April 12, 2006
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –
Last week it was reinforced to the Florida State softball team that it has to show up every time it plays crosstown rival Florida A&M. The Seminoles made sure there wasn’t a repeat of last week’s outcome as they quickly rebounded from an early deficit to beat the Lady Rattlers 9-3 on Wednesday (April 12).
With the victory, Florida State improved to 31-19 on the year. Florida A&M dropped to 33-22.
Getting her 20th victory of the season, and moving her up to fifth in the nation, was sophomore Tiffany McDonald (Belfair, Wash.) as she improved to 20-11. The righty threw her ACC-leading 24th complete game of the year, giving up just three runs, two earned, on five hits with six strikeouts and three walks. FAMU starter Tiffany Johnson took the loss, lowering her record to 15-4.
“Florida A&M came out ready tonight and scored three runs in the first two innings, but I was pleased with how we answered,” FSU head coach Dr. JoAnne Graf said. “We scored in all but one inning so I’m pleased with how the bats came around.”
Picking up where they left off last week, the Lady Rattlers scored a pair of runs in the top of the first. The Seminoles answered with a run in their half of the inning when left fielder Natasha Jacob (Coppell, Texas) scored from third on a Veronica Wootson’s (Fontana, Calif.) double. Jacob started the frame with a single, then stole her 16th base of the season before coming around to score.
Florida A&M pushed the lead back to two in the second when Kelly Gordon led off the inning with a solo home run. Getting the Seminoles back within a run was Jacob as she lifted a sacrifice fly to left field to score center fielder Carly Brieske (Safety Harbor, Fla.).
The Seminoles took their first lead of the day in the third when they tacked on a pair of runs and chased Johnson out of the game. Shortstop Yuruby Alicart (Maracay, Venezuela) blasted a solo home run over the left field wall to lead off the third and tie the game. The dinger was her ninth of the season, leaving her one short of the single-season record set by Tiffany Daniels (1987) and Brandi Stuart (2002).
Wootson followed with her second double of the day, tying a career-high. She came around to give Florida State the lead on an RBI single by catcher Melissa Wood (Lilburn, Ga.).
The four runs would be more than enough for McDonald as the more the game wore on, she only got better. After surrendering the home run to Gordon in second inning, she retired 20 of the last 23 batters she faced.
Back-to-back singles by designated player Whitney Buckmon (Stone Mountain, Ga.) and Alicart, plus a wild pitch, put runners on second and third. Wootson drove in her second run of the day as her infield single plated Buckmon and Alicart came around to score on a throwing error by relief pitcher Danielle Brown on the play.
Florida State tacked on a trio of runs in the bottom of the sixth to dampen the Lady Rattlers’ hopes of a comeback. Alicart started the frame with a walk then Wootson followed with a single. Bringing in the first run was a ground out by first baseman Brittany Osmon (San Diego, Calif.). Wood scored Wootson on a single then came around to score herself on an error following Michelle Snyder’s (Wenatchee, Wash.) single.
Every hitter in the starting line up got at least hit with Wootson leading the way as she tied a career-high with four hits while scoring two and driving in two more. Alicart scored all three times she reached base with a pair of hits and a walk. Wood added a pair of hits and tied Wootson for the team lead at two RBIs.
“Yuruby has taken some of the pressure off Veronica and it has given her some better pitches to hit,” Graf noted about Wootson. She’s done a great job lately and the thing she has improved on is pitch selection and that has been critical.”
The Seminoles return to conference action this weekend when they play host to North Carolina State. The three-game set starts Saturday (April 15) with a 12 p.m. doubleheader.