April 3, 2004
Tallahassee, FL –
It may not have been pretty but the fourth-ranked Seminole softball team found away to win its ninth game of the year from a ranked opponent while also extending its 22-game ACC winning streak. Casey Hunter (23-1) picked up her second win of the day as she came in to relieve Jessica van der Linden in the fifth as FSU (40-4, 2-0) came back from a 1-0 deficit to down No. 23 Georgia Tech (31-10, 0-2) 2-1. The junior improved her record to 23-1 on the year and faced just 10 batters in three innings of work.
“This was a huge sweep for us,” said Elisa Vasquez. “Georgia Tech is a great team and they are so tough every year. This keeps our momentum going and should serve as a springboard for us as we continue ACC play.”
For Hunter, she continued her streak of not allowing a run to the Jackets in her three year career. The victory was the 14th consecutive win for the junior and she has not lost since February 29th.
“It is very exciting to get two victories in one day against a great Georgia Tech team,” said Hunter. “I felt a little rough in the first game but after seven innings of warm-up I did a little better when I came in to the second game. It is easy for me to come into a game like this because the butterflies are gone and I am already warmed-up. It also helps that I have seen the batters already.”
Georgia Tech got off to a great start in game two of the twin bill thanks to All-America candidate Tara Knudsen. The senior picked up her third hit of the day when she smacked a 0-1 offering from van der Linden over the wall in left center field. It was just the second home run allowed by the All-American this year and the 10th on the season for Knudsen.
The Seminoles looked to even the game in the second versus Georgia Tech starter Erin Voeltz (12-4). Lesley Palmer drew a lead-off walk and was sacrificed to second. After a pop out, pinch runner Tatiana George swiped third base. It looked like the run would score as Carly Brieske’s liner to center was about to fall in but a great diving stab by Soraya Reddick ended the inning and the FSU threat.
Florida State led off its second straight inning with a walk as Kim Hoffer opened the third by working a free pass. Once again the Seminoles were not able to manufacture a run as Hoffer didn’t get off of first and Voeltz kept her no-hitter alive through three innings.
In the top of the fourth a collision between van der Linden and Lesley Palmer on a pop out sent the third baseman to the bench. After the Tribe shuffled its infield, the Jackets put pressure on the Tribe D immediately. Back-to-back singles put Georgia Tech in position to extend its lead with just one away. A walk to the seven-hole hitter really put FSU in a jam with the bases full. The senior hurler got the second out of the frame on a strikeout and then got out of the fourth on a well hit ball to center that Carly Brieske hauled in.
For the third straight frame the Tribe put the leadoff runner on base and this time van der Linden, who reached via a Tech error, was moved to second on a Julie Tiggis sacrifice. Beth Wade’s tough day continued as the senior hit the first offering right at the left fielder for the second out of the fourth. Elisa Vasquez then came through with another RBI as she dropped a bloop single in front of the left fielder scoring the tying run.
“It felt really good to help the team with that hit,” said Vasquez. “I was fired up to play today. I really wanted that second game and it just so happened I was able to help us even up the game with that RBI.”
Head coach Dr. JoAnne Graf went to her bench with the game tied in the fifth and brought game one winner Casey Hunter back into the game. The move seemed to pay immediate dividends as the junior set the Jackets down in order.
The hits started to come for FSU as Hoffer opened the home half of the fifth with a double off the wall in left field. It was just the second hit of the day for the Tribe but both came in the last two innings. After LaShaun Davis and Veronica Wootson both struck out, Natasha Jacob’s bid for an RBI was snuffed out by a running stab in right field stranding Hoffer at second after a leadoff double.
Hunter set the Jackets down 1-2-3 again in the sixth as she retired her sixth straight batter since entering the game. The Tribe still was unable to solve Voeltz in the sixth as they did muster a bloop infield single but did not threaten to break the 1-1 tie.
The Yellow Jackets moved a runner to third base with two down in the seventh as they tried to push across the potential winning run. Tiggis didn’t allow the Jackets to get that run though. The replacement at first laid out and made a sprawling diving stab in foul territory to end the threat and empty the Seminole bench.
The Seminoles took their turn at winning the game in the home half of the seventh. Carly Brieske led the inning off with a double to the warning track in straight away center. Hoffer’s sac bunt moved the game-winning run 60 feet from home bringing up pinch hitter Katie Fricke. Fricke sent a shot back up the box that Voeltz was unable to handle as the game-winner crossed the plate.
The next game for FSU will be Monday April 5 at Florida A&M. The Seminoles then return home to host No. 13 Florida at 4:00 and 6:00 p.m. Wednesday April 7. For more information on the 2004 FSU softball team, please log on to the official athletic website of Florida State University at www.seminoles.com.