April 21, 2001
Tallahassee, FL –
The 17th-ranked Florida State softball team won its seventh straight game and 24th in the last 26th as they tightened their grip on an automatic bid to the NCAA post-season with a 9-2 victory over South Atlantic Softball Alliance (SASA) foe East Carolina. The Seminoles are now 4-1 in the SASA and have a two-game lead over second place ECU (41-19, 2-3). FSU got a complete game from starter Leslie Malerich (17-2) and multi-RBI games from Robyn Gauger, Brandi Stuart and Monique Marier to move to 46-7 on the year.
The Seminoles started the scoring in the bottom of the first when Serita Brooks led off with a walk and Kimmy Carter was hit by a pitch. Brooks then stole her 37th and 38th consecutive bases before ECU retired the next two batters to leave FSU with a runner on second and third with two outs. Stuart laced a two-out double down the left field line plating Brooks and Carter to stake the Seminoles to a 2-0 lead. Jen White-Stokes then knocked in her 24th RBI of the year on a single to center scoring Stuart to put FSU up 3-0.
ECU answered back in the top of the second when they scored a run off of a Seminole error in the outfield that allowed Kristen Johnson to score from first with the Pirate’s first run of the game. Florida State moved out to a 4-1 lead in the bottom of the fourth when Marier doubled to deep center and pinch runner Leah Armstrong advanced on a wild pitch and came around to score on an errant throw by ECU catcher Addie Chlebnikow.
FSU then recorded its second three-run inning of the game and extended its lead to 7-2 with a two-out rally in the bottom of the fifth. After Carter singled and was thrown out on Jessica van der Linden’s fielder’s choice and Gauger popped out, Brandi Stuart laid down a bunt single and White-Stokes was walked to load the bases. All the runners advanced and van der Linden scored on Pirate starter Laurie Davidson’s wild pitch. Marier then knocked in her 29th and 30th RBI of the season when she hit her second double of the game to put the Seminoles in front by five runs.
The Pirates once again answered in the top of the next inning when they loaded the bases with no outs but Malerich limited ECU to just one run on a Johnson single to left field that closed the gap to 7-2. FSU came right back in the bottom of the sixth when Staci Brandon led off with an infield single and Brooks singled to right center. Carter sacrificed the runners over to second and third, and after a van der Linden ground out, Robyn Gauger singled to center field and scored Brandon and Brooks to give FSU a 9-2 lead.
Malerich closed the game out with a 1-2-3 top of the seventh to pick up her team-leading 18th complete game and her ERA now stands at 0.73. Malerich struck out seven batters and walked none and she leads the team with 116 strikeouts on the season.
East Carolina and Florida State close out their season series at 3:30 p.m. today at the Seminole Softball Complex. The Seminoles continue SASA play next weekend when they welcome ACC rival Virginia to town. The Cavaliers currently stand second in the conference with a 2-2 record and are 39-13 overall on the season. Complete play-by-play and box scores from today’s doubleheader are available on-line at www.seminoles.com.