March 12, 2005
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Behind NFCA All-American ace Casey Hunter, the 21st-ranked Florida State softball team advanced to the championship game of the 2005 FSU Invitational with two victories over Radford and Eastern Kentucky at the Seminole Softball Complex Saturday. The Tribe won four previous games to move on to the final contest against Southern Illinois (12-7).
The Seminoles, who are 19-8 overall, shutout the Eagles, 4-0, and brought down Eastern Kentucky, 13-5.
In seven innings during the first game, Hunter threw a single game career-high 17 strikeouts and allowed just two hits and walked only one player. Hunter, who struck out 17-of-24 batters she faced, also tied the Florida State’s softball program’s record of strikeouts in a seven-inning contest.
The performance by Hunter in the circle did not overshadow the fact that freshman catcher Melissa Wood extended her hit streak to six games and in the four games of the tournament, she has slugged an outstanding 1.111 percent and hit .778. Wood was perfect today: in four at bats the Lilburn, Ga., native, recorded four hits, including two doubles.
In the two games combined against the Highlanders and the Lady Colonels, the Seminoles hit .436 and held their opponents to a .240 clip. Florida State collected 24 hits, exactly double the amount of its opponents.
Junior left fielder Natasha Jacob tallied a team-high six hits and went a perfect 4-for-4 in game one. All of her singles were bunts. Junior shortstop Kim Hoffer has improved dramatically in the last six games since filling in for senior Tatiana George, who is nursing a broken nose. Hoffer hit .857 in two contests, totaling a team-high three doubles and scoring a team-high four times.
Florida State will return to the Seminole Softball Complex Sunday at 1:30 p.m. for the championship game.
NO. 21 FLORIDA STATE 4, RADFORD 0
Casey Hunter (10-6) threw perhaps one of the best games of her four-year career against the Highlanders, striking out a stunning 17 batters and allowing just two hits in the shutout. The 17 strikeouts broke her previous high of 15 and she tied the program’s all-time single game record.
Leadoff hitter and left fielder Natasha Jacob went a perfect 4-for-4 in the game, including a bunt double. She also had a stolen base. Freshman catcher Melissa Wood had two doubles and a walk and senior third baseman Lesley Palmer also had two doubles, three RBIs and touched home plate once respectively.
Florida State jump started the game with back-to-back singles from Jacob and Whitney Buckmon. Two outs later, Melissa Wood reached base on a walk and Lesley Palmer brought in Jacob thanks to a base on balls for the first run of the game. The Seminoles left three players stranded.
The Seminoles would tally its final three runs in the top of the third inning. Senior designated player Tatiana George singled and Wood advanced her to third on a double. Junior Carly Brieske replaced Wood on second and on the next at bat, Palmer doubled and brought in the two base runners. With two outs two batters later, junior shortstop Kim Hoffer exploded with a deep double and scored Palmer for the final run of the day.
Hunter’s performance was near flawless in the circle. She not only struck out the first five batters she faced, but she also retired 17-of-24 batters. Hunter had a perfect game going until in the top of the fourth inning when a slow bunt stopped between Hunter, Palmer and Hoffer. The ball, hit by Ashley Carlson, was perfectly placed and no throw was made.
NO. 21 FLORIDA STATE 13 EASTERN KENTUCKY 5
The Seminoles collected seven of its 13 total hits in the final two innings, as the Tribe attacked Eastern Kentucky, 13-5, in the second contest of the day for FSU. The 13 runs scored were the first time this season that the Seminoles have recorded double-digit runs and the 13 hits tied a season high.
The Tribe scored runs in the final five innings of the game and the officials called the contest in the sixth inning.
Jacob, Wood, Hoffer and LaShaun Davis each logged two hits and Palmer marked down her first home run of the season in the sixth inning with a two-run shot to right center. Hoffer had two doubles on the day and walked once.
Freshman pitcher Tiffany McDonald was credited with the victory and she improved to 8-1 on the season after pitching 4.2 innings before Casey Hunter entered and earned the save. Hunter stuck out all three players she faced in the Lady Colonel’s final at bat.
For Eastern Kentucky, Amy Mayrhofer was a perfect 2-for-3 with two doubles and three RBIs.