April 14, 2006 - by
Seminole Softball Game Day: FSU Plays Host to NC State Saturday and Sunday

April 14, 2006

Florida State hosts North Carolina State
Sat.-Sun, April 15-16 • 12 p.m. (DH)/1 p.m. • Tallahassee, Fla.
JoAnne Graf Field at Seminole Softball Complex (1,000)

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Saturday, April 15
Game One (12 p.m.)
Game Two (2:30 p.m approx) Game Tracker

Sunday, April 16
Game One (1 p.m.)

Live Audio

Florida State (31-19, 6-5 ACC)
Home: 27-11
Away: 3-3 
Neutral: 1-5
ACC: 6-5

NC State (36-16, 8-4 ACC)
Home: 12-4 
Away: 5-3 
Neutral: 19-9 
ACC: 8-4

Base Hits (What You Need To Know):
• Winners of four of its last five games, the Florida State softball teams plays host to its final Atlantic Coast Conference home series of the year when it takes on North Carolina State this weekend in a three game set.

• Florida State has won three of the four meetings with the Wolfpack. NC State started its program in 2004.

• The Seminoles go into their weekend series with NC State needing just one win to become the first conference team to amass 100 ACC victories.

• Saturday’s 12 p.m. doubleheader will be broadcast live on Sun Sports with Tom Block handling the play-by-play duties and Barry Milligan providing play-by-play. Sunday is Kids Take Over the Park Day.

• For the first time since the fourth week of the season, the Seminoles have received votes in a national poll, getting four in this week’s USA Softball/ESPN.com poll.

• With her solo home run in the third inning of Wednesday’s game against Florida A&M, shortstop Yuruby Alicart (Maracay, Venezuela) has nine on the year and is one home run short of tying the FSU single-season record.

Wolfpack In Town For Florida State’s Last Home Weekend
After 38 games at JoAnne Graf Field, the home schedule has come down to only five more contests for the Florida State University softball team. The Seminoles play host to their final Atlantic Coast Conference series of the year when North Carolina State comes to town. The two teams will play a 12 p.m. doubleheader on Saturday (April 15), followed by a 1 p.m. contest on Sunday (April 16). Both games of the Saturday twinbill will be broadcast live on Sun Sports (Tallahassee Comcast: Channel 28; Direct TV: Channel 632; Dish Network: Channel 422).

Seminoles Lead Young Series With NC State
With NC State just starting its softball program two years ago, there have only been four meetings between the Seminoles and Wolfpack. The two teams split last year’s doubleheader with NC State capturing the second game of the March 7 doubleheader, 2-1. Rain canceled the third game of the series. Florida State swept the inaugural meeting in 2004, shutting out the Wolfpack with 8-0 and 4-0 victories in Tallahassee.

Seminoles Trying To Hit The Century
The top program over the last 15 years, Florida State is on the verge of yet another first in the ACC. The all-time leader in regular season championship (10), tournament championships (10) and All-ACC selections (61) the Seminoles are just one win away from becoming the first program in league history to total 100 conference victories. Tops in the league at 99-28 (.780), the next closest school is North Carolina 69 wins. Florida State has averaged record of 7-2 during the first 14 seasons of ACC competition.

Alicart One Homer Short Of Single Season Record
In her second at-bat against Florida A&M on Wednesday night, shortstop Yuruby Alicart blasted a solo home run over the left field fence. Besides tying the game, the dinger was her ninth of the season and equaled Monique Marier for third on the Florida State single season charts. The 2005 NAIA National Player of the Year needs just one more home run to tie Tiffany Daniels (1987) and Brandi Stuart (2002) for the single season record. The nine round trippers is the most by a first year player at Florida State, topping the freshman record of eight home runs hit by Veronica Wootson (Fontana, Calif.) during the 2004 campaign.

Second Half Señorita…
The second half of the season, shortstop Yuruby Alicart has been nothing short of brilliant. Her batting average has gone up 116 points to .410 over the last 25 games, but on top of that she has six home runs, eight doubles, 18 runs scored and 22 RBIs to go along with a .769 slugging percentage. The six dingers is one short of the team-high for all of 2005. The junior transfer has also been much better in the field, committing five fewer errors to raise her fielding percentage by almost 80 points.

…Leads Second Half Seminoles
Yuruby Alicart isn’t the only player that has seen significant improvement over the last half of the season. Six players on the team have seen their batting averages increase by double digits, led by catcher Melissa Wood (Lilburn, Ga.) as her rate at the plate has gone up 225 points from .162 to .387. Improvement isn’t only being seen at the plate as the pitching staff has made big strides to lower the team ERA by nearly a run over the last 25 games. Freshman Kayla Collins (Niceville, Fla.) has seen the most improvement with her ERA dipping from 7.20 in the first 25 games to 2.56 in the last quarter.

V-Ron Is On The V-Rise
Besides the constant production of Yuruby Alicart and Natasha Jacob, the Seminoles’ offense has gotten a real boost as of late by second baseman Veronica Wootson. Wednesday against Florida A&M, she tied a career-high by drilling four base hits, equaling the output she had against Rhode Island during her tremendous freshman years. Wootson is stops in the ACC and 18th in the NCAA with a per game rate of 0.13 triples while her total of six triples is the second highest in the country. Over the last ten games, Wootson has been Florida State’s top hitter with a .452 clip to go along with a .500 on-base percentage. Over the last 25 games, she is hitting 90 points higher than the first 25 games to raise her average to .340 for the year. She is among the ACC leaders in total bases (5th – 82), RBIs (7th – 34), stolen bases (7th – 13) and slugging percentage (8th – .582)

No Sophomore Slump, McDonald Among National Leaders
So far this season sophomore Tiffany McDonald (Belfair, Wash.) has done everything possible to help the Seminoles with maybe the exception of driving the team bus. McDonald isn’t just one of the biggest workhorses in the league, but also the country. Her 36 appearances and 204.2 innings pitched ranks her second in the country behind 40 appearances and 226.2 innings by Bethune-Cookman’s Viveca Patterson. As the “veteran” of the pitching staff, all she has done is post 20 victories this season, which is tied for the seventh-highest total in the nation. Compared to recent FSU hurlers in their second year, McDonald is on par with some of the best, exceeding all the numbers put up by Jessica van der Linden while approaching the strikeout numbers of Casey Hunter and Leslie Malerich. Malerich’s sophomore year may have been one of the best in school history as she set school records for appearances, wins and innings pitched.

Seminoles Reach 30 Wins For 27th-Straight Season
Death, taxes and the Florida State softball team reaching 30 wins, you can pretty much set your watch to it every year. With the 8-5 victory over Virginia on Sunday, the Seminoles reached 30 wins for the 27th-straight season under Dr. JoAnne Graf. During Graf’s tenure, Florida State has averaged 47 victories a year and with 15 regular season games remaining, plus the ACC Tournament, the Seminoles need just nine more victories to reach the 40-win mark for the 24th season under Graf.

Poll Position
After sweeping a doubleheader with No. 23 Florida last week, the Seminoles received votes in one of the national polls for the first time in five weeks with four votes in the USA Softball/ESPN.com poll. Five teams in the ACC are currently getting votes in that poll, topped by No. 24 North Carolina, and this weekend’s opponent NC State got three votes.

It Must Be A Homer Because The Pitcher Just Went Doh!
Florida State tied a season high with three home runs in the second game at Virginia for its fifth multi-home run game of the season. The Seminoles have enjoyed their most productive long ball output in the last ten games with ten round trippers during that time. The ten bombs have all come from four players with Yuruby Alicart and Melissa Wood belting three each to go along with a pair from Veronica Wootson and third baseman Michelle Snyder (Wenatchee, Wash.). Florida State has 25 home runs this season, the fourth-highest total in a season and just two behind last year’s entire count.

Hitters Enjoying The Conference Weekends
Despite playing just two league games last weekend, the Seminoles continued their tear as the top hitting team in ACC games. Florida State’s .354 average against conference pitching is 88 points higher than second place Virginia Tech. The Seminoles have a league-high 104 hits and are tied for the lead at 15 doubles. Five of the top ten hitters wear the Garnet & Gold, topped by Yuruby Alicart and LaShaun Davis with their .500 clip.

Just Like Jell-O, There’s Always Room In The Release For Natasha
While every player has their peaks and valleys, Natasha Jacob (Coppell, Texas) just keeps getting better and better with each passing week. The left fielder has moved up in the latest ACC standings to sixth with her .358 batting average. Jacob has had at least one hit in 18 of her last 21 games, including 11 multi-hit games following a 2-for-4 performance in game two at Virginia. Jacob is in a race with UVA’s Sara Larquier to reach the ACC career Top Ten for hits. Larquier is one back of fellow Cavalier Ruby Rojas, who occupies the No. 10 spot at 241 hits, while Jacob has 236 for her career. Jacob’s next stolen base will tie her with Tiffany Daniels for seventh in FSU lore at 61.

Time to Pack For Oklahoma City?
It may be a bit early, but power numbers have pointed Florida State to the Women’s College World Series in the past. Prior to this year, a Seminole has hit eight or more home runs in four different seasons. In three of those four , Florida State has ended the year at the WCWS. In the two years that Tiffany Daniels (1987) and Brandi Stuart (2002) set the single-season mark with ten home runs, the Seminole advanced to Oklahoma City. Predicating all of this is shortstop Yuruby Alicart as she sits one round tripper short of the mark after hitting her ninth against FAMU Wednesday. Alicart (9) and her double play partner Veronica Wootson (5) have combined for 14 home runs this season, the third highest total between a pair of FSU teammates. Stuart (10) and Monique Marier (9) set the record in 2002 and Wootson (8) and Beth Wade (8) combined for 16 in 2004.

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