Tech|
|Kelsi Weseman||So.||SS||Georgia Tech|
|Kelli Wheeler||So.||OF||North Carolina|
|Courtney Liddle||Fr.||C||Virginia Tech|
|Kenzie Roark||Jr.||P||Virginia Tech|
|Ashton Ward||Jr.||P/UTL||Virginia Tech|
|Most Valuable Player: Hope Rush, Fr., P, Georgia Tech|
2010 ACC Softball Championship Semifinals
#1 Georgia Tech vs. #3 Florida State
Georgia Tech head coach Sharon Perkins
Opening Statement: “The win feels pretty good. Our girls played really well.”
On Florida State’s sixth-inning relay: “They made some good adjustments and fought hard.”
On Hope Rush winning most valuable player: “The team likes to play behind her. When she’s pitching, she has the team’s focus.”
Georgia Tech freshman pitcher Hope Rush
On her 2010 season: “The whole year has helped me grow as a player and as a person. It’s definitely helped me mature.”
Florida State head coach Lonni Alameda
Opening Statement: “It was nice to see some adjustments at the place in the sixth inning. We put a little pressure on [Georgia Tech], but they’re just a great hitting team. They’ve got really good bats.”