April 23, 2005
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida State senior Lesley Palmer went 3-for-5 with a double, three RBIs, and scored two runs on the day as the Seminoles defeated Virginia 5-3, 4-0 in a doubleheader on JoAnne Graf Field at the Seminole Softball Complex Saturday afternoon. The Cavs (23-28, 7-6 ACC) entered the Atlantic Coast Conference showdown with the Seminoles (31-18, 10-6 ACC) owning a slight edge in the league race so both victories proved important for FSU. FSU will look to win its season-long sixth straight game in the series finale Sunday at 1:00 p.m.
Junior left fielder Natasha Jacob extended her hit streak to 10 games with a 3-for-7 day at the plate that included a double and three runs scored.
“I was really pleased with how we played today,” Florida State head coach Dr. JoAnne Graf stated, “Virginia is a really good team and they never let up. We scored early in the first game so that really put the pressure on them. Casey [Hunter] threw awesome that first game and Tiffany McDonald did well at the beginning of the second. We made some defensive errors but we had enough runs to cover them. Overall I’m really pleased with our performance.”
The Tribe came out swinging and never looked back as they racked up nine runs on 13 hits including three doubles and a triple. In the circle, the Seminole pitchers combined for 13 scoreless innings, 22 strikeouts, 11 hits and seven walks. Hunter earned the win during the first outing and got a save in the backend of the twin bill. Meanwhile, McDonald logged a victory in the second contest after throwing 5.0 innings.
“Today was really big,” Hunter said after the games. “I thought both Tiffany and I threw well. I believe everything is starting to flow with our team…we are hitting, throwing and fielding better. After four years of playing at Florida State, I have so many great memories on this field and I would like to go out on top.”
FLORIDA STATE 5, VIRGINIA 3
The Seminoles broke the first game open in the first inning with three runs on four hits. Junior Natasha Jacob got it started when she led off with a bunt single and scored on a Tatiana George hit before Palmer made it 2-0 with an RBI shot down the left field line. In the following at-bat and with Palmer on base, LaShaun Davis hit a towering triple to give the Seminoles a comfortable 3-0 advantage.
After Hunter put to rest three Cavs who went down swinging in the top of the second, Florida State tacked on two more when Veronica Wootson led off with a single and advanced to second on a passed ball. Jacob doubled and Kim Hoffer followed with a sacrifice RBI fly which allowed Wootson to cross the plate for the 4-0 lead. The final FSU run of the game came when George reached on a third base error that brought in Jacob (5-0).
Hunter held Virginia to four scoreless innings until the top of the fifth, when the Cavs scored three runs off of one hit and one error to make the score 5-3. However, the senior pitcher from Millstadt, Ill., gave up just one hit the remaining two innings as Florida State survived.
Jacob went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and LaShaun Davis was 1-for-3 at the plate. Hunter (17-12) hurled 7.0 innings and struck out an outstanding 12 batters. Coty Tolar got the loss in the circle for Virginia and dropped to 9-13 on the season.
FLORIDA STATE 4, VIRGINIA 0
In the backend of the doubleheader, Lesley Palmer played perhaps her best offensive game of the season as she went 2-for-3 with 2 RBIs and scored one run for Florida State in a 4-0 shutout against Virginia. Tiffany McDonald, the game two starter, improved to 14-5 and allowed six hits, two walks and struck out eight. Casey Hunter registered her second save of the season, throwing two innings and giving up no hits and one walk.
The Seminoles scored three in the third and one in the sixth inning, recording four total runs off of five hits.
A fielding error by the shortstop scored junior Natasha Jacob, who had reached base on a single, in the bottom of the third inning. During the next at-bat, Palmer singled and scored Tatiana George and Kim Hoffer who had got on because of a fielder’s choice and a walk, respectively. After three innings, the Tribe owned a healthy 3-0 lead.
Florida State endured a scare in the top of the sixth inning with the bases loaded and no outs. A shallow pop fly went near the second base bag before shortstop Hoffer made a diving catch and then touched second base for the double play. Hunter closed the inning with a strikeout as two runners were left on base.
In the bottom of the sixth, Palmer led off with a double and LaShaun Davis advanced her to third with a sacrifice bunt. When sophomore Veronica Wootson, who reached on a walk, stole second the catcher threw down the ball and Palmer jogged home on the throw for the easy fourth run of the contest.
The Cavs would net six hits in the contest but left 10 players stranded on base.
“It finally feels like the line-up fits,” George said, referring to her team’s success in recent games. “It seems like the door has kind of opened for us and if we can keep hitting then we should do well.”