Feb. 17, 2007
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –
After going a year and a half without a no hitter, the Florida State softball team has had two in eight days. Sophomore Melissa May tossed the first no hitter of her collegiate career and the Seminoles’ bats stayed hot as No. 22 FSU defeated Memphis 6-0 in six innings on Saturday (Feb. 17) during the Sunshine State Tournament.
“I’m really excited and just so happy,” May admitted. “The defense was so great; Carly’s (Wynn) play in the first totally saving that inning. The defense played great behind me the entire game it was exciting to see everyone play as a team. The offense was awesome too; when they put up that many runs I don’t stress out and I can just go after batters.
“In the last inning when we needed one run to get eight I looked up and saw the score and thought `oh we have to get a run!’ Until then I didn’t really think too much about it.”
Florida State continued its best start since the 2004 season as it improved its record to 8-1 and 3-1 in the tournament. Memphis dropped to 5-4. FSU claims at least a share of the tournament title, but Kansas would be named champion – based on a 1-0 win over FSU Friday night – if it beats Memphis in the final game. A Jayhawk loss to the Tigers gives FSU the title outright.
Staying perfect on the year was May (San Diego, Calif.) as she improved to 2-0 with her first no hitter since her prep days at Rancho Bernardo High School. The lefty gave up just one walk with three strikeouts in her six innings of work. She also hit two batters and another reached via error. Helping her cause was an FSU defense that turned a pair of double plays. The loss went to Nicki Johnson who dropped to 2-3.
“I was really happy that she threw a no-hitter,” FSU head coach Dr. JoAnne Graf said. “That’s just going to give her more confidence and the more she throws she’s going to keep the ball down and really help us.”
Tying for the team lead with a pair of hits was left fielder Whitney Buckmon (Stone Mountain, Ga.) and first baseman Kelly Langston (Sopchoppy, Fla.). Buckmon was also the team leader, along with third baseman Michelle Snyder (Wenatchee, Wash.) with a pair of runs scored. All nine batters in the line-up reached base and eight of the nine had base hits.
“I think we had something to prove today because we didn’t hit well against Kansas,” Graf noted. “We needed to come back and get our bats alive and give our pitchers some support because one run should not beat us, especially when our pitchers are throwing as well as they have been throwing.”
After coming close to pushing a run across in their first three at-bats, the Seminoles struck for three runs in the bottom of the fourth by sending eight batters to the plate. Buckmon and Carly Wynn (Sharpsburg, Ga.) produced back-to-back singles then Buckmon moved up to second on a throwing error by the Memphis catcher. A double by Langston scored Buckmon and put runners on second and third. Snyder put down a perfect squeeze bunt to score Wynn from third then LaShaun Davis (Marietta, Ga.) completed the scoring with an infield single to score Snyder with the third run of the inning.
The Seminoles were the beneficiary of pair of Memphis errors in the fifth inning as they tacked on four runs to make it a 7-0 game. Catcher Brittany Krbec (Orlando, Fla.) started the inning with a single and moved up to second on a Yuruby Alicart (Maracay, Venezuela) walk. A bunt single by Buckmon loaded then pinch runner Courtney Rosen (Sugarland, Texas) crossed the plate on a Wynn sacrifice fly.
After Buckmon stole second, the Tigers appeared to be out of the inning, but left fielder Leandra Hines dropped a Snyder fly ball, allowing Alicart and Buckmon to score. Another Memphis error allowed Veronica Wootson (Fontana, Calif.) to reach first base and put Snyder on third. The duo pulled off the double steal as Snyder swiped home.
May helped keep the no hitter intact in the sixth when she started a double play to end the inning. Florida State ended the game early with the eight-run mercy rule when Alicart drilled a double to center field that scored pinch runner Amanda Moore (Niceville, Fla.) from first base.
Florida State goes on the road for the next week with the first stop being a 3 p.m. (CST) doubleheader at Troy on Wednesday (Feb. 21).