March 26, 2005
ATLANTA, Ga. –
It took the Florida State University softball team ten innings to get its offense going, but the Seminoles couldn’t mount a big enough comeback as Georgia Tech won both games of Saturday’s doubleheader. FSU was the victim of a 2-0 no hitter in the opener then dropped the nightcap 3-1.
The pair of losses dropped Florida State to 20-14 on the year with a 3-4 ACC mark. The Yellow Jackets remained in the conference lead with a 4-1 mark to go along with a 31-7 overall record.
Game one was a dual between two of the best pitchers in the conference over the last four years. Unfortunately, Georgia Tech’s Jessica Sallinger got the better of the Casey Hunter (Millstadt, Ill.). The ACC’s all-time leader in strikeouts threw the eighth no hitter of her career to beat the Seminoles 2-0. Sallinger struck out ten batters with three walks, while Hunter – who fell to 10-11 – surrendered two earned runs on six hits with three strikeouts and five walks.
Georgia Tech got on the scoreboard first during the opener with a run in the second inning. Leftfielder Amy Hosier started the frame when she poked a one-out double to right field. One batter later, Hunter walked Lauren Schlechte then Kacey Ivey delivered an infield single that scored Hosier with the first run of the day.
A potential big inning for the host team was squashed in the third by a great defensive play from centerfielder Whitney Buckmon (Stone Mountain, Ga.). After Georgia Tech’s Caitlin Lever tripled off the centerfield wall to score Aileen Morales, Lever was thrown out at home plate by Buckmon on a fly ball from Christine Sheridan.
On the flipside, Florida State’s only runners through the first five innings reach via free passes from Sallinger. The Yellow Jackets kept Sallinger’s no hitter intact in the sixth inning when Natasha Jacob (Coppell, Texas) reached first thanks to a throwing error by third baseman Katie Donovan.
After Georgia Tech scored two runs in the first inning of the second contest, with both RBI’s coming without a hit – using a walk from FSU starter Tiffany McDonald (Belfair, Wash.) and a fielder’s choice – the Seminoles’ defense stepped up once again to minimize the damage. With the bases loaded and one out, GT’s Lauren Schlechte flew out to LaShaun Davis (Marietta, Ga.) in right field who threw home to get Savannah Brown in a run down and end the inning.
Breaking through for the Seminoles’ lone run of the game was rookie sensation Melissa Wood (Lilburn, Ga.) in the fourth inning. The FSU backstop belted her team-leading fifth home run of the year, a solo shot to straight away centerfield, to put the Seminoles on the board 3-1. An inning before the Tribe had its third web gem of the twinbill as Osmon – who collected FSU’s first hit in the third frame with a single – snagged a line drive then dove back to first base to double up Hosier.
For the third inning a row the Seminoles had runner on base Buckmon was hit by a pitch in the fifth. The freshman then stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch. A heads up play by Yellow Jacket first baseman Kirin Kumar cut Buckmon down at the plate and ended the Florida State rally.
Down to their last at bat, the Seminoles threatened as they loaded the bases in the seventh. With one out, third baseman Lesley Palmer (Dale City, Va.) singled and then pinch runner Carey Galuppi (Boca Raton, Fla.) advanced to second on a single from Kim Hoffer (Houston, Texas). Pinch hitter BillieAnne Gay (Tallahassee, Fla.) loaded the bases with FSU’s third single in a row, but Georgia Tech brought Sallinger back in the game and she struck out the last two batters to get the save.
Picking up the victory for Georgia Tech was Sarah Wood as she posted a career-high nine strikeouts while giving up one run on three hits. McDonald lost just her second game of the year as her record fell to 10-2 after giving up three runs, two earned, on five hits with two walks.
The two teams conclude the three game series Sunday (March 27) with a noon start at Glenn Field.