March 3, 2007
A typical summer for a student-athlete usually involves going home to work a summer job or sticking around campus to take a couple of extra classes and going through off-season workouts. However, Florida State junior pitcher Tiffany McDonald is not your typical student-athlete and her summer was anything but ordinary.
For two months this summer the Belfair, Wash., native traveled the world as a guest pitcher for the British National Softball Team. British coaches contacted FSU pitching coach Megan Matthews Buning – who twice played for Great Britain as a guest player in 2002 and 2004 – and she gave them McDonald’s name.
Just a few weeks after leading the Seminoles to the NCAA Tournament Super Regional, McDonald was on a plane for London in early June to meet up with her new teammates. Her first competition was the Francesco Sanna Women’s Fastpitch Tournament, June 11-15, in Sardinia, Italy. During that tournament she recorded three wins and threw two innings in the title game against Italy and former FSU All-American Leslie Malerich.
McDonald came back to the States with her new teammates to play in the World Cup of Softball, July 13-16, in Oklahoma City in the same stadium where the Women’s College World Series is annually held. While she couldn’t play for Team USA, McDonald got the next best thing as she pitched against them.
Even though the game was out of hand by the time she entered the fourth inning, McDonald did a solid job of limiting the Red, White and Blue. With runners on first and second, she ended the inning by getting two-time Olympian Crystal Bustos to fly out, inducing a pop up by 2002 Player of the Year and two-time Olympian Stacey Nuveman and striking out four-time First-Team All-American and Olympian Jenny Topping.
“Getting the opportunity to play against Team USA was a dream come true,” McDonald said. “To be the best you have to play the best and this was a tremendous opportunity. A lot of players can only dream of playing against Team USA, but I got the chance to do it.”
From there McDonald was on her way to the other side of the world as Great Britain took part in the 2006 ISF World Championships in Beijing, China. Even though she didn’t get to play in any of the games the experience of traveling over 7,000 miles to China was invaluable for McDonald, both personally and for her softball career.
The summer abroad was the perfect ending to an outstanding 2006 season. She almost single-handedly led the Seminoles to the Super Regional as she finished second in the country in innings pitched at 329.1 – an ACC & FSU record – and appearances with 57, which is number two on the ACC and FSU charts. In addition, her 30 victories and 312 strikeouts were in the top 15 nationally.
“Last year was a great year for me,” McDonald admitted. “Our run to the Super Regional was awesome and then to travel to London, Italy and China was just unbelievable. I got to experience so many things that I never thought I would and I’m just grateful for the opportunity.”
The start to the 2007 season has been pretty special as she tossed the second no hitter of her collegiate career in the season opener against FAMU and has the second-lowest ERA in the ACC. Only a junior, she is already on the Florida State career chart for strikeouts and she’ll be right up there with some of the best pitchers in school history if she can get back to Oklahoma City, but this time wearing the Garnet and Gold.