March 19, 2005
FULLERTON, Calif. – For seven innings Saturday night 22nd-ranked Florida State played error free ball and allowed just one run.
And then came the eighth inning.
Syracuse had a monstrous eighth inning and collected three runs off of two hits and left one runner on base to defeat Florida State, 4-3, at the Titan Softball Complex on the campus of Cal State Fullerton at the 2005 Kia Klassic. The Tribe dropped to 20-12 on the season and Casey Hunter went to 10-10 in the circle. Meanwhile, the Orange improved to 10-8 and Erin Downey earned her fourth victory of the season for Syracuse.
In the eighth inning, the Orange’s Tanya Rose was placed on second base because of the international tiebreaker rule, and Alexis Switenko put down a sacrifice bunt that ultimately was labeled a hit and Rose advanced to third. Shawna Norris then got an RBI sacrifice fielder’s choice, scoring Rose. One out later, Katie Kaempfer was hit by FSU pitcher Casey Hunter to load up the bases. First baseman Melissa Kelly then got a two-run single that scored Norris and Switenko and the Seminoles closed the inning with an out at the plate from a enormous throw from left fielder Natasha Jacob. She got it to catcher BillieAnne Gay and Gay tagged down Kaempfer at the plate.
Florida State was labeled the home team and senior shortstop Tatiana George wasted no time showing how much she desired to win. With the designated tiebreaker Jacob on second, George stepped up to the plate and hit a two-run home run that easily cleared right center to put the score at 4-3. However, the following three batters went down to end the game and the Seminoles’ appearance at the Kia Klassic came to an end.
Tonight marked the third time Florida State and Syracuse met this season and the series record was even at 1-1 entering the game. Furthermore, two of the games extended to extra innings.
Syracuse opened the game with back-to-back singles and after a force out at third base on the next at bat, a Syracuse batter got up for the Orange and hit a line drive shot to left center before Jacob gunned down Rhoener at the plate. Two more grounders after the double ended the inning and the Seminoles escaped with no runs after three hits and three runners were left on base in the opening inning.
After going 0-and-11 during the first three contests at the Kia Klassic, lead-off hitter, Jacob, got on base with a bunt single and designated player Melissa Wood slammed a shot to right field, scoring the speedy Jacob to put the first run and only run on the board through regulation play.
In the top of the third inning with one Syracuse player on, Jacob showed why she’s one of the top players in the nation when she jumped up and grabbed a deep hit that was seconds to floating over the fence. The Coppell, Texas, native reached up and slammed against the wall upon snatching the ball and Florida State once again survived with no runs scoring for the Orange. This play would be one of several outstanding defensive efforts the Tribe would display during the outing.
Things seemed easy for FSU through five innings until McDonald loaded up the bases after hitting Rose and Kaempfter and walking Switenko in the top of the sixth. During the next at bat, she barely tapped Elderbroom on the wrist as Rose got the free trip home to tie the game up at one-all. Florida State would close the inning with a George throw to second baseman Veronica Wootson and three runners were left stranded.
Seminole pitcher Tiffany McDonald had a strong performance in the circle, throwing seven innings and striking out nine batters and walking just three. Casey Hunter entered the game in the final inning with the score 1-1 and received the loss after giving up two earned runs.
Florida State will take a week off before facing Georgia Tech in an ACC series next weekend in Atlanta.