Feb. 20, 2004
Jacksonville, FL –
The tenth-ranked Seminoles looked to be cruising to their 11th straight win Friday afternoon in Jacksonville. The Tribe (11-0) was up 3-0, Casey Hunter had a no-hitter going and JU had just one base runner all day. The Dolphins (5-7) then put together five hits in two innings and scored two runs but FSU held on for the 3-2 victory. The 11th straight win to start the season is the best opening run for a Seminole team since 1994 and the Tribe has now won 35 straight regular season games.
“You have to give Jacksonville credit, they never stopped fighting,” said head coach Dr. JoAnne Graf. “Casey (Hunter) was going along pretty good but JU is a solid team and they made some plays late in the game. Our kids responded and held on for the win though and that is a positive.”
Hunter moved to 6-0 for FSU as she retired the side in order in four of the seven innings. Veronica Wootson had a big day at the plate going 2-for-3 with two runs scored and an RBI. All-American Jessica van der Linden recorded another double, two more walks and the 114th RBI of her career. The senior is now second all-time at FSU for walks and fourth all-time for runs batted in.
In the top of the first, FSU capitalized on a JU mistake to jump out to a 1-0 lead. Veronica Wootson started things off by dropping a single into left field. Natasha Jacob sacrificed her to second and then Wootson swiped third, her fifth steal of the year. An error at short allowed Wootson to come home for the 1-0 lead.
Hunter breezed through the first two innings recording two strikeouts while allowing just one Dolphin to reach base. Florida State started the third with the top of the order and it looked just like the top of the first. Wootson recorded her second single of the game and Jacob once again sacrificed her to second. Van der Linden then drove the run in with a double to the fence in deep center field. The two-bagger was the 45th of her career and put FSU in front 2-0.
The Tribe started the fourth with another extra base hit as Carly Brieske drove a double to the warning track in left center. Wade moved her to third with just one down in the frame. After a Kim Hoffer walk, LaShaun Davis reached on a bunt single to load the bases. That brought up Wootson who was already 2-for-2 on the day. The stellar freshman drove a shot to deep center, which JU hauled in but was good enough to score Brieske from third.
Hunter retired her tenth straight batter in the bottom of the fourth as she sat the Dolphins down in order for the third consecutive inning. For the fourth time in five innings, FSU put the lead-off hitter on as van der Linden drew a walk to start the fifth. The Tribe was unable to plate the All-American though as the game moved into the bottom of the frame with FSU still leading 3-0.
Hunter retired her 11th and 12th batters in a row in the bottom of the fifth before Jacksonville registered its first hit of the game off Hunter. The sharply hit single down the right field line broke up Hunter’s bid for her second no-hitter in less than a week.
The Dolphins put together their first threat of the day in the bottom of the sixth. Two infield singles put runners at first and second with nobody out. JU then loaded the bases on a single to shallow center field. An error and another base hit allowed JU to score two runs and send the game into the seventh with the Dolphins trailing just 3-2.
After concluding their doubleheader with the Dolphins, Florida State returns home Sunday, February 22 for a 1:00 pm single game versus Florida A&M. The first 150 fans will receive a free water bottle and there will be a softball clinic with the FSU players following the game. To take part in the clinic you must pre-register and forms are available on line on the upcoming promotions webpage. For more information on the 2004 Seminole softball team, please log on to the official athletic website for FSU at www.seminoles.com.