February 15, 2005 - by
Florida State Softball Divides Series With Georgia Southern

Feb. 15, 2005

Game I Stats
Game II Stats

STATESBORO, Ga. – Florida State (4-4) received its first true road test against the Georgia Southern Eagles (2-6) Tuesday afternoon, splitting the series 1-1. The Seminoles dropped the first game, 1-0, behind the arm of Casey Hunter (1-3, 0.82 ERA) and defeated the Eagles with ease, 3-0, during the later contest. Freshman pitcher Tiffany McDonald (0.81 ERA) extended her record to a perfect 3-0 and allowed just one hit during the shut out.

Florida State managed just two hits and recorded three errors in seven innings of play during the first game of a doubleheader against the Georgia Southern Eagles, falling 1-0. The victory improved GSU to 2-6 on the season and dropped the Tribe to 3-4 overall.

Senior NFCA All-American pitcher Casey Hunter (1-3, 1.11 ERA) (Millstadt, Ill./Belleville West HS) had a respectable performance in the circle for FSU, striking out 11 Eagles and allowing only four hits and no runs. Georgia Southern’s only run was scored in the bottom of the fifth inning when the Eagles advanced on errors.

The contest had a familiar feel for the Seminoles, as FSU dropped a 2-1 decision to GSU the last time it visited Eagles Field in 2003. Florida State has won 25 of 27 all-time meetings.

The Eagles’ ace Logan Free (2-1, 1.27 ERA) held the Tribe hitless until the top of the fifth inning when freshman catcher Melissa Wood (Lilburn, Ga./Parkview HS) singled to right field and advanced freshman first baseman Brittany Osmon (San Diego, Calif./Mt. Carmel HS), who had reached base on a walk. However, two straight ground outs to the second baseman allowed GSU to escape without any runs scoring.

In the bottom of the fifth, Georgia Southern’s Gina Sterchi singled to left field and Tiffany Urena reached base on an FSU error at shortstop, advancing Sterchi to second base. On the next play, Nicole Gutierrez grounded out to third base and allowed each of the Eagles to move a base. Florida State intentionally walked Shanita Black to load up the bases in hopes of having a force out on the next play. However, Hunter gave up a walk to Aurora Johnson and scored the unearned run. Hunter made up for the base on balls on the very next play by striking out Maria Laurato and retiring the inning with three runners left on base.

The Seminoles’ only other hit in the contest was tallied in the sixth inning when left fielder Natasha Jacob (Coppell, Texas/Coppell HS) singled.

Florida State freshman pitcher Tiffany McDonald (Belfair, Wash./North Mason HS) improved her record to a perfect 3-0 on the season after shutting out Georgia Southern, 3-0, during the backend of a doubleheader with the Eagles. McDonald struck out six players, allowed one hit, and 0 runs in seven innings.

Offensively the Seminoles had no problem against GSU pitcher A.J. Street who gave up seven hits to FSU, including a double by left fielder Natasha Jacob in the top of the 5th inning.

Florida State Head Coach Dr. JoAnne Graf inserted another new lineup for the Seminoles during game two of the series with GSU, removing NFCA All-American Veronica Wootson (Fontana, Calif./A.B. Miller HS) and replacing her with junior utility infielder Kim Hoffer (Houston, Texas/Pensacola JC) at second base. Wootson suffered at the plate in recent games and Graf’s hopes were to receive an offensive spark from Hoffer. Furthermore, Graf moved junior BillieAnne Gay (Tallahassee, Fla./Lincoln HS) to catcher and junior center fielder Carly Brieske (Safety Harbor, Fla./Countryside HS) played at center field, respectively. Freshman Whitney Buckmon, who is leading the team in stolen bases, was the designated player.

Game two saw another pitcher’s duel at first, as the Eagles and Seminoles remained scoreless until Florida State broke through with a run in the fourth inning. After Tatiana George doubled to lead the inning off, she moved to third on a sacrifice bunt. Lesley Palmer then singled to left to bring George home.

Another run came Florida State’s way in the fifth, as two errors came back to haunt the Eagles. With Natasha Jacob having doubled down the line in right, she advanced to third on an error from Eagle first baseman Heather Smith. Jacob then scored after the next at-bat, as a Laurato miscue brought in the run.

The Seminoles’ final tally came in the sixth as Carey Galuppi, pinch-running for Palmer, scored on a LaShaun Davis’ second hit of the game.

Junior A.J. Street (0-3) took the defeat for Georgia Southern, allowing two runs off five hits before exiting the game after the fifth inning. Urena finished the remainder of the contest in the circle, allowing the third run.

Tiffany McDonald (3-0) struck out six batters and gave up just one hit to the Eagles’ Laurato in the complete game, shutout win.

Florida State committed just one error.

Florida State will host the Sunshine State Tournament Feb. 18-20 at the Seminole Softball Complex. Syracuse, South Carolina and SE Louisiana will make the trip to Tallahassee. The Tribe’s first game is Friday, Feb. 18, at approximately 1:30 p.m. versus the Gamecocks.

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