May 10, 2003
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Georgia Tech’s three-run seventh inning was too little too late, as No. 10 Florida State (45-9) held on defeat the third-seeded Jackets, 5-3, in Atlantic Coast Conference Softball Championship action at the Seminole Softball Complex. With the victory, FSU advances to Sunday’s title game, while Tech (36-22) will play the winner between Maryland and Virginia at 7 p.m. Saturday for the right to face Florida State, who will have two chances to win the title Sunday.
Down 5-0 entering their final turn at the plate, the Jackets got infield singles from first baseman Katie Donovan and center fielder Sara Wissmann to start the rally. Right fielder Soraya Reddick was then hit by a Jessica van der Linden pitch to load the bases, and FSU brought in All-ACC pitcher Casey Hunter to close out the game.
Donovan scored on a RBI fielder’s choice by pinch hitter Amy Hosier to cut the lead to 5-1, before second baseman Felicia Coursey singled to right to score Reddick. Coursey and Hosier both alertly moved into scoring position on a Seminole error on the play, and pinch hitter Liz Bartle then came through with a single to left, which scored Coursey to cut the lead to 5-3. Hunter then struck out all-conference shortstop Tara Knudsen, who had two singles in the game, to preserve the victory.
The loss was the Jackets’ first in ACC Tournament play since a 3-2 defeat by Virginia on May 12, 2001. Tech went 3-0 en route to the 2002 conference crown.
Tech ace Jessica Sallinger (21-14) took the loss, her first in five conference tourney starts. She went seven innings and allowed five runs on seven hits and two walks. The five earned runs are the most allowed by Sallinger since an 8-0 loss to South Carolina on February 8.
Sallinger picked up where she left off Friday versus North Carolina, as she fanned two and retired the Noles in order in the first. But Florida State, who hit a tournament record three home runs against Virginia Friday, struck again with the long ball against the Jackets. Seminole third baseman Lesley Palmer connected off Sallinger in the second to give FSU a 2-0 lead. The home run was Palmer’s fifth of the season and scored designated player Elisa Vasquez, who led off the frame with a walk.
With runners on the corners, Tech had a chance to get on the board in the bottom of the fourth. With two out, Reddick ripped a ball to center but FSU’s Shundra Colzie made a diving catch to end the frame and hold the Seminole lead at 2-0.
The Palmer homer was only hit off Sallinger until a Shandra Colzie single down the left field line to open the sixth. She advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt and a fly out to right before coming home on a single up the middle by Vasquez to push the Seminole lead to 3-0. FSU then loaded the bases but Sallinger worked out of the jam to prevent any further damage. Florida State added two runs in the top of the seventh to increase the lead to 5-0 before the Yellow Jacket rally.
Tech outhit the Noles, eight to seven, as Donovan and Knudsen both had a pair of base hits to lead the way. Shandra Colizie had two hits to lead Florida State. The Seminoles’ van der Linden, who fanned nine Jackets, improved to 18-4 with the victory, while Hunter picked up her second save.
The Maryland-Virginia meeting is scheduled to get underway at 5 p.m. Saturday. Tech is 3-0 against the Terps and 1-1 versus Virginia this season.