May 3, 2005
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The Florida State softball team (32-22) dropped its third and fourth straight games Tuesday afternoon against the No. 23rd-ranked Gators (38-19) at the Florida Softball Stadium by scores of 7-5 and 2-0. Junior left fielder Natasha Jacob extended her hit streak to a personal and team season-best 16 games after going 2-for-3 on the day. Senior pitcher Casey Hunter (18-14, 1.60 ERA) and freshman Tiffany McDonald (14-7, 1.48 ERA) took the losses in the circle for the Tribe.
The Seminoles will conclude their 2005 regular season with four road games against BYU and Utah on Friday and Saturday before opening ACC Championship play May 12-14 in College Park, Md.
GAME ONE: NO. 23 FLORIDA 7, FLORIDA STATE 5
Florida State was nine outs from upsetting 23rd-ranked Florida Tuesday afternoon until the Seminoles literally collapsed at the Florida Softball Stadium.
The Tribe came out on fire the first four innings and took the early 4-0 lead behind an outstanding pitching performance by Casey Hunter, only to give up five runs on seven hits during the fifth and sixth innings as the Gators walked away with a 7-4 victory. In the end, FSU went through its entire pitching staff, Hunter was assisted off the field due to dehydration, and the Florida Gators watched its seven-game losing streak come to an end.
Hunter dropped to 18-14 (1.60 ERA) on the season and Florida’s Stacey Stevens (2.23 ERA) improved to 22-11. Today marked the first time Hunter has ever lost to the Gators after tossing to them the last four seasons.
Junior left fielder Natasha Jacob extended her career-long hit streak to 15 games and went 2-for-4 on the day. Sophomore LaShaun Davis was 1-for-3 with a three-run home run and freshman catcher Melissa Wood was also 1-for-3 with an RBI.
For the Gators, designated player Mandy Schuerman went 3-for-4 with three RBIs and a run scored.
Florida State escaped in the bottom of the second inning when Kristen Butler got on with a single and pinch runner Nikki Baldwin advanced to third during the next at bat with only one out. However, Florida’s Lauren Roussell popped up to second base and Hunter shutdown Stacie Pestrak to survive the inning. In the top of the third, the Seminoles registered their first hit of the day when Brittany Osmon slammed the ball to right field, but the outfielder was playing close enough to flag her down at first base for the first out of the inning. During the next at bat, Kim Hoffer was hit by a pitch and reached base, but BillieAnne Gay and Jacob followed with ground outs to leave Hoffer stranded.
Hunter showed her composure and experience in the bottom of the third inning when she found the bases loaded with two outs. The senior from Millstadt, Illinois, fired a fastball down the middle with a 3-2 count and retired cleanup batter Butler who was batting a team second-best .320 at the time.
Florida State found its power in the fourth inning when Veronica Wootson opened up with a clean shot down the left field line and Tatiana George put down a sacrifice bunt to advance her to second base. Wood stepped up to the plate and with a 2-1 count, she whizzed a line drive to left center field and UF’s Shelley Stevens dived for the ball but it got away and rolled to the fence. Wood got the standup RBI double for the 1-0 lead and was replaced by junior pinch runner Carly Brieske. Lesley Palmer earned a free base during the next at bat before Davis contacted with the very first pitch thrown by Stevens and hit a three-run home run over the right field fence to silence the home crowd. It was Davis’ fourth home run of the season and Florida State took the 4-0 advantage.
Hunter was back out on fire in the bottom of the fourth when she had two Gators in scoring position with one out. Designated hitter Mirelis Torres popped up to Hoffer at shortstop and Lacy Howard got caught looking as Hunter once again pulled the Seminoles out of the inning. In the top of the fifth, the Seminoles got no runs but Jacob kept her 15-game hit streak alive with a slap up the middle.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, the Gators scored five runs off of four hits, the Seminoles made two calls to the bullpen, and FSU saw the game collapse in its hands as Florida took a 5-4 lead. Florida’s Lindsey Cameron got the first out when she popped up a foul ball and that was the last out FSU witnessed during the next six at bats.
Shelley Stevens was first walked by Hunter and Melissa Zick singled up the middle as Gator players stood on first and second base. Butler walked to load up the bases before Hunter tossed a wild pitch that scored Florida’s first run in 18 innings as Shelley Stevens touched home to make the score 4-1. Florida State pitching coach Megan Matthews Buning made a decision to replace Hunter with Tiffany McDonald and the freshman immediately gave up a two-run double to Schuerman as the Gators inched within one run (4-3). Shortstop Roussell singled through the left side and Michelle Diaz entered as the pinch runner. With Schuerman on third, Diaz stole second and catcher Wood attempted to flag her down but the ball got loose and rolled to the outfield, scoring Schuerman for the 4-4 tie. At that time, Hunter reentered the game and right away gave up a double to Pestrak down the left field line as Diaz scored and Florida took the permanent lead.
In the sixth, the Gators scored two runs on three hits (7-5) off of McDonald and sophomore pitcher Amy Harrison, a player that previously tossed just 5.0 innings the entire season, entered and retired the side for FSU. During the Seminoles last at bat in the seventh, Jacob singled but Florida State followed with three pop ups to end the game.
GAME TWO: NO. 23 FLORIDA 2, FLORIDA STATE 0
Florida State amassed just four hits, including two from Natasha Jacob, and scored no runs as the Florida Gators downed the Seminoles, 2-0, during the backend of a doubleheader Tuesday evening at the Florida Softball Stadium. Junior shortstop Kim Hoffer and freshman catcher Melissa Wood went 1-for-3 on the day with singles. Freshman pitcher Tiffany McDonald (14-7) picked up the loss on the rubber for the Garnet & Gold.
Florida’s Mandy Schuerman (11-6) dominated the Seminoles in the circle and at the plate as she tossed the win and scored the first run of the game with a leadoff solo shot in the second inning (1-0). In the bottom of the third, the Gators’ Shelley Stevens was hit by a pitch and attempted to advance to third on a Melissa Zick single. However, as she neared third base, Florida State’s Lesley Palmer misjudged a throw by shortstop Kim Hoffer and the ball rolled to the fence, scoring Stevens for the permanent 2-0 lead.
McDonald gave up six hits, walked five, and retired six batters.
Stacey Stevens earned her third save of the season for Florida.