Feb. 12, 2005
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Friday and Saturday were almost identical for the No. 10 Florida State softball team.
The Seminoles defeated Nicholls State with ease only to give up two games to Missouri at the hands of late inning errors that proved costly.
“We started the first and second game pretty well,” head coach Dr. JoAnne Graf said, “but I felt like we kind of let it get away from us. The pitchers were throwing way too many walks and we have to really cut down on all the walks we’re throwing. Defensively today, we just made too many mistakes again.”
Florida State (3-3) defeated Nicholls State (0-4) in the first morning game at the Seminole Softball Complex, winning 7-3. The team then turned around and faced the Tigers (4-0), dropping the second game 6-3 behind two errors to close out the weekend.
“There are a lot of things we have to work on,” senior shortstop Tatiana George, who has a team-leading five RBIs this season, said. “We are a young team and it’s early in the season, so that’s the good thing. We still have time to readjust and get everything in order before the season prolongs. We know what to do and it’s time to step up and meet our challenges.”
The Seminoles, who were 90-6 all time at the Seminole Classic before this weekend, struggled both offensively and defensively according to Graf, so she switched the batting order against the Tigers in hopes of providing a spark. She inserted speedy freshman Whitney Buckmon at the leadoff spot, followed by junior Natasha Jacob, and sophomore Veronica Wootson hit third. Clean-up duties were handed over to George and senior third baseman Lesley Palmer batted at the fifth slot.
“I like the lineup because it gives us a lot of speed at the top,” Graf said. “Veronica Wootson is in a major slump right now and she has to come out of that because she’s hurting us a little bit. She’s an All-American and I think she’ll come out of it. As soon as we get some hits, we’ll score some runs and the rest will work out.
“It’s that time of the year that you don’t get to practice as much as you’d like to. We’ll travel to Georgia Southern on Tuesday and then have a couples days to prepare for the tournament next weekend. It’s tough, but it’s also something we expect to happen each year.”
The University of Missouri won the Seminole Classic after posting a perfect 4-0 record during the tournament.
Florida State 7, Nicholls State 3
Seven different Tribe members mustered a hit against the Colonels and Natasha Jacob’s three-run triple in the top of the third inning, combined with FSU’s solo run in the first, gave the Seminoles a comfortable 4-0 advantage early on. Florida State registered a hard-earned third inning as a total of six runs were scored. Along with Jacob’s three RBIs, Veronica Wootson contributed a sacrifice fly before the Tribe’s Lesley Palmer and Melissa Wood hit back-to-back doubles. Wood’s double scored Palmer and then two batters later freshman Brittany Osmon had a RBI double that scored pinch runner Robyn Petrovich, and Florida State opened the game with a 7-0 lead.
Whitney Buckmon tallied the initial points of the game in the first inning after reaching base on a bunt single and then advancing to second, stealing third, and scoring on an error by the third baseman.
Senior pitcher Casey Hunter (1-2) was credited with the win after using her arm for six innings, striking out nine and allowing just three hits.
Nicholls State earned two runs in the bottom of the third inning when the shortstop, Lindsey Yelverton, doubled and two runners scored. The Colonels only other run came in the bottom of the fifth on a RBI double from Kathryn Harrell.
Florida State was held scoreless in the final four innings.
Buckmon went 1-for-2 with two runs, a walk, and two stolen bases, while Jacob had a 1-for-3 day at the plate with three RBIs and a walk.
Missouri 6, Florida State 3
Up 3-1 entering the top of the third inning, Florida State allowed Missouri to come-from-behind for the second straight day and defeat FSU at the Seminole Softball Complex. Freshman pitcher Tiffany McDonald (2-0) threw three innings before Casey Hunter (1-2) fired away for the remaining four. The two combined for four hits, two earned runs, and eight strikeouts.
Whitney Buckmon tallied an all-around impressive performance consisting of one hit, RBI, run, sacrifice fly, and stolen base on the day. Lesley Palmer led the offensive attack with a 2-for-4 showing at the plate that included a triple and an RBI.
FSU scored first in the opening inning when Buckmon reached base on a single and stole second before advancing to third on a wild pitch. Tatiana George brought in Buckmon on a sacrifice fly to center field. The final run was earned when Palmer blasted a double to left center and allowed Jacob, who had reached base on a fielder’s error, to score for the 2-0 lead.
Down two runs entering the top of the second inning, Missouri’s catcher Kathy Masterson cut Florida State’s lead in half with her two-out run. Standing on second base after having taken first on a fielder’s choice and forced to second after FSU pitcher Hunter walked Sarah Stringer, Masterson rounded third and ran home on an error by a Seminole infielder.
FSU scored its third and final run of the game in the bottom of the second inning when Buckmon had a sacrifice fly to left field and scored Brittany Osmon. The Tribe was held to only one hit for the remainder of the game.
Florida State will travel to Georgia Southern for a doubleheader on Tuesday, Feb. 15, beginning at 1:00 p.m.