March 14, 2006
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –
Nearly every statistics in the box score pointed to a Florida State win over No. 24 North Carolina, except for the score. A pair of FSU errors contributed to both of the Tar Heels runs as they swept a Tuesday (March 14) doubleheader from the Seminoles by taking the nightcap 3-1 in the opening Atlantic Coast Conference series for both teams.
The loss dropped the Seminoles to 19-11 on the year, 1-2 in the ACC, as they were swept in a doubleheader for the first time since May 3, 2005, when Florida took a pair. North Carolina won its first regular season games in Tallahassee since 1989 and captured its first ACC series against Florida State since 1996.
Despite giving up just one earned run, sophomore Tiffany McDonald (Belfair, Wash.) was saddled with the loss, breaking her four-game winning streak, as he record fell to 12-6 despite her ACC-high 15th complete game. The right-hander struck out eight batters and gave up four walks. Lisa Norris came on in relief of starter Amber Johnson to get the win and improve her record to 8-2.
“I thought we did a great job hitting the ball against a good pitching staff,” FSU head coach Dr. JoAnne Graf said. “We put ourselves in a position to score some runs, but we just couldn’t get the hits at the right time. Tiffany threw another great game, but the defense made too many mistakes behind her.”
The Seminoles had their opportunities to jump on the Tar Heels in the first two innings as they pounded out four hits, but left three runners stranded and had another throw out at third base trying to stretch a double into at triple. For the game, Florida State stranded eight runners, including five in scoring position.
Just like Tuesday’s first game, North Carolina got its first run off an FSU error as Jennifer Jacobs’ grounder was misplayed with two outs in the third. Casey Testa roped a ball into left field to score UNC’s first run.
Florida State responded with a run of its own on the bottom of the third to tie the game. Nearly identical to the first inning, left fielder Natasha Jacob (Coppell, Texas) led off the inning with a bunt single followed by an infield single by Whitney Buckmon (Stone Mountain, Ga.). Jacob was thrown out at third on a double steal attempt, but Buckmon moved into scoring position. One out later, shortstop Yuruby Alicart (Maracay, Venezuela) looped a ball just over second base, scoring Buckmon with the tying run.
The Seminoles were bitten by the error bug again in the fifth inning to allow another North Carolina run. With one out, the throw to first base was dropped as Norris advanced to third. Jacobs followed with a bloop single to center field, scoring Norris. The Tar Heels added an insurance run in the seventh when a misplayed ground ball with two outs made it a 3-1 game.
Florida State is back in action Thursday (March 16) when it plays a pair of games at the Judi Garmen Classic. The Seminoles take on host Cal-State Fullerton at 6:15 p.m. (PST) then follow up with No. 10 Arizona State at 8:30 p.m.