May 13, 2006
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. –
Florida State jumped out to an early lead and never looked back as the Seminoles advanced to their 12th Atlantic Coast Conference title game with a 7-4 victory over Georgia Tech on Saturday (May 13). Florida State will take on the top seed in the tournament, No. 22 North Carolina State at 12 p.m.
Florida State improved to 41-26 overall, while Georgia Tech dropped to 46-20. The Yellow Jackets forced a second game on Saturday after beating FSU 4-3 early in the day.
“It’s tough anytime you have to play the late game, especially after losing early in the day,” FSU head coach Dr. JoAnne Graf said. “We battled the entire game and those four runs in the first inning really set the tone. Georgia Tech kept coming back and back at us, but we held on. It was a hard game mentally as well as physically.”
Taking over the league-lead for victories was sophomore Tiffany McDonald (Belfair, Wash) as she improved to 28-16. The right-hander threw her league-leading 35th complete game, giving up four runs on nine hits with four strikeouts and four walks.
“Tiffany has been our workhorse,” Graf added. “I know she’s getting tried, but she has a lot heart and she gives us her best every time. The sixth was a key inning because if they got a rally going it would have changed the momentum, but she got their top three hitters out and now they have to score four runs in the seventh instead of just a couple.”
Repeating its performance from the first meeting, Florida State got out to a quick lead in the top of the first inning. Designated player Whitney Buckmon (Stone Mountain, Ga.) started with a one-out double. A past ball got her to third then a groundout by shortstop Yuruby Alicart (Maracay, Venezuela) scored Buckmon with the first run.
Second baseman Veronica Wootson (Fontana, Calif.) and catcher Melissa Wood (Lilburn, Ga.) followed with back-to-back singles. First baseman Brittany Osmon (San Diego, Calif.) cleared the bases with a three-run home run, her third home run in ten games, to give FSU a 4-0 advantage.
Georgia Tech came back to score a pair of runs in the bottom of the inning to make it a 4-2 game. Florida State increased its lead to three runs with a marker in the third. Alicart started with a single, moved up on a ground out and took third on a wild pitch. Catcher Melissa Wood (Lilburn, Ga.) hit a dribbler to the right side of the infield that was not picked up, allowing Alicart to score.
Another wild pitch help Florida State get another run in the fifth inning. Alicart started the inning with a single then moved up on a single by Wootson. Wood grounded into a double play, but Alicart went to third before crossing the plate on a wild pitch by Georgia Tech hurler Sarah Wood to make it a 6-2 lead in FSU’s favor.
The Seminoles tacked on another run in the top of the seventh inning. Buckmon got things going with a single and advanced to second on a wild pitch. A ground out by Alicart moved her to third then Wootson laid down a perfect squeeze bunt to score Buckmon and give FSU a four-run lead. Georgia Tech added a run in bottom of the seventh, but McDonald got three ground outs to end the game.
For the third time in the tournament, and the sixth time in the last eight games, Florida State pounded out 10 hits with four batters collected a pair. Buckmon and Alicart each had two hits and two runs scored, while Wootson and Wood added two hits, drove in a run and scored one as well. Osmon led the way with a three RBIs.
Florida State won the first meeting with NC State in the conference tournament, taking a 6-0 decision in the second round. The two teams have split their four games this year.
Sunday’s championship game will be broadcast on Fox Sports Florida and Fox Sports South.