March 31, 2006 - by
Seminole Softball Game Day: FSU Plays Host To ACC Leader Georgia Tech

March 31, 2006

Florida State hosts #25 Georgia Tech
Sat-Sun, April 1-2 • 1 p.m. (DH)/1 p.m. • Tallahassee, Fla.
JoAnne Graf Field at Seminole Softball Complex (1,000)

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Saturday, April 1
Game One (1 p.m.) GameTracker
Game Two (3 p.m approx) Game Tracker

Sunday, April 2
Game One (1 p.m.) GameTracker

Florida State (25-16, 3-3 ACC)
Home: 22-10
Away: 2-1
Neutral: 1-5
ACC: 3-3

#25 Georgia Tech (29-10, 5-1 ACC)
Home: 9-4
Away: 5-2  N
eutral 15-4 
ACC: 5-1

Base Hits (What You Need To Know):
• Last year’s season sweep by Georgia Tech was the first against Florida State since North Carolina won both games during the 1996 season.

• Despite dropping all three games to the Yellow Jackets last season, the Seminoles still own an 35-9 advantage in the all-time series including an 21-9 mark in ACC play.

• Through the first two weekends of ACC play, Florida State has the top hitting team (.356 average) and pitching staff (0.85 ERA). Catcher Melissa Wood (Lilburn, Ga.) has the top individual average (.600) and freshman Melissa May (San Diego, Calif.) is tied for the league-lead with a 0.00 ERA.

• Shortstop Yuruby Alicart (Maracay, Venezuela) picked up her second ACC Player of the Week Award on Monday after hitting .625 in five games last week.

• Florida State has played the most games (11) against ranked opponents of any school in the conference with a win over #10 Arizona State.

• The Seminoles are 12-3 this year in games following a loss, including a 4-4 mark after a defeat by a ranked opponent.

Seminoles Take On ACC Leading Georgia Tech This Weekend
The Florida State softball team gets back into conference action this weekend when it takes on Atlantic Coast Conference leading Georgia Tech at home. The Seminoles (25-16 overall, 3-3 ACC) and Yellow Jackets (29-10, 5-1) play a 1 p.m. doubleheader on Saturday (April 1) and concluded the three-game set Sunday (April 2) at 1 p.m. Florida State is currently in fifth place in the league.

Florida State Tries Get Back Yellow Jackets For `05 Series
It was something doesn’t happen very often to the Florida State softball team — a sweep — but that’s what the Yellow Jackets did last year to the Seminoles in Atlanta. Georgia Tech took all three games, including a no-hitter in the first contest and nearly got another in the finale, but LaShaun Davis (Marietta, Ga.) broke it up in the top of the seventh. Florida State owns a 35-9 mark against the Yellow Jackets, including 12-3 at home. FSU’s last win over Georgia Tech was a 3-1 decision in the championship game of the 2004 ACC Tournament in Tallahassee.

Offensive Outburst Gives FSU 9-3 Win Over Florida A&M
Continuing its hot hitting, the Seminoles tied a season high as they pounded out 15 hits in a 9-3 victory over Florida A&M on Wednesday (March 29). Rookie Melissa May (San Diego, Calif.) threw her third complete game in a row to improve to 7-5 on the year. Seven of the nine starters picked up at least one hit with five collecting two or more, led by left fielder Natasha Jacob (Coppell, Texas) as she tied her career high at four. First baseman Brittany Osmon (San Diego, Calif.) also tied a career-high as she picked up three base knocks, while Veronica Wootson (Fontana, Calif.), Michelle Snyder (Wenatchee, Wash.) and LaShaun Davis had two each.

Seminoles Give Up Runs Early & Late in 7-2 Loss To #17/18 Auburn
Despite getting a two-run home run in the sixth inning from catcher Melissa Wood (Lilburn, Ga.), the Seminoles couldn’t keep No. 17/18 Auburn off the board late in the game as the Tigers prevailed 7-2 on Thursday (March 30). More than two-thirds of Florida State’s hits came from the trio of Wood, Natasha Jacob and shortstop Yuruby Alicart (Maracay, Venezuela) as they collected two a piece. Getting the win over her alma mater was former Florida State pitcher Tina (Kyler) Deese.

Seminoles Are Taking On The Top Teams
Even though FSU has 16 losses this season, more than half of them have come against teams currently ranked in the Top 25. The Seminoles may have the toughest schedule in the conference with ten games against ranked opponents this year and that will increase by three when FSU plays No. 25 Georgia Tech this weekend. Six of those games have been against the Top Ten, including four against defending champion Michigan while the rest of the league has played just eight games versus the Top Ten. This weekend’s opponent, Georgia Tech, is next with nine games, but after that, only Maryland has more than five games against ranked opponents. FSU and GT have combined for 20 games against ranked teams, compared to 19 by the rest of the ACC.

Bats Are Starting To Heat Up
Just as the conference play is starting to pick, the Florida State bats are getting going. The Seminoles ran their streak of consecutive games with ten or more hits to five with 15 against Florida A&M. The five-game streak is the best by the Seminoles since 2000. So far Florida State has 10 games of 10 or more hits which already eclipses last year’s total of eight. Since 2000, the most double-digit hit games is 21 by the 2004 squad. The last five years the Seminoles have average 15 games of ten or more hits with five-straight seasons of ten or more until last year.

Alicart Rojo Vivo Denominó ACC Jugador De La Semana
Translation: Florida State shortstop Yuruby Alicart may be the hottest player in the ACC right now. The junior transfer is adjusting to Division I pitching it is starting to pay dividends for the Seminoles in terms of stellar offensive production. Alicart won her second ACC Player of the Week honor in three weeks after hitting .625 during the five games last week as she extended her hitting streak to six games. Her other numbers included a gaudy 1.188 slugging percentage to go along with a .667 on-base percentage. Her performance last week improved her overall average to .357 and vaulted her into the ACC top ten for hitting. Alicart had her six-game hitting streak stopped against Florida A&M, but started a new one with a pair of hits against Auburn.

Second POW Award Puts Alicart In Elite Company
Leslie Malerich, Jessica van der Linden, Jennifer White-Stokes and Brandi Stuart. Prior to this season, they were the only Seminoles to earned ACC POW honors more than once in a single year. That list grew by one when Yuruby Alicart picked up her second in three weeks, making her the leader among active players. Malerich collected an FSU-best ten awards, while van der Linden and White-Stokes picked up eight and Stuart added five more. Florida State leads the way with 76 total weekly awards from the league office.

Jacob Setting Up For Another Great Run Down The Home Stretch
This season is starting to eerily resemble last year for left fielder Natasha Jacob. Towards the middle of 2005, her averaged dipped to .302 after an 0-for-5 performance in a doubleheader at Virginia Tech. That next day something was different because she picked up a single that started a 28-game hitting streak. After an 0-for-4 performance in the first game of the Florida International doubleheader in which her averaged dropped to a season-low .298, the All-American candidate has been on a tear at the plate and is in the midst of a six-game hitting streak that has included five multi-hit games. Against Florida A&M she tied a career-high with four base hits and a pair of base knocks against No. 17/18 Auburn upped her season average to .351, the highest its been since the third weekend of the year after the NFCA Leadoff Classic.

McDonald Surpassing Last Year’s Numbers
Not even two-thirds of the way through the season, Florida State pitcher Tiffany McDonald has already surpassed most of her numbers from all of last season. In three appearances last week, the sophomore posted a 2-1 record and 18 strikeouts in 19.1 innings of work. For the year she has a 15-10 record and 169 strikeouts in 168 innings, which exceeds all of her stats from last season. The right-hander is the league leader in wins, appearances (29), complete games (19) while rating third in strikeouts. McDonald is on pace to make 47 appearances, which would tie her fourth on the single season charts and her projected 270 innings pitched would be the sixth most.

FSU Is Top Statistical Team During Conference Play
During the young ACC season, the Seminoles are tops in the league with a .356 batting average and a 0.85 ERA. Melissa Wood is the top hitter during league games with a .600 average while pitcher Melissa May is tied for the lead with a 0.00 ERA. FSU has three of the top ten hitters during ACC games with Yuruby Alicart hitting .556 (2nd) and Veronica Wootson (Fontana, Calif.) coming in 10th at .389. Close behind May is Tiffany McDonald with her fifth-place 1.06 ERA. Alicart is tops in ACC play for hits (10) and RBIs (7), while Wood is the leader in doubles (3) and on-base percentage (.647) and Wootson leads the way with her two triples.

Defense Wins Championships?
Most teams need to play solid defense in order to win. That isn’t necessarily the case for the Seminoles this year. Florida State is 13-8 when it commits one error or less, but only 12-8 when committing more than one. This year, the Seminoles have committed 69 errors so far and are on pace to record a school-record 112 miscues. Even more bizarre is how FSU performance at the plate. The Seminoles are hitting 30 points higher – .297 vs. .267 – when they commit two or more errors with eight players hitting better than .300. Some of the best teams in school history weren’t necessarily the best fielding ones. The 1987 (97 errors), 2002 (94) and 2004 (78) squads all rank in the top 10 for most errors in a season and all went to the World Series. The 1996 squad that was in the NCAA Regional finals set the school record with 98 errors that year.

Davis On The Upswing
If Yuruby Alicart hadn’t put up the strong numbers she did, right fielder LaShaun Davis (Marietta, Ga.) may have taken home player of the week honors. During the last five games the junior hit .600 with a pair of runs scored. Her best game was a 3-for-3 performance in the nightcap of Saturday’s doubleheader. Her efforts at the plate raised her season norm to .333, which is the third-highest average on the team, and is the highest its been since the first week of the season.

May Day
While she might not have the number of pitches that Tiffany McDonald has or throws as hard as fellow freshman Kayla Collins (Niceville, Fla.), Melissa May is quietly have a very solid freshman campaign. The lefty won her second start in a row on Wednesday when she beat Florida A&M with her third consecutive complete game. The rookie has thrown at least five innings in seven of her last nine appearances. Among rookie hurlers, May is the league leader with 18 appearances, while her 79 innings pitched is second.

Ground Rule Double (News & Notes):
After a pair of home runs from Auburn, the pitching staff has given up 22 round trippers, just one off the record set by the 1997 staff…Senior Kim Hoffer (Houston, Texas) picked up her first double of the season with a ball in the gap against Auburn…Veronica Wootson has either scored or driven in the winning run for Florida State in its last three victories…The Seminoles have stolen 46 bases this year, which is just five less than all of last season. Since 2000, Florida State has averaged 87 stolen bases…The Seminoles are the ACC leader with 18 triples and are third behind Georgia Tech (99) and North Carolina (81) with 80 extra-base hits.

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