May 22, 2005
AUBURN, Ala. – After throwing two successful shutouts over No. 18 Auburn, it is safe to assume that Florida State pitcher Casey Hunter’s career did not end as she would hope. The senior native of Millstadt, Ill., gave up nine hits and retired just three Lady Bear batter as Florida State fell to No. 10 Baylor, 5-3, Sunday afternoon.
“The girls played with a lot of heart today,” said Seminole head coach Dr. JoAnne Graf. “Baylor is a good team and I think they will represent our region well. Casey (Hunter) came to our pitching coach and said she wanted to throw today. During her entire career she has played with passion and determination but we just came up short this afternoon.”
Hunter started her fourth straight contest and concluded the season with a 21-17 record and 1.70 ERA. While her day did not go as planned, Hunter will forever be remembered in the Florida State annals. Her 893 career strikeouts rank second on the all-time FSU list and she fell just six K’s short of tying the record of 899 held by Jessica van der Linden.
Florida State ends the 2005 season with a 35-28 overall record. It is the least number of victories for a Seminole team in the fast-pitch era. Baylor advances to the Super Regionals of the NCAA Division I Softball Championship with a 50-12 record. Lisa Ferguson took the win and improved to 19-5 overall.
Florida State left fielder Natasha Jacob extended her hit streak to 24 games and will take that record into her 2006 senior season with a hit in the third inning. Kim Hoffer, Melissa Wood, and Whitney Buckmon notched one base hit a piece.
Baylor got off to a quick start in the bottom of the first inning as designated player Tessa Lynam hit a solo shot to left field that went sailing over the fence for the 1-0 lead. The Seminoles responded in the top of the second inning when Wood got things started with a leadoff single up the right field line and she was replaced by pinch runner Carey Galuppi. Tatiana George was hit by a pitch which advanced Galuppi to second base and LaShaun Davis loaded up the bases on a fielder’s choice. During the next at bat, first baseman Brittany Osmon hit a blooper to left field and Lady Bear Kylie Conroy misjudged the ball, scoring Galuppi with ease as the ball rolled to the fence. Graf sent George from second all the way to home, but she was easily out at the plate when Conroy whizzed the ball from outfield as the Tribe managed just one run in the inning to tie the game up 1-1.
Baylor tacked on three runs off of three hits and an error in the bottom of the second to own a comfortable 4-1 lead. April Luce walked and Melissa Huffhines reached on a fielding error when Hunter overthrew first base. With two players on, Conroy doubled to center field, scoring Luce, and advancing Jordan Daniels to third. The final two runs were earned when Chelsi Lake recorded a two-run single.
The game was quiet in the third and fourth innings until Baylor added another run in the bottom of the fifth to take a 5-1 advantage. Lynam and Stephanie Pomes reached first and second on back-to-back walks before Kim Wilmoth smashed a RBI single to score Pomes for the 5-1 gain.
Hoffer got on base with a walk in the top of the sixth inning and eventually landed up on third base when Davis sent a slow roller to the pitcher that scored Hoffer as the Seminoles inched within three runs, 5-2. Florida State added another run in the seventh inning when the bases were loaded with pinch runner Carly Brieske, Buckmon, and Jacob on before Hoffer slammed a deep fly ball to left field and scored Brieske on the sacrifice (5-3). However, the Seminoles’ season came to an end with runners on first and second as Wootson hit into a double play as Baylor prevailed, 5-3.
Florida State ends the 2005 season with a 35-28 record. It is the least number of victories for a Florida State team in the fast-pitch era. The last time FSU had less than 35 wins was during the 1979 campaign (slow pitch) where the Seminoles finished 23-13. Furthermore, Florida State has never loss 28 games in one season. The previous high was 27 during the 2000 season where the Tribe finished 50-27.
Left fielder Natasha Jacob takes a program-best 24-game hit streak into her 2006 senior season.
Cross-town foe and Auburn Regional contender Florida A&M stayed an extra day in Auburn to cheer on the Seminoles from the stands.
Pitcher Casey Hunter ends her career with an outstanding 85-27 record. She had more losses in 2005 (17) than in her previous three years combined. She was 4-0 her freshman year, 27-6 sophomore season, and 33-4 last year.
Hunter’s 338 K’s this season is the second-most ever in a single season for the Tribe. Jessica van der Linden hurled 387 strikeouts last year.
Hunter ends her career second on the all-time strikeout list with 893 to her credit. Also, her 758 career innings ranks third all-time for the Seminoles.
It is the first time Florida State did not reach 40 wins since 1999.