Tallahassee, FL - The 19th-ranked Florida State softball team lost a pitcher’s duel in the ACC Championship game on Saturday evening, falling to sophomore Emily Weiman and NC State by a 1-0 score in front of 909 fans at JoAnne Graf Field.
The Seminoles (41-16) were denied their 12th Atlantic Coast Conference postseason title thanks to some superb pitching by conference pitcher of the year Weiman. The sophomore, who previously allowed 10 runs in three starts earlier in the season to Florida State, surrendered just four base hits in seven innings while striking out five.
“Give credit to NC State, they played with a sense of urgency and got another great pitching performing from Emily Weiman,” head coach Lonni Alameda said following her fourth ACC title game appearance in five seasons. “Our offense wasn’t able to click today 1-9 but we know we still have more softball to play this season. I was proud once again of the way Lacey Waldrop pitched for us, she battled hard for us. It’s tough to beat a team four times in a season and NC State proved that tonight. It was a fun weekend here in Tallahassee and a pleasure to host the ACC Championship.”
Waldrop (22-8) ended a spectacular display in the circle by absorbing one of her toughest losses of the season. The Chester, Va. native allowed just one run on six hits with nine strikeouts in seven innings. The only run Waldrop surrendered came in the top of the third inning when Caitlin Dent hit a hard shot that scooted off the out-stretched glove of Kelly Hensley at second base and allowed Lana Van Dyken to score from second base.
Waldrop finished the ACC Tournament combining to allow just one run in 18 innings pitched while striking out 22. Her efforts were rewarded when she was one of three Seminoles named to the ACC All-Tournament Team. Joining Waldrop was redshirt sophomore Maddie O’Brien, who batted .375 (3-for-8) in the tournament with one home run and three RBIs, and third baseman Courtney Senas.
Both pitchers combined to throw six 1-2-3 frames, holding down two powerful offenses that were held in check for at least part of the ACC Tournament. NC State finished the three-day event hitting .267 while Florida State batted .197.
The Seminoles fell to 10-6-1 all-time in ACC Championship game appearances, and nearly became the first host institution to win the conference title since doing it in 2004. Florida State is now 51-19-1 all-time in ACC Tournament play, and 26-8-1 as the No. 1 seed in the tournament.
Florida State did not record an extra base hit against Weiman, being limited to singles by Senas, O’Brien, Hensley and senior Kirstin Austin. It was just the seventh time this season Florida State did not get past first base on a hit. The Seminoles were held to a 4-for-24 performance at the dish, and were victims of several solid fielding plays by the Pack infield. Just one of FSU’s seven leadoff batters reached base, and all three at-bats that occurred with runners in scoring position went awry.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Seminoles tried to ignite a comeback but were sent down in order. Austin led off with a groundout to Renada Davis at shortstop, followed by groundout to the right side from Bailey Schinella. Celeste Gomez then pinch hit and grounded out to Weiman, who fittingly tossed the dribbler to first base for the final out.
Florida State will find out its NCAA Regional site on Sunday evening with the NCAA Softball Selection Show airing live at 10 p.m. ET on ESPNU. The Noles expect to make their 14th consecutive postseason appearance, as they are currently one of just 11 schools to reach an NCAA regional in every season since 2000.