March 30, 2007 - by
Seminole Softball Game Day: FSU Returns To ACC Action By Playing Host To The Terrapins

March 30, 2007

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Florida State Softball
Florida State vs. Maryland
Saturday-Sunday, March 31-April 1 • 1 p.m. (DH)/1 p.m.
Tallahassee, Fla. • JoAnne Graf Field at Seminole Softball Complex
Sun Sports
Play-By-Play: Tom Block / Color Commentary: Barry Milligan

Game One Gametracker
Game Two Gametracker
Game Three: Live Audio BroadcastGametracker

First Pitch (What You Need To Know):
• Trying to win its first Atlantic Coast Conference series of the season, the Florida State softball team plays host to Maryland this weekend in a three-game set starting with a 12 p.m. doubleheader on Saturday (March 31).

• Both games of Saturday’s twinbill can be seen live on Sun Sports. Tom Block will call the play-by-play with Barry Milligan handling the color commentary duties. FSU was 1-6 last year in televised games, including losses in the NCAA Tournament Super Regional and ACC Championship game. Its lone win was an 8-0 decision over Boston College.

• On Tallahassee Comcast Cable System, Sun Sports in Channel 28. On DirecTV it’s Channel 632 and Channel 422 on Dish Network.

• The Seminoles are coming off a split of a Wednesday’s doubleheader with UCF. The Golden Knights took the first game 1-0, in 12 innings, but Florida State rallied to capture the nightcap 8-3.

• Florida State ended the 2006 ACC season by taking two of three at Maryland. The Seminoles lead the all-time series 30-7, but they are 4-3 over the last two seasons.

• Over the last two weeks, junior pitcher Tiffany McDonald (Belfair, Wash.) has a 0.59 ERA in 47.1 innings of work. Unfortunately she has a 3-5 record during that time as the Seminoles are only hitting .202 and scoring 2.9 runs per game when she pitches.

• Florida State has struggled at the plate during ACC games with .195 average that is last in the league. To it’s credit it has faced three of the top 10 pitchers in the conference.

• Player of the Year candidate Veronica Wootson (Fontana, Calif.) needs one more home run to tie Brandi Stuart’s school record of 25 home runs.

FSU Returns To ACC Action By Playing Host To The Terrapins
Looking to get back into the hunt for the regular season Atlantic Coast Conference title, the Florida State softball team plays host to its next-to-last conference weekend even though the calendar has yet to turn April. The Seminoles (24-15 overall, 2-4 ACC) welcome Maryland (19-10, 3-0) to town for a three-game series starting with a 12 p.m. doubleheader on Saturday (March 31) that can be seen live on Sun Sports and concluding with an 11:30 a.m. game Sunday. Sunday’s game time has been moved up by a half hour.

Seminoles And Terrapins Neck And Neck Last Two Years
Going into the 2005 season the Florida State softball team had won 14-straight games against Maryland and held a comfortable 25-3 advantage over the Terrapins, but the series has been much tighter over the last two seasons. Since 2005 the Seminoles hold a slight 4-3 lead versus Maryland and one of UM’s wins knocked FSU out of the 2005 ACC Tournament. In conference games the margin is 19-4 in the Seminoles’ favor and they are 14-2 at JoAnne Graf Field. The last year FSU took three of the four meetings, two of three in conference, and a rare non-conference game in the Sunshine Tournament where FSU had to rally to score three runs in the bottom of the seventh to win 6-5.

Maryland Comes Into Tallahassee Undefeated In The ACC
The Terrapins roll into town coming off their first three-game conference sweep since the ACC went to the format in 2005 as they took all three from Virginia. During league games Maryland’s second with a .337 batting average and 1.67 ERA. Senior Lindsay Klein has the top batting averaging at .667 and pitchers Stacey Jennings and Meredith Nelles are in the top five for ERA. Overall, Maryland is tied for fourth in the league with its .284 average, but its ERA is fifth at 2.81.

Florida State Splits Wednesday Doubleheader With UCF
Winning the first game of the doubleheader has been trouble for the Seminoles of late and the slow start came back to haunt them in the first game of their Wednesday double dip with UCF. Florida State did not have a runner for the first four innings and squandered several scoring chances late in the game as it dropped the opener 0-1 in 12 innings. The Seminoles regrouped a took advantage of six Golden Knight errors, including four in the third inning, as they took the second game of the doubleheader 8-3.

Like SNL Cast, Seminoles Not Ready For Prime Time
Florida State may not be necessarily happy to see the Sun Sport cameras this weekend. Florida State was just 1-6 last year in televised games. Hopefully FSU is more ready for the cameras as it holds a 5-3 mark in games broadcast through ACC Select streaming video. Last season Yuruby Alicart (Maracay, Venzeula) was tops on the team with a .478 average and 10 RBIs during TV games. LaShaun Davis (Marietta, Ga.) followed at .471 and Veronica Wootson next with a .429. One person who didn’t like the cameras was pitcher Tiffany McDonald as she posted a 2.97 ERA and 0-4 record.

Seminoles Keeping It Close
If losing close games strengthens a team, then the Seminoles should be as tough as they come by the end of the year. Of Florida State’s 15 losses, 11 of them have been by one run, including Wednesday’s 12-inning loss to UCF and half of its four ACC losses. In fact, all 15 of FSU’s losses have been by three runs or less and the Seminoles are the only team in the ACC to not lose a game by more than three runs. FSU continues to struggle to hold on in the late innings as 11 of the opponent’s 15 game-winning runs have been scored in the fourth inning and beyond. If the Seminoles can hang on during those innings without giving up the lead they do pretty well, holding a 19-2 record when leading after four innings, 17-2 after the fifth and 17-1 when holding the advantage going into the seventh.

How About A Little Something For the Effort?
Maybe Tiffany McDonald’s teammates are too confident in her pitching ability. In the last 10 games the Belfair, Wash., native has thrown, the Seminoles have a .202 batting average and scored 2.9 runs per game. It’s no coincidence that in those games FSU went 4-6 and McDonald had a 3-5 record. On the flip side, in the last 10 games that she hasn’t pitched, Florida State went 7-3 and was hitting .349 with 5.8 rpg.

Buckmon Continues Great Effort At The Plate
Over the last ten games, no player on the team is performing better at the plate than outfielder Whitney Buckmon (Stone Mountain, Ga.) by a long shot. The junior is hitting .382 over the last ten games, which is almost 100 points better than the next-highest hitter – Brittany Osmon at .286 – and she has double the number of hits (13) of any player on the team accept Yuruby Alicart (8). The Chamblee High School product trails only Alicart with five runs scored and has driven in four of her nine RBIs on the year. Buckmon has four stolen bases during that time to raise her to rate fifth in the league at 14 swipes and she is second with four steals in league games.

Wynn Top Hitter On The Team
All freshman Carly Wynn (Sharpsburg, Ga.) seems to do is poke a few hits through or get on base somehow when ever her turn in the outfield starting rotation comes up. The outfielder is tops on the team with .365 average and is fifth with 15 runs scored, including a pair in the 8-3 win over UCF. Wynn has scored six runs in her last six starts and has a half dozen hits when getting the starting nod.

Seminoles Getting Ready For Life On The Road
While April has yet to roar in, Florida State is getting ready to hit the road for the next month of the season. After this weekend’s three-game set with Maryland, the Seminoles are on the road for 12 of their last 19 games leading up to ACC Tournament, May 10-13, at JoAnne Graf Field. Florida State is 3-3 in true away games this year and 7-8 in all games away from home. The Seminoles seem to fair pretty well on the road in conference games as they are 50-22 on the road in ACC play, which is just slightly behind its 55-15 mark at home. Being on the road helped solidify the Seminoles last year going into the ACC Tournament as they wrapped up the regular season at 5-1, all on the road, before advancing to the ACC Tournament finals and the NCAA Tournament Super Regional.

It’s Been May Day During ACC Play
Since she only threw in three conference games last year after a bout with mononucleosis, sophomore Melissa May (San Diego, Calif.) is still new to a lot of teams in the league. During ACC games she has the third-lowest ERA at 0.51 ERA, to go along with a 2-0 record and .180 opponent batting average that rates second. Last year she was 1-1 with two starts and a 1.66 ERA before being sidelined until the NCAA Tournament.

Extra Innings Not So Kind To FSU
When the first game of Wednesday’s doubleheader went to extra innings it was an ominous sign for the Seminoles. For the second time in four days Florida State dropped a game in extra innings to run its record to 1-3 in games that extend beyond regulation. FSU’s only win this year in extra frames was the 2-1, nine-inning decision over Nebraska in the NFCA Leadoff Classic. The 12 inning game is tied for the second longest game in school history, trailing the 14-inning marathon in the 2005 ACC Tournament that the Seminoles lost 3-2 to Va Tech. The first 12-inning game was a 5-4 decision over Oregon in the 2004 NCAA Tournament. Surprisingly enough the 12-hour game took 2:47, which puts it behind a 2:49 game at Georgia Southern and a 2:56 contest at NC State.

Like Ernie Banks, the Seminoles Like To Play Two
Florida State doesn’t seem to mind doubleheaders, in fact they seem to play even better in the second game of a twin bill. In true doubleheaders against the same opponents, the Seminoles are 4-1 in the second game and both of their conference wins have come in the second game. Pitcher Melissa May has a 3-1 record in those games with a 1.38 ERA while Whitney Buckmon leads the way with a .471 batting average. Florida State seems to do pretty well in the second, and sometimes third, game of the day when you add in tournaments, holding a 12-5 mark. May adds two more wins in those contests while Terese Gober (McDonough, Ga.) has a 3-0 record. Freshman Robin Ahrberg (Stillwater, Okla.) just beats out Buckmon by one percentage point with her .405 average while Jessica Gilmore (Fort Walton Beach, Fla.) is next at .391.

News and Notes:
Even though it won 8-3, Florida State was out-hit by UCF 8-5 by the Golden Knights. It was just the third time this season (Georgia State — 7-to-6 — and Nebraska — 11-to-4) that Florida State has won a game when being out-hit … The Seminoles have been free swingers at the plate the last week as they have struck out 51 times in their last five games. The 51 Ks are 23 percent of FSU entire 2006 total … Florida State was shutout in its final game against Virginia Tech and the first contest versus UCF, which marked the first time since 2003 that the Seminoles were goose-egged in back-to-back games. The last two teams to perform the feat were Arizona and Louisiana-Lafayette at the then KIA Klassic … Shortstop Yuruby Alicart has scored the game winning run (six times) and driven in the game winning run (four times) more than any other player on the team … Tiffany McDonald’s next appearances will tie her with Jessica van der Linden for seventh in FSU history at 112 games and two outings will equal Julie Larsen for sixth. McDonald needs 3.2 innings to pass Larsen’s sister Christy for ninth on the innings list at 604.

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