Feb. 15, 2005
BRIEFLY . . .
The 10th-ranked Florida State softball team will get its first true road test Tuesday as the Seminoles face a scrappy Georgia Southern squad in a doubleheader beginning at 1:00 p.m. Florida State opened its first week of the 2005 season with a 3-3 record after splitting with Florida A&M, defeating Nicholls State, and falling in both games to Missouri.
SCOUTING GEORGIA SOUTHERN . . .
The Eagles (1-6) will get to test another ACC squad after Georgia Southern battled Georgia Tech last Wednesday and fell 6-1 to the Yellow Jackets. Pitcher Logan Free (1-1) paces the staff with a 1.27 ERA and junior outfielder Shanita Black leads the offense with a .429 batting average and .571 slugging percentage. She already has nine hits credited to her in the young season.
As a team, the Eagles are batting .177 and allowing their opponents to hit a .263 mark.
THE SERIES . . .
Tuesday will mark the 30th and 31st time the two teams have met with FSU owning a 27-2 series record. The Seminoles only two losses came on the road in Statesboro in 2003 and 1999. The Tribe dropped the back end of a doubleheader 2-1 in 2003 and loss 3-1 in 1999. The series between the two schools dates back to the 1991 season.
OFFENSIVELY SPEAKING . . .
Junior left fielder Natasha Jacob, an All-Southeast Region selection last year, has yet to miss a step thus far in the season. The native of Coppell, Texas, leads the offense with a .412 average that includes a team-best seven hits, two triples and 11 total bases. Furthermore, she’s slugging a team-high .647 at the No. 3 slot in the order. Jacob has walked a team-high four times and is 2-2 in stolen bases and attempts.
Freshman Whitney Buckmon has almost guaranteed herself a spot in the Seminole lineup after coming out on fire during the first week of competition. The speedy center fielder was moved to the leadoff spot and it has proved beneficial as she guides the Tribe with four stolen bases on the year. In 15 plate appearances, Buckmon has three runs, four hits, and three walks.
Senior shortstop Tatiana George, a four-year FSU starter, is batting a team-second-best .333 and has a team-high five RBIs this year. In fact, head coach Dr. JoAnne Graf was so impressed with George’s early success, she moved the Fontana, Calif., native, into the cleanup spot in the lineup in hopes of George bringing in more runs.
BIG D AND THE STAFF . . .
The Tribe has 10 errors this season and four of those blemishes proved fatal in all three losses Florida State has tallied this year.
Senior NFCA All-American pitcher Casey Hunter missed the first two games against Florida A&M because of an illness, but she came out last weekend at the Seminole Classic and posted a 1-2 record despite still recovering from the sickness. She has a 1.07 ERA, giving up 12 hits and three runs. However, Hunter has struck out an impressive 27 batters, double the amount of any other Seminole pitcher.
Freshman pitcher Tiffany McDonald was thrust into the spotlight in replace of Hunter last week, totaling a respectable 2-0 mark and a 1.11 ERA. McDonald gave up three runs and struck out 13. The one major improvement she will have to work on is allowing walks, as the Belfair, Wash., native has allowed 16 opponents to earn free trips on base.
LIVE STATS . . .
Live stats are not available for the Georgia Southern series.
COMING UP . . .
The Florida State Seminoles will host the Sunshine State tournament this weekend, Feb. 18-20, welcoming Syracuse, SE Louisiana and South Carolina. Full game notes, schedules and previews will be available right here on Thursday, Feb. 17.