April 5, 2003
Chapel Hill, NC –
Streaks continued and came to an end Saturday afternoon when two of the ACC’s softball heavyweights met in Chapel Hill, NC. The 16th-ranked Seminoles (29-9, 3-0) won a season-high tenth straight game and sophomore sensation Casey Hunter (19-5) won her seventh straight as FSU downed North Carolina (28-15, 0-1) 1-0. The shutout marked the first time this year that the Heels were held without a homerun at the new UNC Softball Complex and was also the first shutout UNC has suffered since No. 3 Washington blanked the Heels 4-0 March 8.
The 10-game win streak is the 17th double digit win streak for FSU in the last 17 seasons and the win was FSU’s eighth straight over the Tar Heels in conference play. This was the first meeting between the teams since UNC ended the Tribe’s run in the ACC Tournament last season. Florida State will try to sweep the season series from UNC for the fourth straight year in the second game of the twin bill this afternoon.
North Carolina ace Crystal Cox (16-8) retired Shandra Colzie to start the game before losing Tatiana George on a 3-2 pitch. With one on and one down though Cox got the Tribe’s top two hitters to get out of the top of the first. The Heels’ Tiffany Tolleson started things off for UNC in the bottom of the first by singling to left center. She was then sacrificed to second but FSU got out of the jam on a smash to third that Lesley Palmer snared and then doubled off Tolleson at second.
Just like she did in the top of the first, Cox retired the first hitter and walked the second batter to start the second. The Carolina freshman then retired Palmer watching strike three and ended the visitor’s portion of the third on a pop out back to the circle. Hunter started the bottom of the second by issuing her first walk in over eight innings putting Emily Price on first. She followed her first walk with her first strikeout of the game and then finished off the Heels in the second on a ground out back up the middle.
Natasha Jacob led off the third with FSU’s first hit of the day and her second double of the season. The freshman moved over to third on a passed ball as the Seminoles threatened for the first time. After George fought back from a 0-2 count to draw a walk, van der Linden came up to the plate looking to add to her 19 RBIs. Her deep fly ball to center field brought Jacob home breaking the scoreless tie.
Hunter walked Carolina’s leadoff hitter on four straight pitches to begin the home half of the third. She then retired the next hitter looking at strike three bringing up the top of the UNC order. Hunter got Tolleson swinging for the second out but she lost the next hitter on a 3-2 pitch to put runners on first and second. Hunter got out of the jam though as she got Quinn Porter to pop up to third moving the game to the fourth.
Brandi Stuart started things off in the top of the frame by surprising the Heels as she dropped down a bunt and reached first. Elisa Vasquez sacrificed her to second but Stuart was thrown out as she tried to take third on the play. She was followed by Beth Wade who singled but Cox got out of the inning on a foul out to the catcher. Jaclyn Holden led off the fourth with a single to left putting UNC’s leadoff hitter on for the third time in four innings. Hunter got out of the inning though with her fourth and fifth K’s of the day.
For the third straight inning, FSU put its leadoff hitter on as Shundra Colzie drew a walk. She moved to second on a steal but FSU was unable to cash in on the leadoff walk as the game moved into the bottom of the fifth with UNC scheduled to send its 8-9-1 hitters to the plate. Hunter started the home half of the inning with her sixth strikeout as she fanned her third consecutive hitter. After a line out to Palmer at third for the second out, Tolleson beat out a chopper to the pitcher for Carolina’s third hit of the game.
Florida State tried to add to its lead in the sixth as Jessica van der Linden singled up the middle. With UNC’s backs turned to the play she took off for second but was called out for illegally trying to advance. Brandi Stuart followed with a smash down to third but Dionne Street was there to snare the liner for the second out of the inning. Vasquez then flew out to left to end the top of the frame.
After Hunter retired the first hitter of the frame, Holden recorded her second hit in a row as she flared a shot to right. Price then singled down the left field line past a drawn in infield to give the Heels runners on first and second with just one out. Hunter got Streete to fly out for the second out and then retired the side on a fly ball to shallow center moving the game into the seventh.
Cox struck out the side in the top of the seventh as UNC looked to avoid its first shutout in almost a month. Hunter got off to a good start as she Ked pinch hitter Ashley Allen looking at strike three. She then moved one out away from the win on a ground out back to the circle. Tolleson then came up looking to keep UNC’s hopes alive but Stuart snagged her liner to close out the game.
The Seminoles wrap-up their doubleheader with North Carolina later this afternoon. Florida State then returns home for a midweek twin bill versus UCF. The games are scheduled for 5:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, April 9 and will be played at the Seminole Softball Complex. For more information on the 2003 Florida State softball team, please log on to seminoles.com, the official athletic home for Florida State athletics on the internet.