The #4 Florida State Seminoles (50-6-1) defeated the Notre Dame Fighting Irish (32-22) 6-0 in the ACC semifinals. The Seminoles advance to the final game where they will meet the winner of the NC State and North Carolina game.
Notre Dame started off well as FSU starter Meghan King (25-2) walked Karley Wester. However, the Noles stranded Wester at third and were able to get out of the inning with no damage.
In the bottom of the first Ellie Cooper started off with a walk but FSU was unable to capitalize as ND starter Rachel Nasland (16-10) was able to get three straight outs with her impressive rise ball.
In the second King found her groove with a three up and three down inning where no ball left the infield. In the bottom of the second Dani Morgan broke the scoring ice with a solo shot to left center field. It was Morgan’s fourth homer of the year. Nasland was able to get out of the inning without further damage but the Noles had a 1-0 lead.
In the third inning King got a little wild walking Sara White and then allowing her to advance to second on a wild pitch. However, King settled down quickly getting three straight outs to quell the threat.
If the Noles are batting in the third inning of this tournament you know that fireworks are about to ensue and the Seminoles didn’t disappoint. Cooper started it off with a single up the middle. After a Jessica Warren fly out Alex Powers blasted a long ball over the left centerfield fence to give FSU a 3-0 lead. It was the ninth dinger of the year for Powers. Carsyn Gordon thought that wasn’t enough so she took Nasland deep to left. It was Gordon’s sixth of the year. The Noles were up 4-0. The next batter was Sydney Broderick who doubled to right center. Morgan singled and Cali Harrod reached on an error. Korina Rosario was pinch running for Broderick and she scored. Harrod ended up on second and Morgan advanced to third with some aggressive base running. That would be it for FSU in the inning but the Seminoles had a 5-0 lead.
In the fourth King had another three up and three down inning inducing a fly out, a swinging strikeout and a pop up to end the inning.
In the bottom of the inning ND brought in Katie Beriont to pitch. She got two quick outs before walking Alex Powers. Gordon doubled Powers to third but Beriont got Broderick to fly out to end the threat.
In the fifth Kimmy Sullivan reached on a Warren throwing error but King extinguished the threat by striking out Katie Marino and benefiting from a double play. Cali Harrod made a great play at short to get the 6-3 double play.
In the bottom of the inning Dani Morgan hit a hotshot right at the pitcher and Beriont couldn’t handle it so Morgan reached on the infield hit. Morgan promptly stole second and went to third on a Harrod fly out. A couple of batters later Morgan Klaevemann singled Morgan home to give the Noles the final margin of victory of 6-0.
There was still some drama left however as King was working on a no-hitter. Unfortunately that was broken up in the sixth as Ali Wester singled up the middle. King would go on to pitch a complete game two hitter with two walks and four strikeouts.
FSU has now scored 16 runs in the third inning in this tournament (in only two games). They have five third inning homers. They had 16 hitters in the third against Virginia and nine today against ND.
FSU has played the Irish four times this year and ND has yet to score a run in the 26 innings they have played. Florida State has outscored them by a combined score of 34-0.
Lonni Alameda deserves some credit. The five time ACC coach of the year (2012-2017) has more talent on her roster than any other ACC team but she is pushing all of the right buttons so far.
The Noles are basically getting what they need from this Tournament. First, they are getting wins and the confidence that comes with them. The mojo is clearly back after the Oregon disappointment.
Secondly, they are able to rest people with nagging injuries like Sydney Broderick who is hitting but not playing catcher in this tournament.
They are also getting valuable experience for players like Anna Shelnutt who haven’t played much but are making the most of their opportunity when it arises. Shelnutt had seven RBI against Virginia.
Last, they are winning impressively which will help them with seeding when the NCAA Tournament field is announced.
Speaking of seeding, one thing to watch for is that there have been significant upsets in the SEC tournament. Florida and Tennessee both lost in the quarterfinals (the only game either of them played). This may open the door for FSU to get a higher seed - if they can take care of business tomorrow.
FSU will play the winner of the UNC-NC State game in the final. The game will start at 2pm tomorrow and will be televised on ESPN. FSU will be going for their fourth straight ACC title.
FSU swept the third seeded Tar Heels in Tallahassee (April 28-30) by scores of 3-0, 8-1 and 6-2. The Noles didn’t play the seventh seeded Wolfpack this year.