April 3, 2007
Florida State Softball
Florida State at No. 22 Florida
Wednesday, April 4 4 p.m. (DH)
Gainesville, Fla. Florida Softball Stadium
Play-By-Play: Larry Vettel / Color Commentary: Steven Russell
First Pitch (What You Need To Know):
Riding a four-game winning streak, the Florida State softball team is on the road for its next five games, starting Wednesday (April 4) at instate rival #22 Florida. The Seminoles and Gators play a 4 p.m. doubleheader that can be seen on Sun Sports.
The Seminoles lead the all-time series 13-7 over the Gators, but are just 6-4 in Gainesville. Florida State swept last year’s doubleheader in Tallahassee — 4-0 and 6-5 — but UF swept both of 2005’s games at home — 7-4 & 2-0.
Florida State swept its first conference weekend since 2005 as it took all three games last weekend against Maryland.
The first game of Saturday’s doubleheader tied a conference record by going 14 innings. Florida State and Virginia Tech played the first 14-inning game in ACC history during the 2005 league tournament.
Junior pitcher Tiffany McDonald (Belfair, Wash.) tied former FSU hurler Casey Hunter for the single-game conference record as she threw all 14 innings of Saturday’s game. Her 23 strikeouts in the game are a school record, second most in ACC history – three behind Virginia Tech’s Angela Tincher – and tied for 15th in NCAA history.
Freshmen outfielders Carly Wynn (Sharpsburg, Ga.) and Monica Montez (Corona, Calif.) were the top hitters on the team last week with .500 and .429 batting averages, respectively. Montez had the biggest hit of the week as her two-run walk-off home run ended the 14-inning marathon on Saturday against the Terrapins.
Seminoles Head Down To Gainesville To Take On #22 Gators
Riding a four-game winning streak, the Florida State softball team travels south to take on instate rival Florida on Wednesday (April 4). The 4 p.m. doubleheader can be seen live on Sun Sports. The Seminoles (27-15 overall, 5-4 ACC) come into the games after sweeping a weekend series against Maryland. Florida State leads series 13-7 over the Gators (28-16, 6-8 SEC) after sweeping last year’s games in Tallahassee and has a 6-4 mark in Gainesville.
FSU Hopes Florida Has Championship Hangover Again
Maybe Florida was still swept up in the emotions of the winning last year’s NCAA men’s basketball championship as the Seminoles won both of last year’s games in Tallahassee. Following each of the last football national championships won by the schools, the two teams have split their following doubleheader. After the 1997 Sugar Bowl in which Florida beat Florida State, the two school split a doubleheader in Gainesville in the first meeting since Florida brought the sport back. Three years later following the Seminoles’ victory in the 2000 Sugar Bowl the softball squads split once again in Tallahassee.
Seminoles Look To Buck Home Field Trend
Over the last three years the home team has been at a definite advantage as the host has won the last five meetings, including Florida State’s sweep last year. It’s been since the Seminoles sweep of the 2003 twinbill in Gainesville that the visiting team has won a game. Prior its 2005 trip to UF, Florida State had won its last five games in Gainesville, dating back to the second game of the 1999 doubleheader. On the road against all of the state schools, Florida State is 98-20 with 40 of those wins coming at Florida A&M.
Gators Pose Tough Challenger For the Seminoles
Prior to its slip up in Oxford, the Gators were playing about as well as anyone in the south. Going into its series with the Rebels, UF had won seven-straight games, including a three-game sweep of No. 18 Georgia. So far this season the Gators are 1-2 against the ACC with a pair of losses to NC State in Gainesville and a victory over Georgia Tech at the NFCA Leadoff Classic. UF is 4-6 against ranked non-conference teams, including a 3-1 decision over national champion Arizona. Infielder Kim Waleszonia is one of two players on the team with a batting average over .300 with her team-high .354 rate as the Gators are only hitting .242 as a team. All 28 of UF’s wins have come from pitchers Stacey Nelson and Stacey Stevens. Nelson is tops with a 1.15 ERA and 153 strikeouts.
FSU Tries To Repeat Last Year’s Sweep
A masterful pitching performance by Tiffany McDonald and a clutch hit in the eighth inning by Yuruby Alicart (Maracay, Venezuela) gave FSU a sweep of last year’s games. McDonald took a no-hitter into the fifth and surrendered just two hits as FSU took the opener 2-0. Florida grabbed a 5-3 lead in the fifth inning of game two, but the Seminoles came back with two of their own in the sixth to tie game. In eighth, Whitney Buckmon (Stone Mountain, Ga.) singled to start the inning and scored on Alicart’s double.
FSU Moves Up To Third In ACC With Sweep Of Terrapins
After facing two of the toughest pitching staffs in the league, the Seminoles got their offense going last weekend as they swept the weekend series from Maryland. A two-run, walk-off home run by Monica Montez ended a 14-inning marathon -tying the longest game in conference history – with the 4-2 victory. Tiffany McDonald threw all 14 innings and struck out 23 to get the victory. Riding the momentum from the big win, the Seminoles broke open a close game with five runs in the fifth and sixth innings to take the second game 6-0 behind a strong performance from Terese Gober (McDonough, Ga.). FSU built a 3-0 lead in the first inning of Sunday’s finale and never looked back as they pounded out nine hits and capitalized on six Maryland errors to give Melissa May (San Diego, Calif.) the 8-0 triumph in five innings.
FSU Fairing Well Versus The SEC
Florida State is 2-1 against the SEC this year. FSU beat South Carolina 8-3 during the Sunshine State Tournament and handed Mississippi State a 4-2 loss at the NFCA Leadoff Classic. The Seminoles lone loss to the conference is a 2-1 defeat to Georgia in the championship game of the Florida State Invitational. Last season the Seminoles posted a 5-4 mark against the league, including two victory over Georgia in the NCAA Regional. It has been since 2004 – when it went 3-4 versus the conference – that FSU has not had a wining record against the SEC. The Seminoles do particularly well against the conference in the postseason, holding a 6-3 record in the NCAA Tournament.
Florida State Posts Back-to-Back Shutouts
For First Time Since 2005 With a young pitching staff last season shutouts were a rare occurrence and while the Seminoles had come close, they hadn’t put together back-to-back shutouts this year until they blanked Maryland 6-0 & 8-0. The consecutive goose eggs were the first by Florida State since it blanked UCF 1-0 and then Maryland 1-0 during the 2005 season. The 8-0 shutout by Melissa May snapped a streak of 134-straight games without back-to-back shutouts. So far this season FSU has 11 shutouts, compared to just nine last season and 15 the year before. During the 2004 WCWS campaign the Seminoles had 35 shutouts, including two stretches with four-straight. Ironically, FSU came into the weekend after being shutout in back-to-back games for the first time since 2003.
No Fear Of The Turtle As McDonald Sets School Record With 23 Ks
It’s a feat that will go down as one of the best single-game performances by a Florida State pitcher. Hurler Tiffany McDonald carried the Seminoles on her back for 14 innings against Maryland during a record-setting performance. The 14 innings ties Casey Hunter for the FSU single-game record and her 23 strikeouts is a school record. To look at it another way, McDonald essentially threw a doubleheader and struck out 11 in the first seven innings and 12 in the second seven. Only Va Tech’s Angela Tincher (26) has struck out more batters in an ACC game. Even though she gave up two runs to the Terps, she threw enough innings for her ERA to go down to the ACC’s second lowest rate of 1.04.
May Continues To Silence Sophomore Slump In The Circle
While she didn’t know it at the time, this point last year was when sophomore pitcher Melissa May was sidelined with mononucelousis. When comparing her numbers to this point in the season for her first two seasons, May is a much better pitcher this year. Her ERA is nearly two runs less this season, she has one more victory and four less losses. May has also been tops on the team during conference play, holding a 3-0 record and a 0.38 ERA that is the second lowest. On Sunday against Maryland she set a new career-high as she struckout seven batters in only five innings.
Three Headed Monster Pacing FSU Pitching Staff
While most pitching coaches have two solid pitchers, Florida State Megan Matthews Buning has the benefit of three talented pitchers. The Seminoles not only have three starters in the top 10 in ERA, all three hurlers are in the top five! Tiffany McDonald is second at 1.04, followed by Melissa May in third at 1.37 and Terese Gober’s rate of 2.12 sits fifth. As a staff, Florida State ranks second, just 0.04 behind Virginia Tech and opposing batters are only hitting .189 against the Seminoles, which is also second. The Seminoles have also done a better job of limiting free passes with only eight walks in the last nine games to drop their rate to 2.44 per game, which is second in the ACC.
Montez Knows How To Come Through With Dramatic Home Runs
While she doesn’t hit home runs very often, freshman Monica Montez has a flare for the dramatic when it comes to the long ball. The outfielder belted her second walk-off home run of the year to beat Maryland 4-2 in 14 innings on Saturday. Even though this was her second walk-off, it was her first game winner as her two-run blast versus Samford ended the game in five innings. Last week Montez posted the second best average on the team with a .429 rate (6-of-14) to go along with five runs scored and four RBIs. The Corona, Calif., native raised her overall average up to .371 – second on the squad – and she is second on the team with a .455 batting average during conference games. Her average would rate her second during league games, but she at 11 at-bats she is seven short of making the minimum requirement of two at-bats per team game.
Wynn Was A Doubles Machine Versus Maryland
Every time you looked up during the weekend series with Maryland, freshman Carly Wynn seemed to be on second base. After producing just one double during the first 22 games of her collegiate career , she belted a pair in each game of Saturday’s doubleheader. The Sharpsburg, Ga., native would be the top doubles hitter during conference games at 0.83 doubles per game, but she is just one at-bat shy of qualifying for the ACC standard. Wynn added a single in the 14-inning marathon for a career-high three hits while driving in a run during the second contest. After a 7-for-14 performance last week with four runs scored she has widened her margin as the top hitter on the team at .397 average to go along with a .571 slugging percentage that is third and the second-best on-base percentage of .435. Wynn is also the top hitter on the team during ACC games with a .471 rate that would put her second.
News and Notes:
Florida State took over the top spot in the ACC with 1.59 ERA. The Seminoles also improved their league batting average by 50 points … FSU is struggling to get production out of its senior class as its four seniors: Veronica Wootson, LaShaun Davis, Yuruby Alicart and Brittany Krbec combined to go 9-for-53 last week (.169). Wootson does not have a hit in her last 23 at bats, and 28 plate appearances, dating back to game two of the Virginia Tech doubleheader when she led off with a home run … The Seminoles have only committed more than one error once in the last two weeks to up their fielding percentage to .958 on the year, equaling just after the Georgia Southern game (February 13) for the highest it’s been all season … FSU is second during ACC games at .976 fielding percentage … The Seminoles lead the ACC with 24 double plays turned, which is four off last year’s mark and teams have only doubled up FSU five times.