College Sports

State College of Florida softball team earns berth in the national tournament

PENSACOLA -- The State College of Florida softball team earned a berth in the national tournament by capturing the Gulf District championship on Sunday.

Ashley Burney's walk-off home run in the bottom of the eighth gave the Manatees a 1-0 victory over Gulf Coast State College at Exchange Park.

SCF fell to Seminole State College 4-3 in the state title game but still qualified for nationals as the district champ.

The national tournament will be held in St. George, Utah, May 17-19.

Paige Mathews kept the Manatees (48-11) in the contest against Gulf Coast before Burney's blast.

The State Pitcher of the Year limited the Commodores to just two hits and tallied 10 strikeouts over her eight innings of work.

Burney's homer led off the eighth for SCF. The first baseman drove the ball over the left field fence for the win.

The Manatees are making their second appearance at nationals, with the first trip coming in 2005.

Burney added three more hits in the state finals and accounted for all three RBIs. SCF held a 3-2 lead before the Raiders took the lead for good on a two-run homer in the sixth.

Kayla Bjorge and Angie Dascoli had two hits each in the final game.

Mathews and Burney were named co-MVPs of the tournament. Mathews went 3-1 with a save on the weekend.

The freshman allowed just two runs and had 35 strikeouts in 27 innings. Burney went 10-for-16 with three home runs and eight RBI in her first state tournament.