April 28, 2005 - by
FSU Softball Looks To Extend Win Streak Against Troy and Florida

April 28, 2005

Complete Game Notes

:: Leading Off ::

Despite early struggles, Florida State softball (32-18, 11-6 ACC) has peaked when it matters most and has won of 12 of the last 14 games–including a season-long six straight–as eight regular season road contests remain on the calendar. The Seminoles are the first ACC team to wrap-up league play and they did it in style last weekend after sweeping Virginia. Florida State has four true road tests waiting the next couple weeks as a scrappy Troy squad and No. 16 Florida await FSU. The Seminoles face Troy in a doubleheader Sunday, May 1, at 1:00 and 3:00 p.m. before traveling to Gainesville Tuesday, May 3, for a make-up contest with the Gators (1:30/3:30 p.m.). Internet radio is available for all four outings. Troy’s 17-3 conference record gives them the A-Sun regular season championship outright. This is Troy’s first regular season championship since 1999 when the Trojans captured the A-Sun West title with a record of 13-3 in conference play. Troy is now 41-18 overall. Meanwhile, the Gators are ranked 16th in both national polls and currently own a 36-16 overall record. They will compete against SEC-foe LSU in a three game series Saturday and Sunday before taking on the Seminoles. For the Garnet & Gold, leftfielder Natasha Jacob continues to pace the squad with a .338 batting average and she is ranked sixth in the league. Furthermore, she is riding a team and personal season-best 11-game hit streak. The Seminoles are batting .250 as a team and holding opponents to a .200 mark. Freshman pitcher Tiffany McDonald is 14-5 overall with a 1.33 ERA, good enough to rank her No. 4 in the ACC. Meanwhile, ace Casey Hunter is 18-12 on the season with a 1.34 ERA and she is ranked No. 5 in the individual pitching category with McDonald. The staff combines for a 1.55 ERA, second in the ACC, and averages 8.15 strikeouts per game. Head Coach JoAnne Graf said all along that this season would be like running a marathon and not a sprint, therefore the Seminoles expect to be playing at their highest potential in the next coming weeks.

:: Scouting Troy ::

FSU leads the series 16-4-1 all time. Troy’s 17-3 conference record gives them the A-Sun regular season championship outright. This is Troy’s first regular season championship since 1999 when the Trojans captured the A-Sun West title with a record of 13-3 in conference play. Troy is now 41-18 overall. Three pitchers throw below a 2.00 ERA: Jocelyn McCallum (1.08), Laine Harcourt (1.18 ERA) and Kacie Flinn (1.46 ERA). Offensively, outfielder Jenny Boyd paces the offensive with a .388 batting average. The Trojans traveled to Tallahassee this season to compete in the Florida State Invitational but the Seminoles never faced them. The Seminoles have defeated Troy the last six times.

:: Scouting Florida ::

Florida State leads the series with Florida, 11-5. The Gators are currently ranked No. 16 in the country and are 36-16 on the season after being swept by Auburn this week. They will compete against SEC-foe LSU in a three game series Saturday and Sunday before taking on the Seminoles. The doubleheader is a make-up contest between the intrastate rivals as the contest was previously scheduled for April 7. Lindsey Cameron guides the offense with a .388 batting average and Mandy Schuerman or Stacey Stevens will most likely toss for the Gators. Schuerman is 10-5 with a 1.83 ERA and Stevens is 21-10 (2.25 ERA).

:: Buckmon Out of the Line-up ::

Freshman center fielder Whitney Buckmon is out of the line-up for the third week because she is suffering from mono. Buckmon is listed as day-to-day.

:: 11 And Counting . . . ::

Left fielder Natasha Jacob has tallied a hit in the last 11 straight games which is a season and personal best this year. The junior leadoff hitter is hitting a team-high .338 and she is ranked sixth in the league. During the last 11 outings, she has hit nearly .500 and scored 9-of-33 runs for the Seminoles. She has 10 more hits than the next person in line, LaShaun Davis (10), and she has a team-best 19 total bases. While all of these stats are outstanding, the most significant part of Jacob’s game is the fact that she can get on with the bases empty. With the bases empty, she gets on 60 percent of the time and as the leadoff hitter she singles 80 percent of the time. When compared on paper to other outfielders in the nation, her hitting and slugging percentage may not be as high as the other top players in the country. However, Jacob’s role is to get on early as the leadoff batter and there is no doubt she excels in that role.

:: Quiet Competitors ::

Right fielder LaShaun Davis and first baseman Brittany Osmon are two of the most underrated players on the Seminole squad this season, yet they play a very important role. Davis is neither flashy nor cocky but day in and day out she has got the job done on offense for the Seminoles. In fact, of the last six games FSU has won, Davis batted .357 and slugged almost .600! Furthermore her offensive performance has been powerful this season as she not only gets on with singles but consistently logs multi-base hits. As for Osmon, she and Jacob are the only two players to have started in every contest this year. Osmon has the highest fielding percentage of any infielder (.983) and has slugged almost .300 the last six outings.

:: Takin’ It For The Team ::

Kim Hoffer has finally found her place not only at shortstop but batting at the No. 2 spot. She now leads the team with 13 sacrifices and often bunts Jacob around the bases. While Hoffer is batting below .200, she does slug almost .300 and has found her averages rising the last two weeks. Meanwhile, catcher/designated hitter BillieAnne Gay is batting .224, slugging an incredible .345, and has 12 sacrifices this year. During the previous two years Gay logged 28 at bats and in one season alone has more than doubled that number.

:: FSU Player of the Week ::

Senior center fielder Tatiana George led Florida State to a perfect 5-0 record last week including a sweep against ACC opponent Virginia. The native of Fontana, Calif., hit .429 and slugged a healthy .714 percent. George went 6-for-14 at the plate and got on base .467 percent of the time. She led the team in RBIs with four and touched home a team-best six times. George enjoyed multi-game hits in two consecutive games against Florida A&M where she went 2-for-3 with two runs scored and an RBI on Monday in a 4-1 victory. On Wednesday, she was a perfect 2-for-2 and scored one run. With runners on base this week, George was 3-for-9 (.333) and 3-for-5 (.600) with the bases empty. Tatiana played her most dramatic game of the season on Senior Day at JoAnne Graf Field Sunday. Florida State defeated Virginia 3-2 for the sweep, and George had two RBIs in the victory including a solo shot in the seventh inning for the win. It was her team-high-tying fifth home run of the season and the 15th of her career. George, who moved from shortstop to center field nine games ago, fielded a perfect 1.000.

:: Casey Soon To Establish Career Best ::

With four straight victories in the circle under her belt, it seems as though senior NFCA All-American pitcher Casey Hunter (18-12) is coming on as of late. She needs to throw 42.2 more innings to pass her single season career best of 245.2 innings pitched that was registered in the 2004 campaign. She has thrown 827 strikeouts during her career and her all-time K’s hurled in one season was last year with 277. Hunter currently has 272 and needs to throw six more strikeouts to pass her previous record. In order to become the all-time career strikeout leader at Florida State, Hunter has to retire 72 more batters to pass up Jessica van der Linden who has 899 to her credit for first place and seven more to pass up Julie Larsen (834) for the next spot,

:: A Rookie No Longer ::

Tiffany McDonald has remained all season right where she started–on top. The freshman leads the Seminoles with a low 1.33 ERA and she is ranked No. 4 in individual pitching. Virginia Tech’s Angela Tincher (1.00), Georgia Tech’s Jessica Sallinger (1.22) and NC State’s Abbie Sims (1.30) are the only three people ahead of her. As a unit, Hunter and McDonald are ranked second in the league in teach pitching with a combine 1.55 ERA. Georgia Tech paces all squads with a 1.50 mark.

:: Palmer Cracks The Record Book ::

Senior third baseman Lesley Palmer inked her name in the ACC record book when she hit her 15th home run of her career last week. The native of Dale City, Va., ties current teammate Tatiana George for the 13th spot in the league. Also, Palmer is ranked second in the ACC with 12 doubles on the season. Virginia’s Sara Larquier has a conference-best 14.

:: Roll Out The Red Carpet ::

Fox Sports Net, which airs “The ACC Live” television show sent their crew to Tallahassee yesterday in order to visit with two special members of the softball program: Carly Brieske and Natasha Jacob. The crew was interested in the two because of the fact that they are stars outside of the chalk lines. Brieske and Jacob write a feature each week for Seminoles.com, the official website of Florida State athletics. Brieske has a section called “Carly’s Corner” where she sits down and conducts her own interviews with whomever she chooses, where as Jacob takes a personal look at the program by submitting a diary entry each week. It seems as though the two have really become a hit as fan mail pours in each week for the two players. Jenn Hillbreth, a reporter for the show, spent all day Wednesday visiting and taping the ladies. Stay tune for a date when the show will air . . .

:: Did You Know? ::

• In 2004, opponents scored only 40 runs against the Seminoles the entire year where as Florida State has already given up 252 runs to date!

• Gay, Carly Brieske, Jacob, Davis, Buckmon and Wood finished ACC play with a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage.

• The Seminoles committed 30 errors last year and have 71 to date this season.

• All four seniors in the class of 2005 will graduate this weekend.

Veronica Wootson has had four straight games with a hit.

Tatiana George is leading the team with a .433 slugging percentage despite batting a team-fourth .260.

• The Seminoles have been caught stealing 23 times this year!!!

• Seminole outfielder Natasha Jacob has an impressive 3.9 GPA and is awaiting ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America and All-District results.

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