March 2, 2006
Florida State hosts #7/8 Michigan & Sunshine State Touranment
March 2 & March 3-4 5 p.m. & All Day Tallahassee, Fla.
JoAnne Graf Field at Seminole Softbal Complex (1,000)
Florida State (9-5)
#7/8 Michigan (7-4)
Big Ten: 0-0
Western Michigan (6-3)
Base Hits (What You Need To Know):
Thursday’s game with Michigan will be the first time the defending national champion has played in Tallahassee.
Florida State snapped a three-game losing streak with a 5-2 victory over Florida A&M on Tuesday. Sophomore Tiffany McDonald (Belfair, Wash.) picked up her seventh win as she reached seven wins quicker than any FSU pitcher last season by one week.
The Seminoles are 5-2 in home tournaments this season and were champions of the Seminole Classic. Last year Florida State was 9-4 in home tournaments.
Florida State associate head coach Louie Berndt was an All-Region second baseman at Western Michigan, the Seminoles second opponent on Friday at 6:30 p.m.
Seminoles Take On Reigning National Champion Michigan
Now in her 28th season at Florida State University, there are very few first for head coach Dr. JoAnne Graf, but for the first time in her coaching tenure, the defending national champions will be playing on her field. Thursday’s (March 2) meeting between the Seminoles (9-5 overall) and the No. 7/8 Michigan Wolverines (7-4) will mark the first time the reigning national champion as played at Florida State.
UM Joins Western Michigan And Maryland In Sunshine State Tourney
Florida State will get at least two cracks, if not three, against the champs as Michigan sticks around for the Sunshine State Tournament. In addition, Western Michigan (4-3) and Maryland (6-5) will take part in the tournament. The Seminoles and Wolverines will battle at 4 p.m. on Friday (March 3) followed by FSU and Western Michigan at 6:30 p.m. Saturday (March 4) FSU will wrap up round robin play at 1:30 p.m. against the Terrapins.
Seminole Unlucky Against The Champs
If Florida State can pull off a victory against the Wolverines, it would be the first time that the Seminoles won against a defending national champion. Currently, Florida State is 0-14 against the last team to hoist the trophy. The Seminoles haven’t played a defending champion since the 2002 season when they lost to Arizona, 6-2, in 11 innings at the Women’s College World Series.
Florida State Stops Three-Game Slide At Florida A&M
It took a trip home, well at least to their home city, for the Seminoles to end their three-game losing streak. Florida State got back on the winning track Tuesday (February 28) when it beat cross town rival Florida A&M 5-2. The Seminoles also ended a scoreless drought of 12 innings.
Homecoming Week Part II
For the second time this year, a member of the FSU staff will coach against her alma mater. Associate head coach Louie Berndt was two-time All-American at Western Michigan and led the Broncos to two WCWS berths. In addition, Berndt lettered three times in basketball and is a member of the WMU Hall of Fame. During the Seminole Classic, pitching coach Megan Matthews Bunning played against her alma mater South Carolina.
Happy Meals For Everyone, McDonald Is On Her Game
Over her last five outings, right-hander Tiffany McDonald has been nothing short of outstanding. The sophomore’s ERA is a minuscule 0.55 runs per game while her record is 3-1 over that span. The 2005 ACC Co-Freshman of the Year has thrown three complete games and has 27 strikeouts in 25.2 innings while opponents are hitting .163. During those five games, McDonald’s ERA has dropped by over a run and a half to its current mark of 2.30. The lone blemish on her record over the last five games is a 1-0 loss to No. 2 Tennessee in which she went toe-to-toe with two-time All-American Monica Abbott.
Golden McDonald Part II
For the second time this season, Tiffany McDonald struck out ten or more batters as she fanned an even 10 against the Rattlers. The win was her seventh of the season, getting her to seven wins faster than any Florida State pitcher last season. She rates among the league leaders in seven different categories and is the ACC’s top dog in wins (7), innings pitched (54.2), appearances (11), starts (97) and saves (1). Nearly all of her numbers are better from the end of February last year, with two more victories, 22 more strikeouts and ten less walks in 15 more innings of work.
What’s In The Water In Wenatchee?
If she stays on her current pace, third baseman Michelle Snyder (Wenatchee, Wash.) could be brining home Florida State’s third-straight ACC Freshman of the Year honor. The rookie is in the top five among league rookies in nearly every offensive category, including RBIs where she is tied for fourth overall. Second on the team with four extra-base hits, she is far and away the team leader with five multi-hit games after a 2-for-4 performance at Florida A&M on Tuesday.
As Natasha Goes, So Do The Seminoles
It’s hard to hit a quiet .349, but left fielder Natasha Jacob (Coppell, Texas) may be doing just that. Lost in the shuffle her ACC record-setting 28 game hitting streak and 36-game on-base streak, the All-America candidate has been the most reliable hitter on the team this year. Jacob is the only player on team to not go more than one game without collecting a hit and has scored a team-best 12 runs. No player on the team is better at setting the table with .458 average as the leadoff hitter in the inning with twice as many chances.
Seminoles Providing Timely At-Hits
Florida State has been great at getting runs across, it has just been a matter of getting them in scoring position. This year, the Seminoles are hitting .345 with runners in scoring position and .393 with a runner on third and less than two outs. FSU’s best hitter with runners in scoring position? All-America candidate Veronica Wootson (Fontana, Calif.). The second baseman is hitting .600 (9-of-15) with runners on second and/or third. With a runner on third and less than two outs, the Seminoles hope either Michelle Snyder or Kim Hoffer (Houston, Texas) is up to bat as both are hitting .500 at 9-of-18 and 5-of-10 respectively. Sophomore Whitney Buckmon (Stone Mountain, Ga.) is second on the team with a .400 average with runners in scoring position while Snyder, Hoffer and Yuruby Alicart (Maracay, Venezuela) are all hitting over .300 with runners in position.
Score First Or Go Home
A lot can be said for scoring the first run of the game, at least for the Seminoles. Florida State is a perfect 8-0 wen it scores the first run of the game. The only game that FSU’s has won when the opponent scores first was the first contest against Georgia Southern when the Eagles crossed the plate twice in the first inning. Florida State responded with a run in the first and then one in the fourth and fifth innings. Keeping in that same spirit, the Seminoles are 5-0 when they score a run in the first inning.
Saturday’s game with Maryland in the Sunshine State Tournament is Florida State’s first contest against an Atlantic Coast Conference school outside league play since 2002 when it met Georgia Tech in the 2002 NCAA Regional. The last regular season meeting came in 2002 when Florida State beat the Terrapins 2-1 in the Seminole Classic. Since it joined the league in 1992, Florida State is 12-2 against league schools outside of conference games and the ACC Tournament, having met North Carolina the most times (5).
Florida State senior co- captain Carly Brieske (Safety Harbor, Fla.) was a teammate of Maryland pitcher Crystal Crews at Countryside High School. Michigan rookie Allison Kidman also attended Countryside.