April 5, 2006
Florida State hosts No. 24 Florida
Wednesday, April 5 4 p.m. (DH) Tallahassee, Fla.
JoAnne Graf Field at Seminole Softball Complex (1,000)
Florida State (27-18, 5-4 ACC)
Florida (31-12, 10-5 SEC)
Base Hits (What You Need To Know):
Despite dropping both games of last year’s doubleheader to Florida, Florida State owns an 11-7 lead in the series and has won four of the last six.
The Seminoles continue to be the top hitting team during conference play. FSU hit .380 as a team against Georgia Tech to up its league-leading average to .364. Overall, the team average has gone up 30 points over the last two weeks.
Yuruby Alicart (.556) and Melissa Wood (.522) are both in the top five for individual average during ACC games. Left fielder Natasha Jacob (Coppell, Texas) scored four runs against Georgia Tech, moving into her sole possession of eighth-place in school history with 132 runs.
Florida State is 1-3 this year with the Southeastern Conference, having split two games with South Carolina while losing to then No. 2 Tennessee and last week to Auburn.
The Seminoles are 4-2 this year against teams from the state of Florida with three wins over Florida A&M and another against Jacksonville.
Florida State Plays Host To Rival Florida
Wrapping up a stretch of 13 home games in two weeks, the Florida State softball team (28-17 overall) plays host to instate rival Florida (31-12) on Wednesday (April 5). The two teams will meet in their annual doubleheader, starting at 4 p.m. Wednesday is Jam the Stands Night, presented by Alltel, with the first 200 fans getting free t-shirts, and all fans in attendance will receive a free Cheer Card.
Seminoles Look To Get Even for 2005 Sweep
Just like Georgia Tech last weekend, the Seminoles are looking to get back at the Gators after being swept in Gainesville last season. The Gators won the first contest 7-4 then beat Tiffany McDonald (Belfair, Wash.) 2-0 in the nightcap. The wins were Florida’s first since 2002, marked the first time the Gators had won back-to-back games over Florida State and snapped a four-game winning streak by the Seminoles. Overall, Florida State holds an 11-7 advantage during fastpitch competition — the SEC reinstated softball in 1997 — and a 4-3 mark at home.
Crosstown Rival Florida A&M Trips Up Seminoles 4-0
For the second year in a row, crosstown rival Florida A&M can claim a victory over the Seminoles. Despite having an equal number of hits (five), the Lady Rattlers used timely hitting as they prevailed 4-0 on Monday (April 3). Freshman pitcher Kayla Collins (Niceville, Fla.) threw her fourth complete game of the year, but was saddled with the loss as her record fell to 3-2. Florida A&M starter Tiffany Johnson kept the Seminoles off balance all night and forced Florida State into 13 fly ball outs. Leading the way at the plate for FSU were outfielders Carly Brieske (Safety Harbor, Fla.) and LaShaun Davis (Marietta, Ga.) as they picked up four of FSU’s five hits.
FSU Wins Games One & Three To Take Series With #25 Georgia Tech
Florida State won its second ACC series in a row over the weekend when they took two of three from 25th-ranked Georgia Tech. Starter Tiffany McDonald picked up both victories with a pair of complete games. The Seminoles opened with an impressive 9-1 run-rule victory in five innings. The Yellow Jackets answered game two, beating freshman Melissa May (San Diego, Calif.), 8-3. FSU rallied for three runs in its last two at-bats to take the rubber match 7-4.
Offense Has Been Outstanding
Starting with the game against defending national champion Michigan, the Florida State bats have been on fire over the last 12 games. Florida State picked up six hits that day and hasn’t had fewer than five during the last dozen contests as the team average has gone up 30 points from .263 after Notre Dame to .293 following Monday’s game at Florida A&M.
During this time, Florida State has a team batting average of .372 with seven batters hitting over .300, four better than .400 and two topping .500. The Seminoles are averaging 5.3 runs per game and 10 hits in the last 12 games. Leading the way has been right fielder LaShaun Davis as she is hitting at a .552 clip. Close behind is shortstop Yuruby Alicart (Maracay, Venezuela) with a .500 average.
Same Record, Better Outlook
Through 45 games, this year’s Florida State team has an identical 27-18 record that it had at this point last season. While the wins and losses may be the same, the numbers behind this year’s record point to a better ending to the season than last year when it ended the regular season 7-7, but 1-6 in the final week. This year’s edition is hitting .49 points higher (.293-to-.244) with four players hitting over .300 compared to just one last season. Florida State is scoring over a run more this year, crossing the plate an average of 4.3 times per game in 2005.
Davis Is Quietly Making Noise
While Yuruby Alicart or Natasha Jacob may get most of the notoriety for the Seminoles’ offense, right fielder LaShaun Davis has quietly passed the two of them for the top spot on the team with a .363 batting average. During the last 12 games, in which the team rate has gone up 30 points, she has hit a team-best .552. Starting with the Michigan game (March 18), Davis has had a hit in nine of the 11 games she has played in with six multi-hit games, including the last two contests. During this run, she has scored eight runs while picking up three extra base hits for a .724 slugging percentage and .594 on-base percentage. Unfortunately, Davis does not yet qualify for the ACC rankings as she is ten at-bats short of the meeting the 2 at-bats per team game standard. If she were to qualify, she would ranked eighth in the conference.
Helping The New Kids Out
So far this season, sophomore Tiffany McDonald has started 23 games, while the freshmen duo of Kayla Collins and Melissa May have combined for 22 starts. FSU is 14-8 when Collins and May start and 13-10 with McDonald in the circle, but McDonald has had to work more harder to get her wins. The Seminoles are scoring over a run more for the rookies (4.7 vs. 3.4) and hitting almost 50 points higher (.319 vs. .286).
Alicart Playing All-Around Great Game
Two-thirds of the way into the year, Yuruby Alicart has more than adjusted to the Division I level. The 2005 NAIA Player of the Year, about halfway through the season she began to find her groove, but over the last two weeks she has been spectacular in all phases. Starting with Michigan on March 18, her average has gone up 58 points to .362, which is the eighth-best in the ACC. Alicart ranks among the league leaders in hitting, hits (3rd – 47), runs (T7th – 30), home runs (2nd – 7), doubles (3rd – 12), total bases (2nd – 84), RBIs (3rd – 34) and slugging percentage (4th – .646). Perhaps the area of her game that has seen the most improvement is defense as she has only committed two errors, in 53 chances, over the last 12 games, compared to six errors in the previous dozen games.
It Must Be Late In The Year If Jacob Is Playing Well
Great players show up when their team needs them the most and left fielder Natasha Jacob is a perfect example of that. Last year she finished the season with a 24-game hitting streak and this year she is starting to catch fire down the stretch. Over the last two weeks her average has gone up 56 points, from .294 to .354, as her .545 batting average during the last ten games leads the team. The Coppell, Texas, product has seven multi-hit games during this stretch, including a personal-best four against Florida A&M.
Offensive Improvement Is Total Team Effort
LaShaun Davis, Yuruby Alicart and Natasha Jacob aren’t the only ones on the team who have been major contributors to the Seminoles’ offensive outburst. Seven different players have seen their batting average increase by more than 20 points over the last 12 games. Davis has made the most improvement with her 108-point swing, but Melissa Wood (Lilburn, Ga.) has raised her average by 50 points and Veronica Wootson’s (Fontana, Calif.) as improved by .40 points. Freshman Michelle Snyder (Wenatchee, Wash.) and sophomore Brittany Osmon (San Diego, Calif.) have each gone up 21 points.
Seminoles Torching ACC Pitching
Florida State continued its offensive assault on the league’s pitching last weekend when it posted a .380 average against the Georgia Tech pitching staff. Seven different players hit .300 or better, led by Yuruby Alicart at .556 and Natasha Jacob close behind at .500. In nine conference games, FSU has the top hitting team at .364, which is 83 points better than second-place Georgia Tech, with four hitters in the leagues top ten, topped by Alicart with her .556 norm during conference action. LaShaun Davis would be the league leader, but she is two at-bats short of making the minimum requirement of two-at bats for every team game. Alicart also is tops in ACC games for hits, doubles and RBIs while Veronica Wootson leads with two triples and Melissa Wood has the best on-base percentage at .607
Seminole Making Their Way Onto Single Season Charts
With a good portion of the season still remaining, several Seminoles are poised to break into the school’s single-season lists. Shortstop Yuruby Alicart has already found her way onto two, as her 12 doubles this year is tied for sixth, while her seven home runs ties her for seventh. She needs seven more RBIs to get into the top ten at 41. Sophomore hurler Tiffany McDonald’s two saves ties her for fifth in a season. She needs eight appearances, nine wins, 53 strikeouts and 57.2 innings pitched to get into the Top 10. The league leader with six triples, second baseman Veronica Wootson is one back of tying herself and three other player for the seventh most in a season.
Ground Rule Double (News & Notes):
Florida State doubled its win total against ranked opponents this year by taking a pair off No. 25 Georgia Tech. The four wins are the most since 2004 when Florida State claimed 17 wins over ranked teams…Going into this weekend’s series with Virginia, Florida State needs just two ACC wins to become the first school to reach the 100-win mark in conference play. The next closest school is North Carolina at 67…With two stolen bases by Whitney Buckmon and LaShaun Davis at Florida A&M on Monday, the Seminoles need just one more steal to equal last year’s total of 51…The Seminoles may be powered by photosynthesis as they have a 19-10 record during day games, but just an 8-8 mark in night games. The team average goes up to .355 during the day and dips to .255 at night. The pitching staff may be the nocturnal ones as their ERA goes down from 3.12 runs during the day to 2.18 at night.