May 18, 2005
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As a surprise to many people, including Florida State head coach Dr. JoAnne Graf, the Seminoles were awarded a bid to the Auburn Regional of the NCAA Division I Softball Championship for the sixth straight season and 18th time in the program’s history on Sunday, May 15.
The Tribe, a squad that has lost eight of the last nine outings, enters the NCAA Tournament with a 33-26 overall record and will face host Auburn in the first round.
“I was a little bit surprised,” Graf said. “Once I saw North Carolina and Bethune-Cookman get in, though, I thought we had a better chance of getting in. Before those teams were picked, though, I just didn’t think our chances were good. I think our strength of schedule helped us.”
The Seminoles and Tigers (49-16) will battle in the double-elimination regional bracket beginning at 6:00 p.m. (ET) on Friday, May 20, followed by a match-up with No. 15 Baylor (47-12) and Florida A&M at 8:30 p.m. (37-31). Under the new NCAA softball format, four teams will participate at each of 16 regional sites in a double-elimination tournament. The regional winners will advance to super regional competition for a best-of-three series May 27-28 (Memorial Day Weekend) at eight campus sites.
Florida State is paced by All-ACC first team member Natasha Jacob who leads the team with a .348 batting average, .417 slugging percentage, and a 20-game hit streak. Jacob is also the team leader in total hits (65), total bases (78), stolen bases (14), and tied for triples with four on the season. Just last week, the junior left fielder from Coppell, Texas, was selected to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District III First Team and will compete for Academic All-America honors.
Pitcher Casey Hunter needs 26 more K’s to become FSU’s all-time strikeout leader. Hunter (19-16) has a team-low 1.63 ERA and was selected All-ACC second team as well as freshman catcher Melissa Wood (.259). Freshman pitcher Tiffany McDonald (14-9, 1.66 ERA) was named ACC Co-Freshman of the Year at the annual league banquet last weekend. Shortstop Kim Hoffer is No. 15 in the nation in sacrifices per game (0.33).
Jacob Honored By ESPN The Magazine For Academics
There are so many accomplishments by left fielder Natasha Jacob this season but none was more important than being selected to the ESPN The Magazine District III first team for academic accomplishments this year. The native of Coppell, Texas, has a 3.94 GPA, which is the second highest for any member of District III. She will now await word on whether she earns ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American accolades that are scheduled to be announced June 2.
And The Streak Continues
Jacob has tallied a hit in the last 20 straight games which is a program, team, and personal best. The junior leadoff hitter is hitting a team-high .348 batting average and she is ranked fourth in the league. The league recognized her season accomplishments last weekend by naming her to the All-ACC first team. Jacob had nothing short of a spectacular junior campaign as she led the Seminoles in offense the entire season. She finished the regular season ranked sixth in the league in batting average (.350), hits (62), total bases (75), steals (13) and on base percentage (.440). Jacob was a finalist for the 2005 ACC Player of the Year award. This was the second straight year that she was named All-ACC.
Hunter Knows Post-Season Play
When it comes to the NCAA Tournament, Hunter usually puts forth her best effort. The senior NFCA All-American pitcher has made four-straight NCAA Championship appearances but she really set the tone for FSU last season when the then junior hurler recorded her fourth no hitter of the year and fifth of her career in just her second-ever NCAA Tournament start. She no-hit NEC Champion Long Island for FSU’s ninth noo hitter of the 2004 season. It was the first no-no for Hunter in a post-season game.
Hunter Nears Major Accomplishment
People close to the FSU program know that Hunter is one of the all-time Seminole greats in the circle and she will set out this weekend unconsciously seeking one more milestone. The native of Millstadt, Ill., needs 26 more strikeouts to surpass the 2005 National Player of the Year and former Seminole, Jessica van der Linden’s, Florida State record of 899 career strikeouts. If she reaches 900 Ks, she will be just the 30th pitcher in NCAA history to reach that mark.
Kim Hoffer is the only Seminole ranked nationally in the NCAA, but unfortunately, it is a not-so-glamorous–although important–statistic. The junior shortstop is ranked No. 15 in the nation with 0.33 sacrifice hits per game. In fact, as a 2-hole hitter she excels and slugs .330 batting second.
What `Moe’ Can You Do?
It seems as though Graf & Company keep bringing in some pretty spectacular freshmen and this year was no different. Freshman catcher Melissa “Moe” Wood is clearly the leader of the group and she has gotten off to a pretty good start to her career when it comes to driving in runs. Her team-leading 24 RBIs ranks her sixth all-time among freshman and her teammate Veronica Wootson is tied for second. Furthermore, Wootson holds the freshman home run record of eight bombs and Wood is sneaking up with six to her credit. In fact, Wood is tied with Tatiana George with the most home runs on the team this season.
The one statistic Florida State can be proud of this season is the ability to go the distance. In fact, the Seminoles’ 24 home runs on the year ranks third all-time! George and Wood are the leaders of the group and combine for half of all home runs recorded.
All-Time Home Runs:
Coaches Corner: 1300!
It took 27.5 years, but FSU Head Softball Coach Dr. JoAnne Graf achieved what no softball coach has done by winning her 1,300th career victory against Virginia Tech on Sunday, April 3, 2005. The 5-2 win came just one day after Graf earned the honor of having the field named in honor at the Seminole Softball Complex. It now bares the name JoAnne Graf Field. Graf has almost 150 more victories than the next person in line, who is Fresno State’s Margie Wright. What’s so interesting about Graf’s accomplishment, however, is she has earned all 1300 wins
The Last Time Out:
COLLEGE PARK, Md. – For the second time in 14 years of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Softball Championship history, Florida State did not advance to the title game after falling to sixth-seeded and host Maryland, 2-0, May 13 afternoon at the Terrapin Complex. The Seminoles are the first team eliminated from the league tournament and will keep alive hopes that the NCAA committee will consider their strength of schedule Sunday when it awards bids to the NCAA tournament.
The Seminoles, who advanced to the 2004 Women’s College World Series with a 62-12 record and started the preseason ranked No. 10, dropped to 33-26 on the season. The Terrapins improved to 27-20 and defeated the Tribe for just the second time since the 1999 campaign. Freshman Tiffany McDonald picked up the loss (14-9) after throwing three innings. Junior left fielder Natasha Jacob extended her hit streak to 20 games.
Maryland struck early with a run in the bottom of the second to take an 1-0 lead. After three straight singles loaded the bases for the Terps, Natalie Grossman drew a one out walk bringing home Smith from third for her ninth RBI of the season.
Florida State senior Tatiana George was 1-for-1 with a walk to pace the Seminoles.
**To view the entire Florida State game notes, click the link at the top of the page.**