Feb. 16, 2002
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –
Although it was a non-conference meeting, ACC foes Maryland and Florida State faced each other for the first time in 2002 after five meetings last season. For the second time in the last three meetings the game was won by the Seminoles in their final at bat. At last season’s ACC Tournament, Brandi Stuart hit an 11th-inning walk-off homer to give FSU a 2-1 win. Saturday, she tied the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the sixth with a solo shot to center and FSU won in dramatic fashion again when freshman Tatiana George doubled home the winning run in the bottom of the seventh for the 2-1 win.
George, a freshman shortstop from Fontana, CA, had been heating up as of late and broke out against Maryland. She went 2-for-3 with her first two doubles as a Seminole and she also recorded the first game-winning RBI of her young career.
“We needed that,” said head coach JoAnne Graf. “That is what we saw from Tatiana when we recruited her and she seems to be finding her swing after adjusting to the quality pitching you see in college. That was a great game between two good ACC teams and I think if you are a fan of the game you had to enjoy that one.”
The game was tied at 0-0 for five innings but Florida State threatened Maryland early on. In the second, Stuart singled to first base to lead off the inning. After an Elisa Velasco sacrifice bunt advanced Stuart to second, she stole her 12th base of the season on her 12th attempt moving over to third. Kimmy Carter continued her productive day at the plate with her third hit of the afternoon when she singled to shortstop and then stole second. But FSU was unable to plate the runners as Maryland starter Monica Cyphert (3-1) worked out of the jam.
The Seminoles had another shot to strike first in the third when George launched the first of her two doubls to left field to lead off the inning. After she moved over to third on Shandra Colzie’s ground out, FSU was once again unable to plate a runner from third and stranded its second runner in the first three frames at third base.
In the fourth, FSU left a runner at third again in the 0-0 game when Stuart reached but this time on an error by Terrapin third baseman Nneka Cardoza. Stuart went on to steal her 13th and 14th bases of the year and stood on third with just one out but FSU failed to bring her home.
After Maryland took a 1-0 lead in the top of the sixth, Stuart didn’t rely on anyone else this time as she blasted a 235-foot shot over the center field wall to even the game at 1-1. The Cerritos, CA native took a two-strike, two-out pitch out of the deepest part of the park after staying alive on five foul balls on a 3-2 count. It was the second homer of the season for the Easton 2nd-Team All-American.
After Seminole starter Jessica van der Linden (4-1) retired Maryland in order in the top of the seventh, Carter ignited the Seminoles again when she began the rally by drawing a lead-off walk. Sophomore Julie Jordan then reached on a fielder’s choice but the Terps were unable to put Carter out on the play. Monique Marier then laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt putting runners on second and third and setting the table for George’s heroics. After Cyphert’s first pitch was a ball, George smashed the next offering to deep right center over the drawn in outfield scoring Carter with the winning run.
The win moved FSU to 3-1 in the Seminole Classic and the Seminoles moved into second place all alone behind Georgia (13-0, 2-0). The Seminoles would need to defeat St. Johns and have the Bulldogs loss to Maryland and St Johns in order to capture the tournament title Sunday.
Florida State’s game versus St Johns Sunday, February 17 is scheduled for a 4:00 p.m. start and will be their last game before heading to Albequerque, NM for a round-robin tournament next weekend. The game originially listed for Wednesday, February 20 between Maine and Florida State was actually scheduled for March 20 and will be played at 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. at the Seminole Softball Complex. For complete coverage of Seminole softball please visit our official athletic website at www.seminoles.com.