The ACC is becoming a better softball league. But Florida State is still at the head of the class.
Cali Harrod and Anna Shelnutt each hit home runs as FSU routed North Carolina 8-0 on Saturday afternoon to capture a sixth straight ACC tournament title. Sydney Sherrill had an RBI double in the sixth inning to lift the Seminoles to the run-rule win.
“I’m going to go back to the keyword right now of culture and family,” coach Lonni Alameda said. “Our senior classes every year protect the culture. And they stay grounded to the values of the program. We start playing good softball and care about each other at the biggest time of the year. When you think about year in and year out winning, it’s just not skills it’s about team coming together at the right time.”
Makinzy Herzog and Meghan King combined on the four-hitter for the Seminoles (51-8). FSU is a likely national seed and will find out who it hosts in a four-team regional on Sunday at 9 p.m. (ESPN2), with regional games likely beginning on Friday at the Seminole Softball Complex.
Harrod went 3 for 3 with two RBI and paced FSU’s 11-hit attack. Elizabeth Mason also had two RBI, which includes her drawing a four-pitch, bases-loaded walk.
Herzog earned the start and worked her way out of a few jams. She allowed a two-out triple in the first but then recorded a strikeout to get out of the inning. King took over in the third and tossed four shutout innings, scattering three hits while striking out three hitters.
King (29-5) pitched 17 shutout innings over three games in three days.
“It’s just incredible especially being in front of your home crowd, feeling their energy every single pitch,” King said. “Especially being a senior. So proud to be a Seminole.”
FSU now has 16 ACC titles since 1992 as well as a shared league title with Maryland in 1997 when weather suspended the game. Georgia Tech is the next closest in the ACC with five league titles.
Alameda feels the conference is getting tougher top to bottom. Virginia Tech had earned the top seed in the ACC Tournament and Alameda feels the league will be well represented when the bracket is announced.
“You look at the RPI,” Alameda said. “We should get five teams in. … Exactly what we had wanted for the ACC since we’ve been here is to continue to grow it and be competitive. We’re getting it.”