May 11, 2006 - by
Seminoles Softball Game Day: FSU Goes For 11th ACC Titles

May 11, 2006

Florida State at ACC Tournament
Thurs-Sun, May 11-14 • All Day • Chapel Hill, N.C.
Anderson Stadium (500)

Live AudioVideo Webcast of Friday & Saturday’s Games
Georgia Tech GameTracker

Florida State (38-25, 10-10 ACC)
Home: 29-14
Away: 8-6
Neutral: 1-5
ACC: 10-10

Base Hits (What You Need To Know):
• By virtue of its 10-10 Atlantic Coast Conference record, Florida State has drawn the fifth seed in the ACC Tournament and will open the league summit with No. 4 Georgia Tech on Thursday (May 11) at 5:30 p.m.

• The Seminoles took the regular season series with the Yellow Jackets 2-1 in Tallahassee.

• Florida State is 10-1 in the ACC Tournament against Georgia Tech with the last meeting coming in the championship game of the 2004 tourney in Tallahassee.

• FSU will play No. 1 NC State or No. 8 Boston College in its next game. The winner’s bracket game is scheduled for 3 p.m. on Friday with the elimination game at 10 a.m.

• The Seminoles led the way with three players on the First-Team All-ACC squad: Natasha Jacob (Coppell, Texas), Yuruby Alicart (Maracay, Venezuela) and Veronica Wootson (Fontana, Calif.). LaShaun Davis (Fontana, Calif.) was named Second-Team All-ACC, tying as Virginia Tech equaled FSU for the most awards.

• Sophomore hurler Tiffany McDonald (Belfair, Wash.) is second in the country at 268.2 innings and third with 47 appearances.

FSU Goes For 11th ACC Title In Tar Heel State
The premier softball program in the Atlantic Coast Conference over the last 14 seasons, the Florida State University softball starts its quest for its 11th ACC Tournament title on Thursday (May 11). The fourth-seeded Seminoles drew No. 5 Georgia Tech in the opening round at 5:30 p.m. The 15th Annual ACC Tournament is being played at Anderson Stadium on the campus of North Carolina University.

Seminoles Are The Top Dog In ACC Tournament History
Florida State has been the dominant team at the ACC Tournament since its inception in 1992. The Seminoles have won 10 of the 14 ACC titles, including two of the last three. Only Georgia Tech (2005 & 2002) can claim multiple titles. While Florida State may only be 11 wins better than Virginia in tournament history, but it’s the Seminoles winning percentage that is the impressive number. FSU is the only league school with a winning record in the ACC Tournament (37-10) having sweep the league summit seven times.

In Its Mind, FSU Likes Going to Carolina
While they would rather stay home — where they’ve won eight of their ten titles — the Seminoles don’t mind coming to the Tar Heel State for the league summit. In the two times the ACC Tournament has been in North Carolina (1996 & 2001), FSU has advanced to the championship game and took home the title in 1996.

Seminoles Lead The Way With Three First-Team All-ACC Selections
After putting only 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.

FSU Not Use To Wearing The Dark Uniforms In ACC Tournament
This will be the first year Florida State is an underdog in the conference tournament as the number five seed. In the 14 previous tournaments, the Seminoles have been seeded either first (8) or second (6).

Seminoles Hope Tourney History Repeats Itself With Yellow Jackets
If you want to know how good the ACC has gotten in softball, look no farther than the four-five match up in the first round. The 5:30 game will pit the two teams that have won the last four ACC titles in Florida State and Georgia Tech. Florida State is 10-1 against the Yellow Jackets in the ACC Tournament, including a 3-1 victory in their last meeting during the 2004 championship game. FSU won the only tournament game with GT played on a neutral field, winning 5-4 in the opening round of the 1996 summit in Raleigh.

FSU Looking For Third Win Versus Georgia Tech In `06
The Seminoles were playing some of their best ball of the season when they took two of three from the then No. 25 Yellow Jackets in Tallahassee on April 1-2. Sophomore Tiffany McDonald picked up both the victories while Florida State’s four All-ACC performers hit .400 or better: Yuruby Alicart (.556), Natasha Jacob & LaShaun Davis (.500) and Veronica Wootson (.400). All three games were high scoring affairs with FSU taking the opener 9-1 in five innings while GT came back in game two 8-3. The Seminoles won the series with a 7-4 decision on Sunday.

Just Win Baby!
For all the talk of the improved offensive numbers from last season, Florida State final improved in the one column that mattered the most: wins. The sweep of UCF gave Florida State 36 victories, moving it one past last year’s total, with at least the ACC Tournament remaining. The Seminoles have also improved the number of home victories, non-conference wins and triumphs over ranked teams. Florida State is just two victories away from its 24th 40-win season.

Tasha! Tasha! Tasha! Why Is It Always Tasha?
That could be the thoughts of the Maryland pitching staff, or even most of the league, in regards to FSU leadoff hitter Natasha Jacob. The All-America candidate certainly did not fear the turtle, or anyone for that matter, as she hit .684 for the week to earn the final ACC Player of the Week honor this season. It was her second weekly accolade from the folks in Greensboro to go along with one from her sophomore season. Jacob collected three hits in four of the five games last week, including all three at Maryland.

If The Breeze Gets Any Stronger We May Have To Get A Weatherman
Don’t look now, but sophomore Brittany Osmon (San Diego, Calif.) may be getting hot at just the right time. Nicknamed the “The Breeze” by her father John – a professional musician – Osmon hit .500 last week (7-of-14) last week to up her average to .280, the highest its been since the middle of March. Osmon had an .857 slugging percentage thanks to a game-winning home run at UCF while adding four RBIs, two runs and two doubles.

How About A Little Something For The Effort? You Know?
Sophomore Tiffany McDonald didn’t make onto one of the All-ACC teams because of a lack of effort. The right-hander has thrown 64 percent (268.2-of-423.1) of FSU’s innings this year, which ranks her fifth in the nation for pitchers with over 200 innings. McDonald ranks second in the country for innings pitched (268.2) and third in appearances (47), trailing only Brittany Weil from Iowa at 271.3 innings and Weil and Tennessee’s Monica Abbott at 48 appearances. She ranks tenth in the nation with 25 victories and her 271 strikeouts puts her in the top 20. McDonald is the league leader in complete games (31), starts (34), appearances and innings pitched.

Jacob’s Parents Taught Her Well Cause She Can Certainly Set The Table
Think that leadoff hitter Natasha Jacob doesn’t have a big impact on the Seminoles’ success out of the leadoff spot? Think again. Florida State has a 22 percent better chance of winning the game when the All-America candidate gets on base in the first inning. Florida State is 21-8 this year when she reaches first base during her first at-bat, compared to 17-17 when she does not. Anytime Jacob leads off an inning, the first or otherwise, she reaches base 48 percent (47-of-99) of the time. Of the players with 20 or more leadoff at-bats, only LaShaun Davis has a better percentage of reaching base (.567) but she has 69 less chances. Need further proof of Jacob’s influence? Florida State is just 3-9 when she doesn’t reach base at all and 7-6 in the 13 games where she hasn’t gotten a hit.

Davis Is Quietly Making Noise
She doesn’t have the gaudy numbers like Natasha Jacob or the power Yuruby Alicart or Veronica Wootson, so sometimes right fielder LaShaun Davis gets lost in shuffle. At least the league coaches are paying attention as her career-best .355 average got her a spot on the Second-Team All-ACC squad. Davis did her best work during conference games as she finished second behind Alicart with a .439 average against ACC pitching. She led the league with five triples while rating in five offensive categories during league games.

Seminoles Stronger In 2006…
Normally team look to improve their power numbers or their team speed, but Florida State has managed to do both this year. Home runs by catcher Melissa Wood (Lilburn, Ga.) and Brittany Osmon gave FSU 30 on the year, surpassing last year’s total. In the two years with higher home run totals — 2002 (33) and 2004 (44) — Florida State ended its season at the College World Series.

…And Faster
On the base paths, Florida State swiped 12 bases last week to up its total to 75 for the year, its highest total since nabbing 99 during the 2003 campaign. For the third time in the last four years, the Seminoles have three players with ten or more steals, led by left fielder Natasha Jacob’s career-high 23 swipes. Her 23 steals are the most since Brandi Stuart swiped 36 in 2003.

Wootson Gets Out Of Sophomore Slump In A Big Way
You earn All-America honors as a freshman, that’s a tall order for a 19-year-old sophomore and Veronica Wootson may have tried to take too much of the burden on her shoulders. A year older and wiser, the second baseman is back in the form that got her national attention in 2004. Since the trip back to her native California for the Judi Garman Classic, Wootson is hitting .438 to up average to a personal-best .356. The junior has taken advantage of her speed to rank second in the country, and lead the ACC, with eight triples.

Ground Rule Double (News & Notes):
Florida State ranks second nationally with 27 triples, just one back of Southern Utah…The Seminoles are tied for tenth in the country with 24 double plays turned…FSU’s 2-0 win at UCF was just its second win (NC State 2-0) when scoring two runs or less since beating No. 10 Arizona State 1-0 on March 16. Twelve of FSU’s last 14 wins have come when it scores four or more runs…First-Team All-ACC shortstop Yuruby Alicart set the FSU single-season record with her 17th double of the year at Maryland. She needs one more home run to set that record…Tiffany McDonald equaled Julie Larsen’s sophomore record for strikeouts at 271. The right-hander is 32 strikeouts short of cracking the Florida State career list…Freshman pitcher Melissa May is expected to be back in action for the ACC Tournament after missing the last month with an illness…Tiffany McDonald threw the final two innings of game two at Maryland to record her fourth save and tie the single-season record set by Marla Looper (1994) and Leslie Malerich (2002)…FSU has had four or more All-ACC selections in six of the last seven years and at least three in all but one of 15 seasons: 1999 when it had just two – Danielle Cox & Stacy Venable.

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