March 25, 2003
Tallahassee, FL –
For the first time in 2003 the 17th-ranked Florida State softball team (24-9, 1-0) played on television and the Tribe’s stars came out to shine. All-America candidates Brandi Stuart and Jessica van der Linden each had two RBIs and scored a run while Casey Hunter (15-5) struck out eight in the 6-2 win over Maryland (8-10, 0-1).
First Team All-American Stuart stole the show as she broke the all-time RBI record at FSU with her 137th in the third inning. The senior from Cerritos, CA has already broken two career records this season and is closing in on four other all-time marks. The win was Florida State’s 11th consecutive victory over the Terps.
The game got off to an inauspicious start for FSU as Hunter walked the first batter of the game. After Maryland popped up an attempted sacrifice attempt, Elisa Vasquez threw out her sixth would-be stealer of the year for out number two. Hunter then froze the final batter in the top of the first as she got caught looking at strike three.
Maryland hurler Monica Cyphert (3-5, 0-1) got things started by getting Shandra Colzie looking at strike three. Tatiana George got the first hit of the game on a sharp single to second base but Cyphert came right back and K’ed her second batter looking as she set Jessica van der Linden down. She then struck out the side when she got 1st Team All-American Brandi Stuart swinging to end the first.
The Terps started the second off with a ground out to first and then after a Natasha Jacob diving catch in left and a ground out ended top of the inning. After Elisa Vasquez led the inning off with a single, the Terps turned a double play on a sac bunt to erase the base runner. Cyphert then retired the side on a Lesley Palmer fly to center to move the game into the third.
Maryland started off the visitor’s half of the third with its first hit of the game. Jillian Callaway lined a shot into left but was held to a single as Jacob came up firing to second. Nneka Cardoza popped up a sac on the next play, which caused the runner on first to hold up. When the ball hit the ground, Hunter fired it into center field putting runners on first and second with nobody out. The FSU starter got the first out of the frame with her second strike out. The Terps loaded the bases on an infield hit to third and then cashed in on a fly ball out to left to take a 1-0 lead as Callaway tagged up and scored. Hunter struck out the final Terp batter to retire the side with Maryland in front 1-0.
For the second inning in a row, FSU put the leadoff batter on as Shunrda Colzie started the bottom of the third with a walk. Natasha Jacob advanced Colzie and reached safely on an error by short as FSU had two on with nobody out. Shandra Colzie tried to move the runners but popped up to third for the first out. A Tatiana George walk loaded the bases as the Tribe sent the heart of the order to the plate. Jessica van der Linden sent a hard chopper over the pitcher and into center field to score the runner from third and a throwing error to home allowed another FSU run to come home and all the base runners to move up a base. Stuart reached on a fielder’s choice that scored George with the third run of the game. The RBI was the 137th of Stuart’s illustrious career and she is now the all-time RBI leader in the history of FSU softball.
After combining for four runs in the third, Hunter came out and set the Terrapins down in order as the game moved to the home half of the fourth. Cyphert matched the FSU sophomore as she set the Tribe down 1-2-3 and the game moved into inning number five.
Maryland attempted to get back into the game in the top half of the inning as the Terps recorded their third hit of the afternoon on top of stealing a base but Hunter didn’t allow the runner to advance past second. She recorded her fifth K and sent the game into the bottom of the inning. Shandra Colzie followed Jacob’s ground out with a walk. Colzie then came home to score as van der Linden launched a 198-foot double to the wall in left field. The two-bagger was her sixth of the year and the 34th of her career, which is the third-most in FSU history. She was followed by FSU’s new RBI queen as Stuart continued to add to her all-time record with a single to left scoring FSU’s sixth run of the game.
Hunter retired the first two hitters she faced in the top of the sixth before Cyhert singled down the right field line to extend the inning. Crystal Rizzuto then sent a deep drive to center that scored the Terps second run and closed the gap to 6-2. Freshman catcher BillieAnne Gay closed out the UMD threat as she threw out her 12th would-be base stealer in 21 attempts this season.
The Terps came up in the top of the seventh with one last chance to get back into the ACC opener for both teams. She opened the inning with a ground out and her seventh strike out leaving Maryland with just one out in the game. After hitting the next batter, Hunter struck out her eighth of the day to end the seventh and the game.
The Seminoles complete their ACC opening doubleheader with Maryland at 6:41 p.m. and game two will also be broadcast live by the Sunshine Network. For more information on the 2003 Florida State softball team, please log on to seminoles.com, the official athletic home for Florida State athletics on the internet.