March 10, 2006
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –
“It ain’t over,’til it’s over.” That was the mantra of baseball Hall of Famer Yogi Berra and it’s quickly taking hold for the Florida State softball team. For the third time in five wins, the Seminoles had to rally late as they scored four of their five runs in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings to beat Connecticut 5-2 during Friday’s (March 10) action at the Florida State Invitational.
Florida State won its third game in a row as it improved to 14-8 on the year. UConn dropped its third game to FSU this week as it fell to 4-6.
After getting the day off during Tuesday’s doubleheader with the Huskies, sophomore Tiffany McDonald (Belfair, Wash.) went the distance to improve her record to 9-5. UConn’s Rachael Crossin took the loss as she fell to 0-2. For the third time this season, McDonald reached double digits in strikeouts, fanning 10 batters while giving up just two earned runs on seven hits with two walks.
Down a run in the top of the seventh, Whitney Buckmon (Stone Mountain, Ga.) manufactured the tying run with a help of the UConn fielders. The sophomore laid down a perfect bunt and beat the throw to first as it sailed down the right field line, advancing her to third. An errant throw by Huskie first baseman allowed her to score.
After McDonald set UConn down in order in the bottom of the seventh, the game was decided by the international tiebreaker with a runner put on second base at the start of the inning. Florida State struck first when Yuruby Alicart (Maracay, Venezuela) scored on a double by Brittany Osmon (San Diego, Calif). The Huskies answered in their half of the eight when Kim Castner poked a single through the middle to score Jillian Ortega.
In the top of the ninth, Natasha Jacob (Coppell, Texas) stole third then scored when the UConn catcher could not hold on to the throw. Buckmson, would hit the grounder, advanced the whole way to third on the play. She scored an insurance run on a ground out by Michelle Snyder (Wenatchee, Wash.) to make it a 5-3 game. McDonald slammed the door with a one-two-three ninth to secure the victory.
The Huskies put together a rally in the third inning to produce the first runs of the game. Deemed the home team by a coin flip, UConn’s Micha Truax walked, then moved up on a single by Ortega. Allie Gendron followed with a double to score Truax and Danielle Del Ponte finished the scoring with a single to plate Oregtea.
Florida State’s first hit didn’t come until the third inning when Buckmon dumped a single into shallow right field. It would another two innings before FSU would get another hit as Carly Brieske (Safety Harbor, Fla.) singled up the middle, the first of her two hits, with one out in the fifth. One out later, Kim Hoffer (Houston, Texas) followed with a single to put runners on second and third. Back-to-back walks to Melissa Wood (Lilburn, Ga.) and Osmon brought in Florida State’s first run, but it couldn’t get the tying run across as it left the base loaded.
Florida State continues pool play in the FSU Invitational at 6 p.m. against Kent State.