May 6, 2006
COLLEGE PARK, Md. –
Play a team you beat twice or one that you lost to twice? Those were the two scenarios for the Florida State University softball for next week’s Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament. The Seminoles will get the former as they beat Maryland 4-1 in the second game of Saturday’s (May 6) doubleheader.
Florida State clinched the fifth seed in next week’s ACC Tournament – and will take on No. 4 Georgia Tech at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday (May 11) – as it improved to 9-10 in the league, 37-25 overall. Maryland fell to 32-24, 8-11 in the league.
“It was a disappointing loss in the first game so I didn’t know how they would respond,” FSU head coach Dr. JoAnne Graf said. “We came out with a little more intensity, a little more heart and took it to them the whole seven innings.
“For Kayla to throw five good innings is about what we expect of her. She did a great job. She threw five solid innings and held them to only one run.”
Getting her second victory in a row was freshman starter Kayla Collins (Niceville, Fla.) as she improved to 6-4 overall. The right-hander gave up one run while scattering five hits with two strikeouts and four walks. Sophomore Tiffany McDonald (Belfair, Wash.) pitched the final 1.2 innings to get her third save as she tied Marla Looper and Leslie Malerich for the single-season school record. Taking the loss was Maryland starter Meredith Nelles as she dropped to 9-9.
“My goal was to just keep them off base and I knew the defense and offense would back me up,” Collins noted. “We tried to keep the ball down because with as strong as the wind was today pop ups were going to the wall so we just tried to keep it down.”
Just like the first game of the doubleheader, the Seminoles got off to a hot start with a trio of runs in the first inning. Left fielder Natasha Jacob (Coppell, Texas) led off with a single and stole second. It was the 65th of her career, tying her with Lauren Schwartz of Georgia Tech and Virginia’s Heather Field for 10th in ACC history.
A sacrifice moved her to third then Jacob scored on double by shortstop Yuruby Alicart (Maracay, Venezuela). It was her 17th double of the season, setting a new single-season school record. It was also her 47th RBI, moving her into a tie with Leslie Barton for fourth. Alicart scored herself on the 17th triple of Veronica Wootson’s (Fontana, Calif.) career, tying her with former Seminoles Lisa Davidson, Brandi Stuart and Jessica van der Linden for ninth in ACC history and fifth in FSU lore.
The Terrapins answered with a run of their own in the bottom half of the first, but Florida State regained its three-run advantage in the third. Wootson led off with a single and catcher Melissa Wood (Lilburn, Ga.) followed with a walk. First baseman Brittany Osmon (San Diego, Calif.) dropped down a sacrifice bunt and a wild pitch by Maryland reliever Abbey Welch scored Wootson.
Jacob matched her game one performance, going 3-for-4 with a run scored. On the day she collected six hits to move into seventh in ACC history – fifth in Seminole lore – with 256 career hits. Wootson went 2-for-4 with two runs scored to slide her into seventh in school history at 131 runs.
“It’s exciting, there have been some great players in this league and I’m honored to be among them,” Jacob said. “I saw the ball really well today and I just tried to relax and do what I could to help the team.”
The two teams wrap up the three-game series Sunday (May 7) with a single game at 1 p.m.