Feb. 24, 2006
COLUMBUS, Ga. –
Rarely is a loss a cause for optimism, but when it’s a close game against the number two team in the country, especially after a tough loss earlier in the day, sometimes a moral victory is as good as the real thing. That’s what the Florida State University softball team got Friday night (Feb. 24) as it hung in for a 1-0 loss to Tennessee.
Florida State dropped its second game of the tournament, and third in a row, as its record fell to 8-5 on the season. UT improved to 10-0. Despite giving up just the one run, pitcher Tiffany McDonald (Belfair, Wash.) took the loss as her ledger dropped to 6-2. Monica Abbott came on in relief to get the victory as her record improved to 7-0.
“I like the way we bounced back in the second game against Tennessee,” Florida State head coach Dr. JoAnne Graf said. “Abbott is one of the top two or three pitchers in the country and we came out aggressive against her. The numbers might not show it, but we were much better offensively in the second game and that gives us something to build on for tomorrow.”
The Lady Vols manufactured their only run of the game in the third inning. Katherine Card led off with a single then advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt. A double by India Chiles plated Card with the eventual winning run.
Tennessee only had one other scoring opportunity in the game as McDonald almost single-handedly kept Florida State in the game. The sophomore righty gave up just the one run on four hits with two strikeouts against a team that was hitting .385 coming into the tournament.
“Even though she got the loss I thought Tiffany pitched outstanding,” Graf added. “She was hitting her spots and consistently throwing as hard as she has thrown in some time. She kept us in the game and we just couldn’t get her any run support.”
Florida State got its first hit in fourth inning when first baseman Kim Hoffer (Houston, Texas) drilled a singled down the left field line. Carly Brieske (Safety Harbor, Fla.) followed with a walk to put two runners on but Abbott came on and got Yuruby Alicart (Maracay, Venezuela) to go down looking to end the inning.
The Seminole best chance to score a run came in the top of the sixth inning. Center fielder Whitney Buckmon (Stone Mountain, Ga.) started the frame with an infield bunt single. She moved up to second on a stolen base but neither Hoffer nor Veronica Wootson (Fontana, Calif.) could drive her in.
Unfortunately, the 36-game on-base streak ended for left fielder Natasha Jacob (Coppell, Texas) ended as she struck out twice and grounded out.
The NFCA Classic continues on Saturday (Feb. 25) as the Seminoles take on No. 22 Iowa at 12:30 p.m. Following that game FSU will start bracket play at either 4 or 7 p.m.