April 21, 2006
Florida State at Virginia Tech
Fri-Sat., April 21-22 4 p.m. /12 p.m. (DH) Blacksburg, Va.
Tech Softball Park (500)
Florida State (33-22, 7-7 ACC)
Virginia Tech (31-13, 8-6 ACC)
Base Hits (What You Need To Know):
After splitting its final home doubleheader of the year against Troy on Tueday, the Florida State University softball team will play its final eight regular season games on the road, where it holds a 3-3 record.
This weekend’s games against Virginia Tech will mark the first time the Seminoles have traveled to Blacksburg, Va. The Hokies joined the ACC last season and the first meeting was in Tallahassee, where FSU won all three games.
Virginia Tech picked up its first victory over the Seminoles during the first round of the ACC Tournament as it preaviled 3-2 in 14 innings.
Playing in her last home games, left fielder Natasha Jacob (Coppell, Texas) picked up three hits in each contest of the Troy doubleheader to up her average to a team-best .379.
Sophomore pitcher Tiffany McDonald (Belfair, Wash.) ranks second in the country in appearances (40) and innings pitched (232.2). Despite having the third-best ERA in conference games (1.26), she only has a 5-4 record in the league as FSU has scored just two runs in her last three ACC outings.
Seminoles Take To The Road For Remainder of `06 Schedule
Unless it gets a bid to host the first round of the NCAA Tournament, the Florida State University softball team has played its final home games of the season. The Seminoles (33-22 overall, 7-7 ACC) end the regular season with an eight-game road trip, starting Friday (April 21) in Blacksburg, Va., as they take on Virginia Tech (31-13, 8-6) in a three-game series. The two teams will open with a 4 p.m. contest on Friday, followed by a 12 p.m. doubleheader Saturday. Virginia Tech is a game ahead of the Seminoles in fourth place in the ACC standings.
Florida State Makes Inaugural Appearance In Blacksburg
After the Seminoles greeted Virginia Tech into the league with a three-game sweep last season, they return the favor with their first trip to Blacksburg. Florida State outscored the Hokies 12-6, but got some help from the VT defense as Hokie errors led to the winning run in all three regular season games. Virginia Tech outlasted the Seminoles in the first round of the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament, winning 3-2 in 14 innings. The Hokies went on to lose in the championship game to Georgia Tech, 1-0.
Teams Not Rolling Out The Red Carpet For Florida State
Hosting Florida State for the first time has been a less than pleasurable experience for teams in the conference. In making its first trip to a conference school, the Seminoles have won four of the five first meetings, with the lone blemish being a 1-0 loss at North Carolina in 1992. Most recently, Florida State took its first game in Raleigh, N.C., as it beat NC State 5-2. The Seminoles split their first series in Virginia (1994) and NC State, while sweeping Georgia Tech (1993) and Maryland (1996).
Troy Takes Game Two To Spoil Senior Day
Seventh-inning heroics in game one of Tuesday’s doubleheader with Troy set the table for a great Senior Day, but the Trojans has something else in mind. Designated player Whitney Buckmon (Stone Mountain, Ga.) drove in LaShaun Davis (Marietta, Ga.) on a close play at the plate for the winning run in the bottom of the seventh of game one. Troy picked up three runs in the third inning of game two off starter Kayla Collins (Niceville, Fla.) had never looked back as it prevailed 4-2 in the nightcap.
McDonald Has Been Super As A Sophomore
The performance of pitcher Tiffany McDonald is right up there with some of the best sophomore hurlers in school history. Already she has made it onto the school’s single-season charts with her 40 appearance (T9th), and 241 strikeouts (10th). The right-hander is second in the country for both appearances and innings (232.2) while rating in the top ten in wins. On track for at least six more starters, including the first round of the ACC Tournament, McDonald is on pace to throw 289 strikeouts, which would break Casey Hunter’s sophomore record of 277.
She Must Have Gone To Finishing School Cause She Can Set The Table
Think that leadoff hitter Natasha Jacob doesn’t have a big impact on the Seminoles’ success out of the leadoff spot? Think again. Florida State has a 22 percent better chance of winning the game when the All-America candidate gets on base in the first inning. Florida State is 18-7 this year reaches first base during her first at-bat, compared to 15-15 when she does not. Anytime Jacob leads off an inning, the first or otherwise, she reaches base 48 percent (43-of-89) of the time. Of the players with 20 or more leadoff at-bats, only LaShaun Davis has a better percentage of reaching base (.577) but she has 43 less chances. Need further proof of Jacob’s influence? Florida State is just 3-7 when she doesn’t reach base at all and 7-5 in the 12 games where she hasn’t gotten a hit.
A Little Moe Hitting
Through the first 34 games, sophomore Melissa Wood (Lilburn, Ga.) and senior BillieAnne Gay (Tallahassee, Fla.) had been splitting the duties behind the plate. After Gay sustained a hand injury against Cal State Northridge, all the responsibilities fell on Wood and she has more than stepped up to the challenge. During the 21 games Gay has missed, Wood is hitting .367, which ranks fifth on the team, and has seen her average increase 83 points to its current mark of .295. Wood has been on a tear during conference play, rating fourth in the league with a .432 average. Versus the conference, she rates in the top ten for on-base percentage (3rd – .523), slugging percentage (5th – .67), hits (5th -16), doubles (7th – 3), total bases (7th – 25 ) and RBI (8th -9). Wood has also been solid defensively, throwing out 35 percent of would be runners compared to just 16% before.
See You At Third
Triples by Yuruby Alicart (Maracay, Venezuela) and Veronica Wootson (Fontana, Calif) increased Florida State’s national lead to 22 triples this season. Wootson is the ACC leader with seven triples and rates second in the NCAA standings. The 22 triples are the 12th most in school history and marked the fifth time in six seasons Florida State recorded at least 20 triples.
Alicart Ties Doubles Record, Poised For Home Run Mark
With her leadoff double in the third inning Tuesday against Troy, shortstop Yuruby Alicart picked up her 16th two-bagger of the year, tying the school record set by Cindy Lawton in 1995. The junior transfer is stuck on nine home runs, needing just one more to tie the mark set by Tiffany Daniels (1987) and Brandi Stuart (2002). Alicart is alone in tenth place with her 43 RBIs this year, needing two more to tie Kristy Hull (1996) and Stuart (2002) for eighth.
More Chart Watching, This Time The Career Version
Senior Day for Natasha Jacob will go down as one of the best as she went 6-for-8 in the doubleheader to move her up on a few career lists. The six hits moved the left fielder into a tie with Susan Buttery for sixth in school history at 245, while she is one back of Virginia’s Sara Larquier for tenth in ACC lore. Jacob stole a pair of bases against the Trojans, moving her three short of Lauren Schwartz (Georgia Tech) and Heater Field (Virginia) for the No. 10 spot on the ACC list and passing Tiffany Daniels for seventh on the FSU charts.
Ground Rule Double (News & Notes):
Junior Veronica Wootson moved into a tie with current graduate manager Tatiana George for fourth on the Seminole career charts when she belted her 17th career dinger against Troy…The RBI single by Whitney Buckmon was her second game winning hit in FSU’s final at bat. She drove in Natasha Jacob in the ninth to beat Connecticut 5-4 on March 10…Until Tuesday’s first game with Troy, right fielder LaShaun Davis hadn’t scored the winning run since crossing the plate with the second run at Jacksonville on February 22… The Seminoles have not committed an error in their last three games, their longest miscue-free streak of the season and their best stretch since the early part of 2005. Florida State has only committed more than one error once during its last 11 games…The Seminoles were rated 25th in the first RPI ranking released by the NFCA on April 15. FSU was third in the league behind North Carolina (14) and Virginia Tech (23), but does have the hardest schedule in the league with a national ranking of 13.