April 18, 2001 - by
17th-Ranked Seminoles Head To Gainesville For Showdown With Florida Gators

April 18, 2001

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Florida State’s Jen White-Stokes is still one of the top pitchers in the nation despite seeing her ERA jump a little this past week. She currently has the seventh-best ERA in the country (0.55). The right-hander from Tuttle, OK garnered ACC and SASA Player of the Week honors this past week and she has now been honored six times in the last two weeks. She is joined by FSU starters Leslie Malerich and Jessica van der Linden in the NCAA’s national ERA leaders. Malerich was the big mover of the week as she saw her ERA drop from 0.69 to 0.60 and her ranking go from 18th in the nation to 11th. Van der Linden moved up for the second straight week. She went from 42nd two weeks ago to 35th last week and she currently stands at No. 30. Florida State is the only school in the country to have three pitchers ranked among the top 30 in the nation.

Serita Brooks once again moved up the national rankings for stolen bases and is currently No. 7 in the nation with 0.74/gm. She moved up to No. 8 from No. 11 after increasing her average by a half a steal per game last week.

As a team, FSU is still amongst the nation’s leaders in ERA, batting average and won-loss percentage. The Seminoles currently have the country’s third-best pitching staff with a cumulative ERA of just 0.65 and are only behind No. 9 DePaul (0.63) and No. 2 Arizona (0.63). The Noles currently own the nation’s eighth-best winning percentage (.857) and they are ranked 8th in batting with a team average of .302. Arizona is the only school in the country to be ranked ahead of Florida State in all three categories.

One Crazy Inning

In Tuesday night’s 12-0 victory over Florida A&M, the bottom of the fourth inning was one of the wackiest in the history of Florida State softball. The Seminoles sent 17 batters to the plate, scored 11 runs, banged out 10 hits and saw the Rattlerettes commit 6 errors. Three FSU batters got two hits in the bottom of the inning: Jessica van der Linden (a single and a double), Kimmy Carter (a single and a triple) and Brandi Stuart (two singles). FSU scored more than a third of the total runs they scored against Florida A&M before Tuesday’s season finale in that one inning (29 to 11).

White Hot Streak

Jen White-Stokes continues to be a dominant force for the Seminoles this year and she garnered her sixth honor of the season Tuesday when she was named ACC Player of the Week for the second time in 2001. White-Stokes has also been named ACC Pitcher of the Week, SASA Pitcher of the Week, an NFCA Outstanding Performer and a member of the Tallahassee Democrat/Florida State Invitational All-Tournament team. She has now garnered five honors in the last two weeks and has been recognized by the ACC for three consecutive weeks.

White-Stokes recovery from three straight injury-plagued seasons makes her senior season all the more special. She currently leads the pitching staff in ERA (0.55), appearances (24), complete games (16, tied with Leslie Malerich), shutouts (9, tied with Malerich), fewest runs allowed (15, tied with Jessica van der Linden) and fewest earned runs allowed (10, tied with van der Linden). She is also ranked 5th in the nation in ERA.

White-Stokes is also putting up unprecedented personal stats at the plate this season. She has set season highs for average (.357), at bats (115), runs (20), hits (41), doubles (9), homeruns (2), games played (40) and RBI (23). So far in 2001, she has already surpassed her career total for doubles and is five runs short of equaling her career total in runs (25) and three RBI short of eclipsing her career total (25) in that category as well.

He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother

Jen Whote-Stokes isn’t the only member of the White family having a great spring on an NCAA athletic field. White-Stokes brother, Jason, is in the midst of a heated QB battle with Nate Hybl to replace Josh Heupel as the starting QB for the defending national champion Oklahoma Sooners. Jason, a sophomore, had a fantastic spring and is considered to be in a dead heat to take over the reigns of the Sooner offense come fall. In the last scrimmage of the spring before the annual Red & White game, Jason out deuled Hybl by going nine for 14 for 161 yards and two TD’s.

“Both quarterbacks are looking very good. It is a good situation and the guys are improving. There really isn’t a lot of difference between the two players. Both are strong players and bright guys. They do a lot of good things,” said OU head coach Bob Stoops.

Put Me In Coach I’m Readt To Play & Play & Play

Natalie Bennett had an amazing doubleheader against Jacksonville State last weekend. The senior shortstop not only had two doubles and three RBI in the two games but she also recorded seven putouts and 10 assists. Bennett has started every game (127 straight) since she transferred to Florida State from Drake last fall and she is one of just three Seminoles to start every game this season.

Junior Kimmy Carter and sophomore Brandi Stuart also have impressive consecutive start streaks. Stuart, like Bennett, has started every game over the past two seasons since stepping foot on the Florida State campus. Carter has the longest consecutive start streak of any current Seminole with an amazing 150 straight starts. The last time Carter wasn’t in FSU’s starting line-up was March 27, 1999 vs. Troy State.

1,100 Coming Up

This could be a big week for head coach Dr. JoAnne Graf. Coach Graf is just two wins shy of her 1100 career victory with all of those wins coming at Florida State. This will be the last milestone for Graf before she becomes the winningest coach in NCAA DI history. She is just 26 victories away from that record. Coach Graf currently has 1098 victories and trails Cal State Fullerton’s Judi Garman who has 1124 wins.

Can We Bottle That

Florida State had its top two offensive games of the season back-to-back in the last four days. The Seminoles set season highs for runs (12, twice), hits (16, twice), RBI (12) and total bases (24) in a 12-2 five inning win over Jacksonville State and 12-0 five inning win over Florida A&M. Florida State hit .552 as a team in these two games and slugged .776. FSU also recorded 32 hits, five doubles, two homeruns and 22 RBI. Robyn Gauger and Jessica van der Linden each hit .857 in the two wins while Kimmy Carter led the team with five RBI. Six Seminoles batted .500 or above in the two games and three Seminoles slugged 1.143 or above.

Things Are Looking Up

After a 4-3 start on the road (not including neutral site games), Florida State has won seven of its last eight road games and has outscored those opponents 50-7. Robyn Gauger leads all Seminoles with a .500 batting average, a .692 average with runners in scoring position and a .781 slugging percentage on the road. Jen White-Stokes leads all Seminoles with 15 road RBI and a .619 average with runners on. She is followed closely by Monique Marier who has 13 RBI and leads the team with three homeruns in 15 road games. Leslie Malerich has been the ace of the Seminoles staff on the road. She is 6-1 with a 0.00 road ERA. Malerich started seven games and completed them all. She has five shutouts and has struck out 31 batters.

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