May 8, 2004
Ann Arbor, MI –
The second-ranked Seminole softball team was just three outs away from the team’s biggest road win of the season. Junior Casey Hunter (29-3) had just set down the meat of the Wolverine order on just eight pitches in the sixth and the Seminoles looked as if they would record their second straight win over UM for the first time in team history. Then back-to-back errors on the first two Wolverine batters opened the door for a Michigan rally as UM scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh, the second coming on a bases loaded walk with two outs.
The loss was the third for FSU in the last 10 games after going 46-4 in the first 50 games of the season. Hunter, whose defense let her down in the seventh allowed just two hits and no earned runs as she picked up her second consecutive loss after winning 21 straight games. It was the second time in a row the senior lost without allowing an earned run.
The Wolverines threatened Hunter in the top of the first as a walk and a single put runners on the corners with nobody out. Hunter got out of the jam though as she induced her third ground out of the inning to end the threat.
Michigan starter Jennie Ritter (22-6) kept FSU without a base runner until two outs in the third. LaShaun Davis recorded a bloop single over second and Veronica Wootson followed with a bunt single as FSU tried to rally with two outs. Natasha Jacob looked to get on with the Tribe’s second straight bunt but she was just thrown out at first to end the threat.
Jessica van der Linden opened the fourth with a sun aided triple down the left field line that landed on the warning track about 198 feet away. Elisa Vasquez then reached on an error putting runners on the corners with nobody away. Lesley Palmer brought the run home on her ground out to second base.
Michigan led off the bottom of the fifth with a single and a sacrifice bunt as they tried to
even the game. Hunter got the second out of the frame on a ground out but the runner moved to third and Michigan was just 60 feet away from tying the game as they sent their leadoff hitter to the plate. Hunter set the hot hitting Tiffany Haas down on three pitches as she got the second baseman watching strike three to retire the side.
Michigan sent its 2-3-4 hitters to the plate in the home half of the sixth as they tried to even the score or take a late lead on FSU. Hunter was perfect though against the heart of the Wolverine order as she needed just eight pitches to move FSU within three outs of the victory.
Beth Wade recorded a two-out single in the top of the seventh but FSU was unable to add an insurance run as Michigan looked to make one last stab at either tying or winning the game. An FSU error opened the door for Michigan as a slow roller to first took a bad hop and gave the Wolverines a base runner. Another Tribe error put runners on first and second with nobody away as the Seminoles tried to cut down the leadoff runner. A sacrifice bunt moved the runners to second and third with just one away. The errors hurt as a ground ball scored the tying run and still left runners on second and third with just one out. The Seminoles got the second out on a foul out to first base before a walk loaded the bases. Hunter then lost the final batter on a 3-2 pitch that plated the winning run.
After completing the twin bill with Michigan, Florida State will wrap-up the regular season with a doubleheader versus Eastern Michigan Monday. Game times are set for 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. The Seminoles open postseason play at the ACC Tournament in Tallahassee May 14. The Tribe will face the Georgia Tech/NC State winner at 5:30 p.m. Friday. For more information on the 2004 FSU softball team or the 2004 ACC Championship in Tallahassee please log on to the official athletic website of Florida State University at www.seminoles.com.