May 19, 2006 - by
Seminole Softball Game Day: FSU Starts NCAA Tournament Journey In Athens

May 19, 2006

Florida State at NCAA Tournament
Athens Regional
Fri-Sun, May 19-21 • All Day • Athens, Ga.
Georgia Softball Stadium (1,400)

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Florida State (41-27, 10-10 ACC)
Home: 29-14
Away: 8-6
Neutral: 4-7
ACC: 10-10

NCAA Regional 
Overall: 35-25 
Away: 7-7 
Neutral: 9-9 
Home: 19-9

Base Hits (What You Need To Know):
• Florida State received at-large bid to this year’s NCAA Tournament and will be making its 19th appearances in the regional.

• The 19 appearances ranks sixth in NCAA history, while FSU’s 39 wins are the ninth.

• The Seminoles have never met any of its three regional opponents in the NCAA Tournament. FSU swept a pair of games from Georgia Southern on Feb. 14.

• Last year, Florida State went 2-2 in the regional, beating No. 18 Auburn twice, while losing a pair of games to No. 10 Baylor

• Sophomore Tiffany McDonald (Belfair, Wash.) is the national leader with 300.2 innings pitched and 52 appearances.

Tiffany McDonald and outfielder Carly Brieske (Safety Harbor, Fla.) were named to the ACC All-Tournament Team. The Seminoles finished second to top seed and regular season champion North Carolina State.

• Outfielder Natasha Jacob (Coppell, Texas), second baseman Veronica Wootson (Fontana, Calif.) and shortstop Yuruby Alicart (Maracay, Venezuela) were named Louisville Slugger/NFCA First-Team All-Southeast Region.

Road To Oklahoma City Goes Through Athens
For the 19th season, and seventh in a row, the Florida State University softball team has advanced to the NCAA Tournament. The Seminoles, seeded second in the region, received an at-large bid to the Athens, Ga., regional where they will the Big South Champion Coast Carolina at 5 p.m. on Friday (May 19) in the opening round. The Lady Chanticleers, seeded third, are making their fourth appearances in the NCAA Tournament. The other game on Friday pits the host, and 11th-seed nationally, Georgia against Georgia Southern, the champions of the Southern Conference. FSU

Picks Up Series With UGA and Coastal, Sees GSU Again In 2006
Of the three other teams in the regional, Florida State has only played Georgia Southern in the last four seasons, including a sweep of the Eagles this year in Tallahassee – 3-2 & 10-2 – on Valentine’s Day. FSU holds a 30-3 advantage over the Eagles. The Seminoles and Bulldogs last met in 2003 with UGA prevailing in eight innings, 5-4, in Tallahassee. The series is currently tied at three games apiece between Florida State and Georgia. The last time Florida State and Coastal Carolina met was in 1997. FSU pitching coach Megan Matthews Buning was still in high school and two years away from earning All-America honors as a freshman at South Carolina, which is also the alma mater of CCU head coach Jesse Dannelly. The Seminoles have won all four meetings with the Lady Chanticleers

Georgia Has Not Been A Peach For Florida State In 2006
Florida State might be hesitant about going to Athens after its first venture into the state this year. The Seminoles lone trip was to the NFCA Leadoff Classic in Columbus, where they dropped the only two games played before rain washed out the rest of the games. FSU was beaten 14-0 by No. 14 Louisiana Lafayette — the second worst loss in school history — then dropped a tough 1-0 decision to No. 2 Tennessee.

Seminoles Back In SEC Country For Regionals
For the third time in the last four years, the Seminoles will be playing their regional games at a Southeastern Conference school. Last year, Florida State 2-2 during its trip to the Auburn Regional with two wins over the host Tigers and a pair of losses to Baylor. In 2002 it was 0-2 and a barbecue as the Seminoles were swept in Gainesville by Texas-Arlington and Oregon State.

Seminoles 50-50 Away From Home In NCAA Regional
This weekend Florida State will try to do something in the NCAA Regional it hasn’t done in 14 years: Advance in the tournament away from home. The last three trips to Oklahoma City originated in Tallahassee where the Seminoles are 19-9. On the road, FSU is 7-7 with a 9-9 neutral record. Florida State last advanced in 1992 when it won a trio of games in the Lafayette Regional to qualify for the Women’s College World Series.

FSU Has Strong Regional History
Over the years, Florida State has built up its national reputation through its performance in the postseason. The Seminoles rank sixth nationally with their 19 NCAA Tournament appearances, trailing only Fresno State (25), UCLA (23), Cal State Fullerton (22), Cal (22) and Arizona (20). Last season, the Seminoles posted a pair of wins to up their regional total to 39, which rates as the ninth most. The 11-year from 1986 to 1996 rates as the fifth longest streak of consecutive regionals.

Florida State Place Three On All-Southeast Region Team
The impressive offensive numbers some of the Seminoles have been putting up this season are starting to pay off in the form of postseason awards. First it was All-ACC honors and now the recognition moves to the regional level as left fielder Natasha Jacob, second baseman Veronica Wootson and shortstop Yuruby Alicart were named Louisville Slugger/NFCA First-Team All-Southeast Region. All three are now eligible for All-America honors. For Jacob its her second award after a Second-Team selection in 2004. That same year Wootson became just the fifth FSU freshman to pick up First-Team honors. This is the first regional award at the Division I leve for Alicart.

Seminoles Make 12th ACC Title Game, But Come Up Short Versus Pack
The second-lowest seed to ever qualify for the ACC Tournament championships game, the Seminoles played a solid game, but it wasn’t enough to knock off top seeded and 22nd-ranked North Carolina State as the regular season champions prevailed 4-1 on Sunday (May 14). The Wolfpack got a home run in the bottom of the first and added two in the third and another in the fifth before FSU got on the board in the sixth as Whitney Buckmon (Stone Mountain, Ga.) scored on a sacrifice fly by Veronica Wootson. Florida State started the tournament with a 10-1 in over Georgia Tech before beating NC State 6-0. FSU won its second game on Saturday over the Yellow Jackets to get into the title game.

McDonald And Brieske Earn Spots On ACC All-Tournament Team
In order for FSU to be successful at the leauge summit, sophomore pitcher Tiffany McDonald had to deliver and she did just that. The right-hander won a tournament-best three games and threw all 32 of the Seminoles’ innings as she earned All-Tournament honors. Her best outing was a three-hit, ten-strikeout shutout of NC State. Joining McDonald on the All-Tournament team was center fielder Carly Brieske as she was second during the tournament with a .538 (7-of-13) average. Her best game was a 2-for-2 performance in the first game against NC State with two runs and a double.

Georgia On Their Minds
Georgia natives Whitney Buckmon (Stone Mountain), Melissa Wood (Lilburn) and LaShaun Davis (Marietta) love everything about the state of Georgia, especially playing teams from the state and playing in their home state. All three players are batting over .300, led by Buckmon’s .353 average. Wood is second at .318 and Davis follows at .304. FSU’s top hitters against Georgia teams and in the state are actually California natives Veronica Wootson and first baseman Brittany Osmon (San Diego, Calif.) as they are both hitting .412 with nine RBIs.

Seminoles Lead The Way With Three First-Team All-ACC Selections
After putting only one player on the First-Team All-ACC last year, the Seminoles stormed back to lead the way with three First-Teamers: left fielder Natasha Jacob, shortstop Yuruby Alicart and second baseman Veronica Wootson. Right fielder LaShaun Davis earned a spot on the Second Team as Virginia Tech equaled FSU with the most selections. For Jacob it was the third All-ACC selection of her career, the second for Wootson and the first for Alicart and Davis.

Florida State Playing Well When It Counts
The Seminoles have picked the best time of the year to play their best. During the last two weeks, Florida State has posted a 7-3 mark during the last two weeks and a big reason for the success has been the Seminoles’ offense. Florida State is hitting .322 as a team with seven players hitting better than .300. Leading the way is All-America candidate Natasha Jacob with her .500 average (19-of-38). The Seminoles are averaging 5.3 runs per game and 8.9 hits per game during this stretch with five games of ten or more hits to go along with 14 stolen bases. Pitcher Tiffany McDonald has also been solid during this stretch with a pair of shutouts.

Terrific Tiffany
The workhorse of the Florida State pitching staff this season, sophomore Tiffany McDonald took over the national lead last week as she threw 32 innings in all five of FSU’s games in the ACC Tournament. The right-hander is now tops in the country with 52 appearances and 300.2 inning pitched, ranking her third in school history in appearances and fourth for innings. McDonald is the conference leader in appearances, innings, starts (39), complete games (36) and wins (28). She also rates third with her Seminole sophomore record 293 strikeouts that is in the top 20 in the country while her victory total is seventh in the NCAA.

Alicart Breaks Single-Season Home Run Record In Chapel Hill
Shortstop Yuruby Alicart showed by why she earned First-Team All-ACC honors at the conference tournament as she took down a pair of school record. In the first game against North Carolina State she broke a scoreless tie in the third with two-run home run that was her 11th of the season, surpassing the single-season mark set by Tiffany Daniels (1987) and Brandi Stuart (2002). In the final game at Maryland, she set the doubles record with her 18th two-bagger. She needs just four RBIs to surpass Jessica van der Linden’s doubles mark.

Jacob Climbing The Career Ladder
With every passing game, left fielder Natasha Jacob keeps moving up the charts. Her single against NC State in the championship game was her league-leading 88th of the season and moved her into a tie with Kristy Hull for sixth in ACC history and fourth in FSU lore with 265 hits. Her 68 steals are eighth in the ACC and fourth at FSU. She is also fourth with 773 at-bats, eighth for runs (146) and tenth in games (258).

Seminoles In The National Rankings
Florida State is second in the NCAA with its 29 triples, trailing only Southern Utah; ninth with 26 double plays turned; 27th with its .298 batting average…Veronica Wootson is second on the individual charts with her nine triples and LaShaun Davis is 13th with six…Yuruby Alicart is 14th with her 18 doubles.

Florida-State – Georgia Connection
Florida State graduate manager Shanna Norris played one seasons at Georgia (2003) before transferring to Syracuse…Former FSU assistant football coach Mark Richt is the head coach at Georgia, while FSU soccer field boss Patrick Baker took over the same duties in Athens…Graduate trainer Jessi Prahl received her bachelor’s degree at Georgia.

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