Feb. 19, 2005
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The 18th-ranked and top-seeded Florida State softball team, despite easing through round robin play with a perfect 3-0 record, dropped a 2-1 contest to fourth-seeded Syracuse in the first round of bracket play Saturday afternoon at the 2005 Sunshine State Tournament. The Seminoles’ hopes of a tournament title fell just one run short as the Orange advanced to the championship game. They will face South Carolina on Sunday morning at 11:00 a.m. for the Sunshine State crown.
“We are a team that takes it one game at a time,” said junior catcher BillieAnne Gay, “so we didn’t realize we were eliminated from the tournament after the loss. Therefore, it was definitely disappointing to know that we couldn’t turn around and fight to get back into the championship game tomorrow. Our three games prior to the loss were really strong victories, so this was definitely a bittersweet ending to the weekend.”
In the Tribe’s first battle of the day, FSU shutout Southeastern Louisiana, 6-0, thanks to the outstanding pitching performance brought on by freshman Tiffany McDonald. McDonald logged her fourth win of the season (4-0) and her ERA is a team-low 0.59.
On the day, Gay recorded a .667 batting average that included two hits in three at bats against the Lions. Sophomore LaShaun Davis went 2-for-3 (.667) versus the Orange, and freshman Whitney Buckmon and Veronica Wootson each had two hits in six at bats for a .333 mark in both contests combined.
FLORIDA STATE 6, SOUTHEASTERN LOUISIANA 0
Freshman pitcher Tiffany McDonald (4-0, 0.59 ERA) kept her perfect record intact and logged her second shutout of the young season against the Southeastern Louisiana Lions, 6-0, after pitching six innings of solid ball that included 10 strikeouts and only one hit in Florida State’s first game of the day Saturday at the Seminole Softball Complex. Sophomore Amy Harrison added relief for McDonald in the seventh inning and struck out two batters.
The Seminoles scored in the first, second, and sixth innings, with the first run coming when Wootson singled and cleanup hitter Tatiana George drove in her first triple of the season to score the second baseman. In the bottom of the second, LaShaun Davis doubled, which moved pinch runner Carey Galuppi to third. On the following play, Gay reached base on an error by the shortstop and Galuppi and Davis put points on the board for FSU
The sixth inning was an outstanding performance for the Seminoles, as they totaled three runs and five hits. Senior third baseman Lesley Palmer had the first hit with a single to left center, and then Galuppi got up next and connected on a deep shot to the outfield that allowed her to register a double, scoring pinch runner Carly Brieske. Freshman Brittany Osmon got up next and had a two-run single that scored Galuppi and Brieske. In the Seminoles’ next two at bats, Davis and Gay recorded back-to-back singles and both players advanced bases on throws. Davis scored the third and final run of the inning when she reached home on an unearned run when the shortstop made an error.
Eight different players had at least one hit, and Davis and Gay tallied two, respectively. Osmon had two RBI and George recorded one.
At the conclusion of the game, the Tribe was awarded the No. 1 seed and the remaining three teams finished with a tie for the Nos. 2-4 seeds. Tournament officials calculated the run differential between the schools for the tiebreaker, and South Carolina earned the second seed, followed by SE Louisiana (No. 3) and No. 4 went to Syracuse.
SYRACUSE 2, FLORIDA STATE 1
The Seminoles and Orange each tallied three hits, but Tanya Rose’s two-out homerun on a changeup pitch in the top of the fifth inning cost FSU the close 2-1 game Saturday afternoon in the first round of bracket play of the Sunshine State Tournament. The Tribe was eliminated and the Orange moved on to the championship game that will take place Sunday at 11:00 a.m.
Senior NFCA 2nd Team All-American Casey Hunter (3-4, 1.11 ERA) pitched seven complete innings and gave up just three hits and retired an impressive 12 batters. Courtney Mosch (2-2) earned the win for Syracuse after throwing 4.2 innings and Erin Downey had the save.
Syracuse’s staff struck out just three FSU batters.
Florida State’s only run occurred in the bottom of the third inning when junior Natasha Jacob walked and Buckmon put down a sacrifice bunt to advance Jacob to second. Just as in the last four games, it was all Wootson as the NFCA 2nd Team All-American doubled and scored Jacob.
Buckmon, Jacob, and Wootson had the only hits of the game for the Seminoles. Buckmon and Jacob both singled in the fifth with two outs, and Wootson reached base on a wild pitch after a strikeout to load up the bases. However, George hit a hard grounder to the shortstop to retire the inning.
Florida State will travel to Columbus, Ga., for the prestigious 10th-Annual NFCA Leadoff Classic next week. The Seminoles will battle Oklahoma, Michigan State, and LeHigh in Pool Play. The first game is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 25, at noon between LeHigh and FSU. Live stats and audio will be available.