Virginia Falls to Florida State in ACC Championship Semifinal
ATLANTA – The No. 8 seed Virginia softball team fell to No. 4 seed Florida State 12-5 in the semifinals of the ACC Championship Saturday in Atlanta, Ga. The Cavaliers end their season with a record of 24-31.
The Seminoles scored 10 answered runs after Virginia jumped out to a 5-2 lead in the second inning.
Florida State (29-26) moves on to face No. 2 seed North Carolina in the championship game at 1 p.m. Sunday.
Virginia was outhit 12-9 in the contest and the Seminoles tied their season high with three home runs. Virginia was led by Giannina Cipolloni, Alison Pittman and Stephanie Harris, who tallied two hits apiece.
Sophomore pitcher Melanie Mitchell was credited with the loss. She threw all seven innings and finished with four strikeouts. Eight of FSU’s 12 runs were earned.
Florida State, the visiting team on the scoreboard, took an early lead with two runs in the top of the first inning. With one out, Shalya Jackson singled to left. Then with two outs, Celeste Gomez hit a two-run bomb to left field for a 2-0 advantage.
But Virginia took advantage of some FSU mishaps in the bottom half of the inning and responded with four runs. Giannina Cipolloni led off with an infield single to third and moved to second on a Pittman groundout. The next batter, Erica Cipolloni, then walked to put runners on first and second.
Harris stepped to the plate and hit a ground ball to third base but FSU’s Tiffani Brown threw the ball away, allowing Giannina Cipolloni to score. Erica Cipolloni also took third and Harris advanced to second on the play. With one out, Marcy Bowdren hit another ground ball to Brown but this time it was Jen Lapicki who dropped the ball at first base. Erica Cipolloni scored to tie the game at 2-2, with Harris at third. After Bowdren stole second, Alex Skinkis laid down the bunt squeeze and Harris slid safely into home to make it 3-2. Rachel Harvey then followed with a sacrifice fly to center field to score Bowdren from third and complete the four-run inning for the Cavaliers.
Virginia added another run in the second to expand its lead to 5-2. Taylor Williams got things started with a single to left and stole second. Then with one out, Pittman singled up the middle and also stole second to put runners on second and third. Harris stepped in the box and ripped a single to center to plate Williams.
But Florida State strung together three hits and took advantage of two UVa errors in the top of the third to take the lead for good. After Virginia left the bases loaded in the bottom of the third, the Seminoles put up two more runs in the top of the third to go up 8-5. FSU then notched three runs in the top of the sixth and another run in the top of the seventh.
Sarah Hamilton threw the first five innings for Florida State and earned the win. She allowed all five runs on seven hits with three strikeouts and three walks. Jessica Nori came on to toss the final two innings. She allowed two hits.
Pittman and fellow senior Cynthia Javaras played in their final game for the Orange and Blue. They are joined in the class of 2011 by Lauren McCaskey and were the first to play all four years under head coach Eileen Schmidt.