No. 7 Florida State softball (39-9-1, 27-5-1 ACC) advanced to the ACC Tournament semifinals with a 2-0 win over seven seed NC State (26-25, 15-23 ACC). At the plate, FSU produced six hits and a big fly was the difference. The Seminoles didn’t make an error in the field and allowed just one free pass in the circle to take home the close win. The ‘Noles will play the winner of 6-seed Louisville and 3-seed Duke in the semis tomorrow at 3:30 PM on ACC Network.
Kathryn Sandercock made her 19th start of the year for the Seminoles. Angie Rizzi drew a leadoff walk against Sandercock, but the veteran responded with three straight strikeouts for a scoreless first.
The Seminoles put pressure on starting pitcher Estelle Czech in the bottom half, but were unable to crack the scoreboard. Sydney Sherrill drew a one-out walk for FSU’s first baserunner. Kalei Harding followed with a single to put runners on the corners with one out. Elizabeth Mason flew out to left and Harding was doubled off first on a base-running error to end the threat.
Sandercock allowed another leadoff baserunner in the second, as Tatyana Forbes reached on an infield single. The right-handed pitcher still posted a 1-2-3 inning with the help of her defense. Muffley and Flaherty combined for a 6-4-3 inning-ending double play on a lightning quick turn.
A 6-4-3 GDP sends us to the bottom of the second!— Florida State Softball (@FSU_Softball) May 13, 2021
: ACC Network pic.twitter.com/ClsvbQhfTu
Flaherty kept the momentum on the Seminoles’ side in the bottom half. The middle infielder got the Seminoles on the board with a blast to right-center to give FSU a 1-0 lead. The homer was Flaherty’s fifth of the season. Josie Muffley was robbed of a two-out single on a diving catch by the center fielder as the damage was limited to the solo shot.
In the third, Sandercock worked around a a two-out single for a scoreless third. Dani Morgan led off the Seminoles’ half with an opposite field single. The ‘Noles made another base-running error as Morgan was doubled off first on a fly ball to center off Sherrill’s bat to end the inning.
Sandercock continued to cruise in the fourth. The redshirt sophomore worked a 1-2-3 inning on just nine pitches with a strikeout. But it was more of the same on the opposite side for Czech, as she also worked a 1-2-3 fourth. The ‘Noles went down in order on just six pitches.
Despite the Seminoles’ struggles at the plate, the Wolfpack couldn’t find any momentum against Sandercock. The righty tossed a second straight 1-2-3 frame with a strikeout in the fifth. The Seminoles put some pressure on Czech with a two-out rally, but still couldn’t add to their lead. Muffley doubled to right center to put a runner in scoring position for Morgan. A wild pitch and a walk put runners on the corners for Kiersten Landers. Landers weakly grounded out to end the inning and strand two runners.
Sandercock, the All-ACC first team pitcher, continued to dominate in the sixth. The Virginia native made it ten straight retired with a third straight 1-2-3 inning. Sandercock induced two grounders and struck out a batter for the scoreless frame to put FSU three outs away from advancing to the ACC Tournament semifinals.
In the bottom half, the Seminoles finally got the insurance they had been searching for the last three innings. Sherrill led off the inning with her 12th double of the year. Sherrill finished her day 1-2 with a walk. Harding moved Sherrill to third with a productive out. Elizabeth Mason doubled the Florida State lead with a sacrifice fly to right field.
Sandercock’s streak of retired batters ended on the second pitch of the 7th inning, as Randi Farricker was hit by pitch. Two pitches later, Sandercock recorded out #1 on a grounder to second. The Wolfpack were pushed to their final out after a liner to Muffley at short. Sandercock closed out the shutout with a grounder to third. The right-handed pitcher posted a final line of 7 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 5 K, 0 R, and 77 pitches. Her season ERA is down to 1.42 after her 22nd win of the season. The complete game shutout was her third of the year.