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USF's Michaels greets challenge with winner

It probably was enough motivation that South Florida second baseman Andi Michaels was 0-for-3 in her first five plate appearances. But when Florida coach Larry Ray waved his outfielders in, challenging Michaels' power, she became even more eager to get a hit.

And a game-winning one to boot.

Michaels' bases-clearing double in the seventh inning Saturdaygave sixth-ranked USF (54-11) a 4-1 win in the second game against Florida. The Gators won the first game 1-0.

"That was a clutch hit," USF coach Ken Eriksen said. "But that's become old hat for Andi. She's been doing that all year long. She's one of our most unsung heros."

Florida reliever Chelsey Sakizzie, who entered in the sixth, walked Monica Triner and Ginny Georgantas to load the bases. Michaels belted Sakizzie's 1-0 pitch over the head of leftfielder Jamie Hirschman and off the tip of her glove.

"Everyone really buckled down and we did what we had to do," Michaels said. "I was real happy to get the game-winning hit."

The Gators (41-18) scored an unearned run in the second inning off starter Jennifer Thompson (23-3), who allowed 10 hits and struck out five in a complete game.

SAINT LEO 10-10, LYNN 2-2: In the first game, Monarchs freshman Desiree Croteau scattered five hits, struck out three and had two RBI. Second baseman Christyl Senner went 3-for-4 with an RBI. In Game 2, Jacquelyn Brown, Audrey Friedland and Croteau each drove in two runs in Saint Leo's final game.

FSU 2, Virginia 1

TALLAHASSEE _ Florida State may have appeared vulnerable before the start of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament, but not after it was over.

The Seminoles narrowly won their fourth ACC title in a row and their sixth in the seven years of the event.

"Anytime you win a championship, it's special," FSU coach Joanne Graf said. "It's a tradition we have at Florida State in softball, and we want to keep it going as long as we can."

Last week, FSU (50-18) was swept in a doubleheader at Virginia (38-28) and split at Maryland, thus finishing second to North Carolina in the regular season. But FSU marched through the double-elimination tournament with the only perfect record, opening with a 1-0 win over Maryland on Thursday before hammering Virginia 10-0 Friday.

Seminoles pitcher Stacy Venable went the distance in all three games and was named Most Valuable Player. She gave up 13 hits and one run in 19 innings.

_ KEVIN RECORD

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