May 7, 2005
SALT LAKE CITY – The Florida State softball team (33-24, 11-6 ACC) gave up seven hits, six runs, and logged an error in the fifth inning as the University of Utah (20-27, 6-12 Mountain West) defeated the Seminoles 8-5 Saturday afternoon at the Utes Softball Field. The teams were slated to compete in a doubleheader but rain delays and no field lights cancelled the second outing. Senior pitcher Casey Hunter took the loss for the Tribe and dropped to 19-15 on the season. Junior left fielder Natasha Jacob extended her hit streak to 18 games.
Florida State concluded its trip to Utah with a 1-2 record after splitting with Brigham Young University on Friday.
The Tribe now prepares for post-season play when it travels to College Park, Md., May 12-14 for the 14th Annual ACC Women’s Championship. FSU will face Virginia Tech (39-21, 4-13 ACC) in the opening round on Thursday (May 12) at approximately 1:30 p.m.
The Seminoles produced another solid fourth inning for the fifth straight game as they registered two solo home runs by Lesley Palmer and Brittany Osmon to left center field for the 2-0 advantage. Palmer homered for the 17th time in her career and Osmon recorded her first collegiate bomb.
Florida State has outscored opponents 10-0 in the fourth inning during the last five games.
The game outcome appeared optimistic for the Tribe until the fifth inning when the team gave up seven hits and six runs as Utah took a 7-2 gain heading into the sixth inning. The Utes batted around the order in the fifth inning and Texie Criddle and Jackie Wong got things started with back-to-back singles. Diana Phillips reached on a fielder’s choice to load up the bases before Ivette Hernandez singled for the first run (2-1). Quintero followed with an RBI single for the 2-2 tie before Hunter walked in Diana Phillips and the Utes took a 3-2 lead. Freshman Tiffany McDonald replaced Hunter in the circle and she immediately gave up an RBI single (4-2) and with two outs walked in Quintero for the 5-2 advantage. Criddle once again stepped up to the plate and hit an RBI single (6-2) before the final run was scored when Wong walked, scoring Lynsey Wall for the 7-2 gain.
Florida State tacked on two runs off of two hits and left three runners stranded in the top of the sixth inning. Gay singled to left field and freshman Whitney Buckmon replaced the catcher on base as the pinch runner. Jacob and Wootson tallied consecutive walks to load up the bases before George scored Buckmon when she reached on a walk. Palmer singled to center field and scored Jacob as Florida State inched within three runs to make the score 7-4.
Utah logged one more run in the bottom of the sixth inning and the Seminoles attempted to rally in the seventh when Hoffer led off with a walk. With one out, Gay reached on an error at shortstop and both Hoffer and Gay advanced on a throwing error committed by the Utes. The final run of the game was scored when Jacob plated a sacrifice fly to center field. With one runner on base, Wootson hit a deep shot to center field but it was caught as Utah prevailed, 8-5.
The Florida State/Utah doubleheader was slated to begin at 2:00 p.m. (EST) but got underway three hours later because of rain showers in the area. The teams played one game under light rain through the first two innings but the sun peeked through by the end of the contest. The Utah Softball Field does not support field lights; therefore, the schools were only able to fit in one game.
Senior pitcher Casey Hunter’s 299 strikeouts this season established a new career record for the NFCA All-American. Her previous high was 277 strikeouts during the 2004 campaign. She needs 45 more K’s to become the all-time Florida State strikeout queen. The current record is 899 held by former softball great Jessica van der Linden.
Natasha Jacob brings a team and personal-best 18-game hit streak into the ACC Championship.
The All-ACC first and second team, as well as Player, Pitcher and Coach of the Year honors will be announced on Wednesday at the ACC Championship Banquet.
The team will be available to the media on Monday and Tuesday for interviews before traveling to College Park, Md., on Wednesday.