February 23, 2006 - by
Seminole Game Day: FSU Softball Travels to NFCA Leadoff Classic

Feb. 23, 2006

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Florida State at 11th Annual NFCA Leadoff Classic
Friday-Sunday (February 24-26) • Columbus, Ga.
South Commons Complex

Live Audio

Louisiana-Lafayette GameTracker
Tennessee GameTracker
Iowa GameTracker

Florida State (8-3) 
Home: 8-3
Away: 1-1
Neutral: 0-0
ACC: 0-0

#14/16 Louisiana-Lafayette (11-0)
Home: 11-0
Away: 0-0
Neutral 0-0
Sun Belt: 0-0

#2 Tennessee (8-0)
Home: 0-0
Away: 2-0
Neutral: 6-0
SEC: 0-0  

#22/25 Iowa (6-4)
Home: 0-1
Away: 1-2
Neutral 5-1
Big 10: 0-0

Base Hits (What You Need To Know):
• Florida State head coach Dr. JoAnne Graf became the second coach in NCAA history to reach 1,100 wins when the Seminoles beat Jacksonville 8-1 on February 22.

• Saturday’s game between Florida State and Iowa will feature at least 2,485 NFCA wins between Dr. JoAnne Graf (1,319) and Gayle Blevins (1,166), the highest total between two coaches in NFCA history

• All-America candidate Natasha Jacob (Coppell, Texas) ran her on-base streak to 35 games with hits in both games against Jacksonville as her new hit streak reach six games.

• For the second game in a row pitcher Tiffany McDonald (Belfair, Wash.) took a perfect game into the fourth inning as she perfect for 5.1 innings in game one at JU.

FSU Faces Toughest Challenge So Far In NFCA Leadoff Classic
If the Florida State University softball wants to get a good gauge of where it is at in this young season, there will be no better barometer than the 11th Annual NFCA Leadoff Classic at the South Commons Complex in Columbus, Ga. All three of the Seminoles’ opponents this weekend are ranked in the Top 25 as are nine more of the 24 teams. Florida State opens play at 12 p.m. on Friday (Feb. 24) against #14/16 Louisiana-Lafayette followed by a 7:30 p.m. contest later that day versus #2 Tennessee. The Seminoles finish pool play Saturday at 12:30 p.m. against #22/25 Iowa. From there they will go into bracket play for another game on Saturday and then again Sunday.

If History Is Any Indicator…
Florida State hopes history is on its side this weekend as it holds an advantage over both Louisiana-Lafayette and Iowa in the all-time series. Surprisingly, Friday night’s contest will the first between FSU and Tennessee. The Seminoles own a 9-8 lead over the Ragin’ Cajuns, but ULL has won the last seven meetings. FSU’s last win came in 1993 when the school was still know as Southwest Louisiana. Giving the Seminoles a 4-3 advantage over the Hawkeyes was a pair of victories in the 2000 NCAA West Regional in Los Angeles. Working in FSU’s favor against Tennessee could be that the Seminoles are 6-2 in their first meeting with SEC schools.

Seminole Looking To Reverse Trend Against Ranked Foes
Last season ranked opponents gave Florida State fits as the Seminoles posted just a 3-10 mark against teams in the top 25. Two of those wins did come at the end of the year when FSU twice defeated No. 18 Auburn in the NCAA Tournament. The only other victory versus a ranked foe came in a 2-0 triumph versus No. 25 Fresno State at the NFCA Leadoff Classic. No. 2 Tennessee will be the highest ranked team Florida State has played since it faced top-ranked Arizona at the Kia Klassic.

Graf Gets NCAA Win 1,100 At Jacksonville
Every year FSU head coach Dr. JoAnne Graf seems to pass another milestone and this year she surpassed the 1,100 fast pitch mark Wednesday at Jacksonville. Graf became just the second coach in NCAA history — joining only Fresno State’s Margie Wright — to reach the 1,100 mark as the Seminoles beat JU 8-1.

Jacksonville Continues To Be Splitsville For Seminoles
An indictment of what Florida State has done to raise the level of competition in the state, for the third-straight year the Seminoles couldn’t come away with a sweep of Jacksonville. Florida State took the opener 8-1 behind a strong pitching performance by Tiffany McDonald and an offensive explosion by Veronica Wootson (Fontana, Calif.). Unfortunately, that magic couldn’t carry over to game two as the hosts prevailed 2-1. Even though she took the loss, freshman Melissa May (San Diego, Calif.) is in some good company, joining All-Americans Jessica van der Linden (2004) and Casey Hunter (2005) as the losing pitcher against the Dolphins.

And The Whistle Goes V-Whoo-Whoo
Showing flashes of what made her an All-American in 2004, second baseman Veronica Wootson had one of the best offensive games of her career in the opener against Jacksonville. The junior set a career-high with two home runs, while scoring three runs and driving in four more. The two round trippers moved her into a tie with Leslie Barton for eighth place in school history at 14 home runs. “V-Whoo” is second on the team with a .364 average while leading the squad with 12 RBIs, five stolen bases and three home runs.

McDonald Is Nearly Perfect Again
One of these days Tiffany McDonald is going to get that perfect game. The sophomore right-hander was perfect for four innings against Iowa State on Saturday and was just five outs away from the feat against Jacksonville before a home run by Renee LaCroix broke up the game. McDonald gave up just the one run on two hits while striking out nine batters in her fourth complete game of the year. She has sent seven or more batters back to the dugout four times this season. Her ERA has continued to drop since the first game of the season and is currently at a season-low of 2.73.

Ho Hum, Jacob’s On Base Streak Reaches 35 Games
After the 28-game hitting streak, just reaching first base doesn’t seem so difficult for All-America candidate Natasha Jacob. The left fielder produced a single in each of the two games at Jacksonville Wednesday to up her on-base streak to 35-games. Since having her first streak ended against Georgia Southern, the senior captain has started a new one with base hits in each of the last six games.

Seminoles Have More Power, Just Need More Cowbell
Sparked by the pop of Veronica Wootson, the Seminoles have been digging the long ball in 2006. The six home runs this year are second highest total through this point in the season over the last five years. Only the 2004 squad, which set a school record with 44 home runs, has more round trippers (7) than this year’s edition. The long ball has worked in Florida State’s favor with a 5-0 record when a Seminole goes deep. FSU has spread the long ball love around with four players — Wootson (3), Yuruby Alicart (1), Carly Brieske (1) and Michelle Snyder (1)– going deep at least once.

The Wenatchee Wonder Leads Florida State In Hitting
In a straw poll of who has the most multiple-hit games on the team, Michelle Snyder’s (Wenatchee, Wash.) name wouldn’t get many votes, but the few that picked the freshman would be correct. The third basemen went 3-for-3 in the second game at Jacksonville for her fourth multi-hit game of the year while raising her average to an FSU-best .423 clip. Snyder also tops the squad with a .500 on-base percentage while coming in second with 10 RBIs and a .615 slugging percentage.

How About A Little Something, You Know, For The Effort
Despite not giving up more than two earned runs in any of her seven appearances, freshman pitcher Melissa May (San Diego, Calif.) only has a pair of wins. In her last two outings, both losses, Florida State has only scored three runs. During her six starts the Seminoles are only fielding .952 with eight errors. During her last three starts, the Seminoles have averaged less than three runs per game, compared to seven runs per game when Tiffany McDonald is in the circle.

Infield Fly Rule (News and Notes)
Whitney Buckmon (Stone Mountain, Ga.) and BillieAnne Gay (Tallahassee, Fla.) picked up their first extra base hits of 2006 with doubles against JU…First baseman Kim Hoffer set a season-high with two RBIs in the opener versus the Dolphins…Florida State was 4-5 in the state of Georgia last year…The NFCA will be Florida State’s first neutral games of the season. Last year the Seminoles were only 4-7 in neutral site games with three of those wins coming in NFCA Classic.

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