May 22, 2011
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ATHENS, Ga. (seminoles.com) - The Florida State University softball team ended its fulfilling season on Sunday afternoon as it fell to No. 6-rated Georgia, 10-2, in the NCAA Athens Regional at Jack Turner Stadium.
The loss ends a year that saw the Seminoles (32-28) attain their first Atlantic Coast Conference championship since 2004 as well as their school-record 12th consecutive trip to the NCAA Championship. It marks the end of the careers of stalwart seniors Sarah Hamilton, Robin Ahrberg, Jen Lapicki, Kristie McConn, Lauren Varsalona and Ashley Stager.
FSU also reached the final day of NCAA Regional play for the first time since 2006, the last time it reached the NCAA Super Regionals. The Seminoles went 2-2 in this year's regional, including two victories on Saturday over Georgia State (6-1) and UAB (13-1) to give it an opportunity to advance.
"I'm very proud of our team for fighting. We knew that Georgia was going to be a team that was going to battle with the bats, which they do," head coach Lonni Alameda said. "We could have easily shut down there in the second inning and we didn't. We fought. It's good to be here on Sunday, to play on Sunday and to get some experience. We have a very class-act character senior class but we got a lot of freshman some experience today. I think that it was good for us."
On Sunday, a season-high five errors marred FSU's chances of a comeback against a quality-ranked opponent. Several of those miscues came early and led to unearned runs, setting the tone for the Bulldogs (50-12) throughout the day.
Freshman right-hander Morgan Montemayor (26-3) got the victory for UGA, while Hamilton (19-19) took the loss as she ends her historic Seminole career with a school-record 1,004 strikeouts.
Georgia took a quick lead in the first inning when it scored two runs right away. Megan Wiggins led off the game with a left-center gapper for a double, and Taylor Schlopy drove her in on an RBI single through the left side. Schlopy then unexpectedly scored during Alisa Goler's at-bat when she stole second base, advanced to third on a high throw from catcher Celeste Gomez and scored on an errant throw from centerfielder Courtney Senas, making it 2-0 with no outs.
Hamilton avoided disaster by inducing outs to her next two batters. She then allowed a single, a walk and a hit-by-pitch to load the bases but escaped the jam by striking out Laura Trout.
In the second frame, Goler walked to load the bases with just one out for Georgia. Briana Hesson then singled through the left side to plate Wiggins from third base, and Schlopy also advanced home from second base after third baseman Tiffani Brown mishandled Morgan Bullock's cutoff throw from left field. Ashley Razey's fielder's choice to Stager at shortstop also resulted in two runs scored, as Stager's throw to home plate skidded off the glove of catcher Gomez to give the Bulldogs a 6-0 advantage.
FSU responded with a run in the bottom of the second inning. Gomez hit a two-strike offering for a single to left field, then was replaced by pinch runner Kirstin Austin. After Ahrberg's flyout, McConn was hit by a pitch to put two runners on. After both runners advanced on a passed ball, Bullock recorded an RBI groundout to second base to cut the deficit to 6-1.
The Seminoles tacked on another run in the third inning on some good base running from Brown. With one out and the bases loaded, Gomez flied out to shallow centerfield. Georgia's cutoff throw came to the infield, and the Bulldogs tried to throw Shayla Jackson out as she was returning to second base. On that unsuccessful throw, Brown scooted home to make it 6-2.
The game was essentially put out of reach in the fifth inning when Brittany Hubbarb hit a solo home run to right center to create a 7-2 score.
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