Feb. 15, 2004
Tallahassee, FL –
For the first time since March 8, 2003 a Seminole hurler threw a no-hitter as junior Casey Hunter (4-0) held Southern Mississippi (1-3) without a base hit in FSU’s (7-0) 5-1 win. The no-no was the second ever for Hunter who last threw one versus Florida A&M in 2003. The right-hander also set a new season high for strikeouts with 11. The win was the seventh straight to open the season for FSU as they tied the fifth best mark in school history and the Seminoles have now won 31 straight regular season games.
“I would be more excited if I hadn’t allowed a run,” said Hunter after the ho-hitter. “I am glad I could help the team win. I think I am getting off to rough starts because it is just in my head. After the first I am fine, I’m not doing anything different. I have to figure it out.”
Hunter’s struggles in the first inning continued Sunday versus the Golden Eagles. Coming into the USM game, all five runs Hunter had allowed came in the first frame and the Illinois native had allowed a run in the first in each of her previous three starts. Southern Miss attempted to keep that streak alive as they put runners on second and third with just one out in the first inning. A play at the plate accounted for the second out of the inning but Hunter then uncorked a wild pitch that allowed a USM run to score and the runner on first to move all the way to third base. The Eagles left the runner standing just 60′ from home though when Hunter recorded her first strikeout of the game to end the threat.
The Seminoles looked to even the game as leadoff hitter LaShaun Davis opened the game with a walk. Davis was moved to second on a Tatiana George sacrifice bunt. Tallahassee native and Southern Miss pitcher Jessica Saunier (0-1) got All-American Jessica van der Linden swinging but the catcher dropped the pitch moving Davis to third. After a walk to Lesley Palmer, Saunier loaded the bases on her third free pass of the inning. The Seminoles were unable to capitalize though as Veronica Wootson’s deep shot to left field was hauled in for the third out.
Just as she has done in her first four starts, Hunter settled down once she made it through the first. The right-hander retired the side in order in the second as she struck out her fourth straight batter. Saunier then started the second just like she started the first. The freshman walked Carly Brieske for her fourth free pass of the game but she once again got out of the inning with her 1-0 lead in tact.
In the third, Hunter retired her fifth straight batter before a throwing error allowed Ashley Brennan to reach and advance to second. A dropped tag at third on a steal attempt put USM’s second run just 60′ from home. Hunter closed down the scoring threat though with her fifth and sixth K’s of the game.
Saunier started the third in a familiar fashion as she walked the leadoff batter for the third straight time. This time FSU made her pay. USA Softball Player of the Year candidate van der Linden yanked a 2-1 pitch down the right field line and over the fence for a two-run homer. It was just the second round tripper of the All-American’s career. After getting the first out of the frame, Wootson and Vasquez recorded back-to-back singles as FSU looked to pad its lead. A fielder’s choice out and a caught stealing at third ended the inning.
The Tribe’s fourth error of the game put USM in position to even the score as leadoff hitter Charity Butler reached second on a poor throw to first and then advanced to third on a ground out. Hunter came through and bailed her defense out as she got the next two batters to end the top of the fifth.
Florida State led off the fifth with another Saunier walk. It was the fifth straight inning a Seminole leadoff batter reached safely and the fourth time via a free pass. The freshman’s seventh walk put runners on first and second with nobody out. After the former Lincoln High School hurler was pulled from the game, Jessica Holaway allowed a sac bunt by Vasquez to move both runners up a base. Holaway got the second out but she gave up an RBI single to Brieske to move FSU in front 3-1. The RBI was the sixth in just seven games for the sophomore who recorded 10 RBIs all of last year.
Van der Linden continued her big day in the sixth as she brought home Tatiana George from second on a two-out single. It was her second hit of the game and third RBI to go along with a walk. After a Lesley Palmer single, Vasquez moved to 2-for-2 on the day and added an RBI to boot as Hunter looked to close out the game with a 5-1 lead.
Hunter closed out the no-no retiring Southern Miss in order in the seventh. It was the third inning that the junior set down the Golden Eagles 1-2-3.
After wrapping up today’s doubleheader, the Seminoles return to action Tuesday afternoon as they welcome in Georgia Southern for a mid-week doubleheader. Prior to the 4:00 pm game Seminole head coach Dr. JoAnne Graf will be honored for recording her 1000th fast pitch win. There is no admission charge for regular season games at the Seminole Softball Complex. For more information on the 2004 Seminole softball team, please log on to the official athletic website for FSU at www.seminoles.com.