Feb. 23, 2003
Columbus, GA –
The 11th-ranked Seminoles fought back to tie the game with No. 25 UMass (5-3) after trailing heading into the sixth inning but a wild pitch allowed the winning run to score in the bottom of the seventh as the Tribe fell 2-1. The loss leaves FSU at 11-5 on the year and 1-2 in the tournament. Casey Hunter (8-3) allowed just one earned run in a two-hit, eight strikeout performance.
Coming off their first shutout of the season, the Tribe looked to get out to a fast start versus UMass who entered the game undefeated in the NFCA Leadoff Classic. New leadoff hitter Shandra Colzie got hit on Kelli Arnold’s (2-1) first pitch of the game but back-to-back fielder’s choices and a strike out left FSU with a runner stranded on first.
Hunter, who entered the game off back-to-back double digit strikeout performances and who had allowed just one run in her last 16 innings, registered her 17th and 18th strikeouts of the tournament in retiring the side in the bottom of the first.
Arnold cruised through the FSU line-up in the top of the second getting the Seminoles in order. After Hunter hit the first batter she faced in the bottom of the second, catcher BillieAnne Gay threw out her third would-be base stealer of the tournament and she is now a perfect 3 for 3 at the Leadoff Classic in throwing out base stealers. Hunter then struck out her third and fourth hitters of the game, raising her K total to 20 for the tournament.
The Tribe got its first hit of the game in the top of the third when Shandra Colzie sent a two-out shot to center field. Colzie then stole second base putting a runner in scoring position for the first time all day for either team. Arnold responded though and got Tatiana George swinging to end the FSU threat.
Hunter got back to work in the bottom of the third as she struck out her fifth batter of the game and third straight hitter. After a foul out to left field, shortstop Emily Robustelli gave UMass the lead as she hit her second homerun of the tournament off a 2-2, two out offering from Hunter. The hit was just the third the sophomore has allowed in the last 19 innings of work up to that point.
The Seminoles went in order again in the top of the fourth extending the team’s longest scoreless streak of the season to 11 straight innings. Hunter rebounded from the homerun in the third though as she got the Minutewomen in order in the fourth and sent the game into the top of the fifth with UMass still leading 1-0.
For the first time since the opening frame, the Seminoles put the leadoff batter on as Shundra Colzie drew a walk to start the inning. Arnold retired Beth Wade looking at strike three for the first out of the inning bringing Robyn Larson to the plate. The senior drew a walk to put runners on first and second with only one down. Shundra Colzie then get caught off of second and was thrown out as she headed to third followed by a Bryttani Lindheim strikeout to end the FSU threat.
After going an inning without a strikeout in the fourth, Hunter recorded her sixth and seventh of the game retiring the first two UMass hitters she faced in the fifth. After an error allowed KC Budrewicz to reach, Gay threw out her fourth base stealer of the weekend and retired the side.
Shandra Colzie registered her second hit of the game and led off the sixth with an infield single to first. The Tribe looked to capitalize on their second straight inning with the leadoff hitter on as George worked her way out of an 0-2 hole to draw a walk putting runners on first and second with no outs for Brandi Stuart. The senior laid down a perfect sac bunt moving the runners to second and third with only one out. That brought up FSU’s top hitter in van der Linden who came into the game with a .579 batting average. The reigning NFCA Player of the Week blooped a double to center plating the tying run and keeping runners at second and third. After a Carly Brieske pop out to short, Shundra Colzie was hit by a pitch to load the bases for Wade. The first baseman hit a slow roller to short but the UMass defense got the out to end the Seminole rally but FSU went into the bottom of the frame tied at 1-1.
The Seminoles and Hunter got UMass’ first two hitters in the sixth on a ground out and a foul out. The sophomore hurler then fanned her eighth batter of the game as she approached double digit K’s for the third straight game.
Arnold retired the first batter she saw in the seventh but Gay followed by lacing a double down the right field line. She moved to third on a wild pitch opening the door for FSU in their final at bat in regulation. The Minutewomen worked their way out of the jam though on back-to-back ground outs as the Tribe left the seventh inning with the potential game-winning run standing on third.
Massachusetts looked to end the game in the bottom of the frame as it sent the heart of its order to the plate to challenge Hunter. After a leadoff walk to Brandi Cross, freshman Katie Jo Kelly stepped into the box and sacrificed pinch runner Denise Denis over to second. With just one out in the bottom of the seventh, a passed ball allowed Denis to advance to third. Hunter got the next hitter to ground out brining up pinch hitter Nicole Wilson with the game on the line. The junior worked Hunter to a 2-2 count before a wild pitch allowed the winning run to score.
The Seminoles return to action Wednesday, February 26 when the Mercer Bears come to Tallahassee for a doubleheader. The games are scheduled for 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. and admission is free at the Seminole Softball Complex. For more information on the 2003 NFCA Leadoff Classic and all the information you could ever need on the 2003 Florida State softball team, please log on to seminoles.com, the official athletic home for Florida State athletics on the internet.