No. 22 Virginia Tech Falls to No. 3 Florida State in ACC Championship
No. 22 Virginia Tech fell to No. 3 Florida State 9-1 on Friday, exiting the ACC Championship in the semifinals for the third straight year.
Virginia Tech has struggled against the star-studded Seminoles this season, losing all four of its matchups so far this year. FSU has been a powerhouse within Division 1 and ACC play for years, heading to its 25th ACC Championship Game following Friday’s win.
An immovable object met an unstoppable force, as the NCAA-leading 96 home run Hokies faced off with the NCAA doubles leader in the Seminoles. FSU would have its way on offense, blasting five doubles and a homer over the course of six innings.
The Seminole’s offensive prowess was immediately shown in the first inning, placing four runs on the scoreboard among five hits, with one runner stranded on base. Kaley Mudge and Jahni Kerr led off with a pair of singles and Kalei Harding quickly brought them home with a double to right-center, just seven pitches into Lyndsey Grein’s start.
Grein followed the double with a strikeout, offering a sense of comfort for Tech after the Seminole’s early runs. The comfort would be short-lived; however, as Mack Leonard hit a double of her own into the same area, bringing in another run. Devyn Flaherty then followed a popup with a single to bring Leonard home, four runs quickly added before the close of the first.
The second inning wasn’t much better for Tech, going one-two-three before Florida State put up another two runs off a Harding home run, shortstop Josie Muffley tagging along. The home run would close out Grein’s time in the game, with Head Coach Pete D’Amour deciding to go with Molly Jacobson for the remainder of the game.
Jacobson was seemingly the right move for the Hokies, holding the Seminoles scoreless through the third, fourth, and fifth innings. In the meantime, Tech finally found its way on the board, with right fielder Addy Greene slamming a homer to right-center to lead off the fourth inning. The momentum was shortlived though, with FSUstar pitcher Kathryn Sandercock retiring Jayme Bailey, Emma Ritter, and Bre Peck on her next six pitches.
Tech managed to get another runner on base in the fifth, but left catcher Kylie Aldridge stranded at first, the last hint of offense in the game for the Hokies. Florida State would step up in the sixth, successfully closing out with a run-rule after putting another three runs up. Back to back to back doubles from Muffley, Mudge, and Kerr got the first two runs in, with catcher Michaela Edenfield slapping one to short, scoring Kerr on the fielder’s choice and ending the game.
While the Hokies’ ACC run is finished, they hope to continue their season in the NCAA Regionals. Tech will know its fate after the selection show at 7pm on May 14th but expects to make the cut as the current 22nd-ranked team in the nation.