Previewing the ACC Softball Championship Game
May 11, 2013
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- With a 7-0 win over Virginia and a 3-1 win over Virginia Tech in the first two rounds of the ACC Championship, the Wolfpack has qualified for its third ACC Championship game in the 10-year history of the program.
The Pack won the 2006 title in Chapel Hill, N.C., in just its third year as a varsity program. It lost to Virginia Tech 2-0 in the 2008 title game in College Park, Md.
Thursday’s win over the Cavaliers ended the Wolfpack’s five-game losing streak in the tournament and was the first win ever for every member of the team.
Friday’s win against the Hokies improved the Pack’s all-time record in the tournament to 10-12, including five wins en route to the 2006 title.
NC State and Florida State have faced each other three previous times in the tournament, with the Seminoles handing the Pack a 6-0 loss in 2006 when the tournament was a double-elimination event. The Pack went on to win that championship with two wins over North Carolina and a 4-1 win over the Seminoles in the title game.
The only other meeting between the two schools was last year in Chapel Hill, when FSU scored a 6-2 win to eliminate the Wolfpack.
Earlier this season, Florida State swept three games over the Pack at the Curtis and Jacqueline Dail Softball Stadium. The Seminoles took the Saturday doubleheader with 4-0 and 11-1 wins and the Sunday finale 2-0.
NC State, 2006 ACC Champions
A recap of NC State’s 4-1 victory over Florida State in the 2006 ACC title game:
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (May 14, 2006) --Junior pitcher Shaina Ervin went five strong innings in relief and was nearly unhittable as No. 23 NC State defeated Florida State to win its first ACC Championship. Ervin struck out 10 and allowed just two hits in five innings, earning tournament Most Valuable Player honors.
At one point, Ervin retired nine straight Seminole batters. She closed out the game by striking out two of FSU’s final three batters to end the game.
The Wolfpack offense rapped out nine hits, including homers by Shanna Smith and Jen Chamberlain and three hits by Megan Dalthorp, jumping on the Seminoles with four runs in the first two innings.
The Wolfpack won the regular season title and the ACC Championship title in its third season as a program and received the ACC’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Shaina Ervin was named the MVP of the ACC Championship, and Miranda Ervin and Shanna Smith were both named to the all-tournament team. Shaina Ervin was 3-0 in the ACC Championship with a 0.64 ERA and a save in 22 innings pitched. She fanned 31 batters and walked just three, allowing nine hits in four appearances. Miranda Ervin hit .389 with three home runs and set an ACC Championship record with 10 RBIs.
Smith hit two home runs, a triple and hit .357 in the tournament.
After its first ACC series (against Florida State) and a trip to the Judi Garman Classic in Fullerton, Calif., the Wolfpack was 11-13-1, with eight consecutive losses. Beginning with a doubleheader sweep of Virginia Tech, the Wolfpack caught fire at the end of the season. With two wins in the ACC Championship, the Pack has now won 11 in a row and 18 of its last 20.
The Pack, picked to finish sixth in a preseason poll of ACC coaches, won five of its seven ACC series, including sweeps over then-No. 19 Virginia Tech (2-0), Virginia (3-0) and Boston College (3-0).
It also won two of three against North Carolina and Maryland to earn its highest ACC Championship seed since 2007.
Sunshine State return
In each of its three trips to Florida for tournaments, the Wolfpack has advanced to the title game.
The Pack opened the season in February by winning the FIU Panther Invitational with a 3-2 win over Kansas in the championship game in Miami. The next weekend, it faced No. 4 Tennessee in the championship game of the USF 4-Team Tournament in Tampa, falling 8-2 to the Volunteers.
Wolfpack seniors Katie Mansilla of Pembroke Pines, Fla., and Caitlin Dent of Boynton Beach, Fla., are both Sunshine State natives and junior catcher Kirsty Grant of Oakville, Ontario, Canada, is a former JUCO All-American at Tallahassee Junior College who transferred to NC State prior to the 2012 season.