May 12, 2006
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. –
It was only a matter of time before the Florida State University softball team starting putting all the pieces together. Fortunately for the Seminoles they’ve chosen to do it at just the right time. Fifth seeded FSU knocked off a higher seeded team for the second day in a row as it took down the top seed, and 23rd-ranked, North Carolina State, 6-0, on Friday (May 12).
The Seminoles now wait to find out who will be their next opponent. They will play the winner of the Georgia Tech-Virginia contest at 5:30 p.m. on Friday. FSU’s next game will be played at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday. All FSU needs to do is win one game on Saturday to advance to Sunday’s championship game.
Florida State improved to 40-25 as it posted its seventh win over a ranked team this year. The win also gave FSU its 24th 40-win season. NC State dropped to 45-18.
“This shows that we’re peaking at the right time,” FSU head coach Dr. JoAnne Graf said. “Our hitters have a lot of confidence right now. We’re seeing the ball well and we’re being more disciplined at the plate, which is a key to winning games.”
Getting her league-leading 27th victory of the season was sophomore Tiffany McDonald (Belfair, Wash.) as she improved to 27-15 with her fifth shutout of the season. The right-hander threw her ACC-best 33 complete game, scattering just three hits with 10 strikeouts and no walks. Taking the loss NC State starter Abbie Sims as she dropped to 22-12.
“It really helps Tiffany when we get ahead because it allows her to relax,” Graf added. “That allows her to go after batters and if she makes a mistake she feels comfortable enough to come back from it.”
McDonald’s performance moved her up on a four single-season lists. She moved up to third with her 49th appearance and is now fifth with 280.2 innings pitched. Her 284 strikeouts are also fifth and her 27 victories rates ninth.
“I didn’t change my approach from the last two games,” McDonald noted. “The difference was the team came through with some clutch hits and took the pressure off me. I was able to work the ball in and out and keep them off balance.”
The Seminoles struck for the first runs of the game in the third inning. Left fielder Natasha Jacob (Coppell, Texas) started the frame with a single, her 85th of the season as she broke a tie for sixth on the FSU single-season charts with Susan Buttery.
One out later, shortstop Yuruby Alicart (Maracay, Venezuela) stamped her named in the Seminole record books. With the wind blowing out, she lifted a fly ball to center field that just cleared the fence and gave FSU a 2-0 lead. It was her 11th home run of the season, breaking a tie with Brandi Stuart (2002) – who was in the stands – and Tiffany Daniels (1987) for the single-season record. She also drove in her 50 & 51st runs to up her to third in a season.
“It’s really an honor to have the record, it’s something that I never expected, but I’m really happy to have,” Alicart said. “There have been some great players at Florida State and I’m just proud to have my name along side them. I’ve been more comfortable at the plate lately and I’ve been able to adjust to the pitching.”
Florida State struck for another run in the fourth. Center fielder Carly Brieske (Safety Harbor, Fla.) led off with a double into the gap in right field. Third baseman Michelle Snyder (Wenatchee, Wash.) dropped down a perfectly executed sacrifice bunt to move Brieske to third. Right fielder LaShaun Davis (Marietta, Ga.) came through with a sacrifice fly to left field to score Brieske.
The Seminoles scored for the third inning in a row when they pushed one across in the fifth. Alicart drew a one-out walk then moved up to second on a wild pitch. Second baseman Veronica Wootson (Fontana, Calif.) followed with a triple to center field – her ninth of the season – to plate Alicart, but she was tagged out at third when she overran the base. The triple was the 18th of Wootson career, tying her for eighth in ACC history and fourth in Seminole lore, with former Seminole Kimmy Carter.
Two more runs in the sixth gave FSU a 6-0 lead. Brieske picked up her second lead off hit then came around to score her second run of the day on a triple by Davis. Davis scored herself on an infield single by Jacob.
For the third game in a row, and sixth out of the last seventh, Florida State collected double-digit hits withi an even ten. Four Seminoles had two hits with deuces wild for Alicart as she went 2-for-2 with two runs scored and two RBIs. Brieske also had two hits and scored two runs. Jacob was 2-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI while Wootson added two hits and Davis drove in a pair of runs.
Florida State has taken three of four games off Georgia Tech this year, including a 10-1 decision in the first round of the ACC Tournament. The Seminoles and Cavaliers split their only two games this year Charlottesville.