In the most improbable fashion, the 19th-ranked Florida State softball team made a five-run comeback with two outs in the seventh, then recorded the go-ahead run in the eighth to earn an incredible 7-6 win over No. 13 seed South Alabama on Sunday night at Jaguar Field to advance to the NCAA Super Regionals.
After falling in the first game by a 3-0 score, the Seminoles (44-17) were down 6-1 in the elimination contest with two outs in the bottom of the seventh. With senior Morgan Bullock on second base, Bailey Schinella drew a walk and freshman Alex Kossoff singled to third base, which was followed by an errant throw to first base to score Bullock and cut the deficit to 6-2.
Continuing the comeback was Kaitlin Allen, who drew a necessary walk on a full-count pitch to load the bases for junior Kelly Hensley, who was the game-tying run at the plate. Hensley swung on a 1-1 offering from South Alabama's Hannah Campbell (22-9) and belted the tying grand slam on a ball that landed off the scoreboard in left center. Hensley's 13th home run of the season gave the Seminoles new life.
The reigning Atlantic Coast Conference and Discover Orange Bowl champions set another school record as 11 Florida State players were selected in the 2013 NFL Draft. The Seminoles closed out the draft Saturday with six selections between the fifth and seventh rounds.
"It's a great indication of how the program is truly developing," FSU head coachJimbo Fisher said regarding leading the nation with 11 draftees. "I think it shows we're getting back to national prominence. Our players are doing a great job of representing themselves on and off the field leading to chances at the next level. I think we're going to have more guys sign free agent contracts and get a chance to play professionally. I'm proud of those guys as well. I'm happy for all of these guys and want to thank them for helping return this program back to the national spotlight."
The Seminoles also led the nation with the most players selected. LSU and Alabama each had nine players taken while Georgia and Florida finished with eight players drafted. The 11 Seminoles chosen eclipse the previous record of 10 set in the 1995 NFL Draft. FSU also matched the ACC record, which Miami carried from the 2002 draft with 11 selections.
The No. 23 Florida State softball team checked one of its preseason goals off their list, earning the Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season title on Sunday after defeating Virginia Tech, 4-3, at Tech Softball Park in Blacksburg, Va.
The victory for the Seminoles (37-15, 16-2) gave them a sweep of the series and locked in a No. 1 seed for the ACC Championship that occurs May 9-11. The tournament will be hosted in Tallahassee, Fla. at JoAnne Graf Field.
Florida State's regular-season title is the 11th time in program history it has held or tied for the best record in the ACC heading into the conference postseason. The last time the Seminoles were regular-season champions was in 2004. Florida State also owns 11 ACC postseason championships, with the last one occurring in 2011 in Atlanta, Ga.
No. 6 Florida State (31-6, 13-5 ACC) hits the road this weekend for the fourth time in ACC play this year as the Seminoles visit Charlottesville to face No. 8 Virginia (32-6, 13-5 ACC) beginning Friday, April 19 at 6 pm.
The Seminoles lead the all-time series 48-20 and have had success in Charlottesville with 16 wins in 24 trips. But UVa has won three of the last four games against the Noles on their home turf including consecutive series victories in 2009 & 2011. Prior to 2009, FSU had not dropped a series at UVa winning seven straight.
In 2012, Florida State swept Virginia at home as the `Noles used a pair of three-run eighth innings in games two and three to complete the come-from-behind wins. UVa got its revenge at the ACC Tournament shutting out FSU 7-0 during pool play in Greensboro.
Despite the regular sweep last year, Virginia has held the upper hand in the series as of late winning seven of the last 12 games including four straight wins over FSU at the ACC Tournament.