May 21, 2006
ATHENS, Ga. –
A month ago, the Florida State University softball team was on the brink of not even making the NCAA Tournament, let alone entertaining the idea of advancing to the super regional. Now the Seminoles are two wins away from their eighth Women’s College World Series as they beat No. 8 Georgia, 2-0, on Sunday (May 21) win the Athens Regional of the NCAA Tournament and move on to the Super Regional.
Up next for Florida State is the sixth-seed Arizona State in Tempe, Ariz. Game dates and times will be announced on Monday. The Seminoles beat the Sun Devils 1-0 in nine innings on March 16 at the Judi Garman Classic in Fullerton, Calif.
“I’m just proud of our kids and proud of their heart in bouncing back after that early loss,” FSU head coach Dr. JoAnne Graf said. “It was a battle. I think both games were close, and both games could have been won by either team. I’m glad that we came in only having to win one game today.”
The victory improves Florida State’s record to 44-28 on the year as FSU has bettered last year’s record by nine games. Georgia ends the year at 54-15.
Even though she was making her first start since April 1, after missing 22 games with an illness, freshman pitcher Melissa May (San Diego, Calif.) was spectacular for the Seminoles. The left-hander threw a three-hit shut out to improve to 8-6. May struck out four batters and issued just one walk. Taking the loss was the Bulldogs Kasi Carroll as she dropped to 30-7.
“I was really excited when they told me I was going to go in,” May said. “To be able to come in after Tiffany was able to carry us her and to be able to come through for her when she was really tired meant a lot to me. I was so nervous, but it was a lot of fun, and I knew my defense was going to be there for me.”
All the scoring Florida State would end up needing came in the top of the third inning. The Seminoles took a 1-0 lead when Shortstop Yuruby Alicart (Maracay, Venezuela) drilled an opposite field home run over the fence in right field.
Florida State got a big break in the top of the seven as it added an insurance run. With one out, pinch hitter Carey Galuppi (Boca Raton, Fla.) punch a ball into right field. Right fielder LaShaun Davis (Marietta, Ga.) followed with a chopper that bounced off the glove of UGA second baseman Chelsea Cantillo and ricocheted into right field. Galuppi raced to third and came around to score when right fielder Victoria Sanders bobbled the ball.
From there, May shut the door on the Bulldogs, educing a ground out and a pair of strikeouts, including shortstop Alison Horne for the final out. The freshman did not allow a batter to get past second base the entire game and only one UGA runner got into scoring position.
“I’m just so proud of her right now,” Graf said of May. “I have to tell you, to come into a situation like this and to perform the way she did, the composure for a freshman that hasn’t thrown many games and to come in for a must-win situation, she carried us here today and got us to Super Regionals.”
Florida State is only ACC team to make it to the Super Regional and one of only two unranked teams (UMASS) to advance.