March 25, 2003
Tallahassee, FL –
Freshman Carly Brieske came into game two of FSU’s doubleheader with Maryland with just one hit in her last 22 at bats. The freshman who had game-winning hits in three games in the first month of the season was struggling with a batting average that dipped from a high of .340 to .222 entering Tuesday night. Yet it was the most unlikely of heroes who propelled FSU to an ACC opening sweep of Maryland.
The Seminoles, who won the opener 6-2, needed 10 innings and two huge Brieske hits to open conference play undefeated at the Seminole Softball Complex Tuesday night despite stranding 18 runners. The Safety Harbor, FL native’s pinch hit double in the second cut UMD’s lead to 2-1 and her walk-off, single in the 10th gave FSU (25-9, 2-0) a 4-3 victory over the Terps (8-11, 0-2). Jessica van der Linden pitched 9.1 innings but it was Casey Hunter (16-5) who picked up the win with her 2/3 of an inning of relief work.
Just as they did in game one, Maryland broke on top of FSU but this time in the first inning. The Seminoles shot themselves in the foot in the first as van der Linden hit the first batter and then allowed her to advance on an error. Maryland’s Monica Cyphert then made FSU pay as she drove the run home on a sharp single into center field.
Florida State looked as if it was going to get right back into the game in the bottom of the first as they put runners on second and third with just one out but the Tribe’s top two RBI hitters, Brandi Stuart and Elisa Vasquez, could not drive a run in.
The Tribe squandered another opportunity in the bottom of the second as they still trailed 1-0. Beth Wade led off with a deep double and was moved over to third on a sacrifice. Once again the Seminoles couldn’t plate a runner on third and the game moved into inning number three with Florida State still trailing.
The Terrapins built on their lead in the fourth as another player hit by a van der Linden pitch came back to haunt the Tribe. After Jillian Callaway was plunked, Malissa Moczulski sent a double nearly 220 feet to dead center that plated Maryland’s second run of the evening.
Florida benefited from a Maryland error and a two-out walk as they once again put runners on base, this time in the fourth. Shandra Colzie’s single to center wasn’t deep enough to score a run but it did load the bases for Tatiana George. The sophomore was unable to knock in a run as she grounded out to short to end the fourth.
Florida State had another opportunity to get back into the game in the fifth as van der Linden led off with her second double of the twin bill and the 35th of her career. Stuart went down swinging bringing pinch hitter Carly Brieske to the plate. The freshman looked like she sent one out of the park to deep center but the ball didn’t quite clear the fence. It did however land in for a double and narrow the score to 2-1. Beth Wade then came up and sent a shot to right that was caught but deep enough to plate Brieske and even the game at 2-2.
In the top of the sixth, Maryland looked to reclaim the lead. Cyphert recorded her second hit of the game and third of the day and she moved over to second on a ground out. With two outs, van der Linden retired Moczulski with her ninth K of the game.
In the bottom half of the frame, FSU tried to jump into the lead for the first time in the game as Natasha Jacob led off with an infield single. Cyphert, who returned to the circle, got Shandra Colzie swinging and then retired Jacob on a fielder’s choice. Cyphert walked van der Linden bringing Stuart up with a runner in scoring position and two down. The senior couldn’t get the winning run home though as she fouled out to first to end the threat.
Maryland put the potential winning run on in the seventh due to an FSU error but van der Linden didn’t let the runner advance past first. In the process of retiring the side, she struck out her 10th batter of the game. She has now K’ed double digit batters in her last three starts and six of her last seven starts.
The game remained knotted at two as the teams moved in to extra innings for just the second time in the 26-game series. The last time the two played extra innings was 2001 and the Seminoles won that game 2-1 in 11 innings.
Van der Linden hit her third Terp of the game to lead off the eighth but the runner was erased as BillieAnne Gay threw out her 14th would-be base stealer in 23 attempts. The pick off was a big play considering Maryland’s Cyphert followed with her third hit of the game but there was nobody on second to come home on the shot.
Maryland got FSU’s first hitter in the eighth but a throwing error by Cyphert put Natasha Jacob on second with just one out as FSU looked for the win. Another Terrapin error put runners on the corners and kept the Seminole threat alive. A walk to Tatiana George loaded the bases as van der Linden stepped into the box looking to end the game and sweep the Terps out of town. The junior couldn’t plate the run as Maryland threw out Jacob at home. The bases remained loaded with two down and Stuart stepping to the plate. The senior smashed a shot to third but Crystal Rizzuto was there to make the play and end the threat. After the eighth, FSU had set a new record for runners left on base in a game this year as they stranded their 14th.
For the second straight inning, Maryland started with a runner on base as van der Linden issued just her third free pass of the game. She got the next two hitters on fielder’s choices cutting down the lead runner each time. She then ended the frame with her 11th K.
In the bottom of the eighth, FSU once again put a runner in scoring position as Wade singled and was sacrificed to second by Robyn Larson. The Tribe couldn’t score her though as they had another hard hit head right into a Terp glove.
In the visitor’s half of the 10th, Maryland started to put together a rally as a walk and a single put the Terps in business with a runner at first and second with one down. The Seminoles brought game one winner Casey Hunter in to face Cyphert who was already 3 for 4 on the day. The sophomore struck out the Terrapins’ hottest hitter and then got a ground out to end the rally.
Florida State started an uprising of its own in the bottom of the 10th as they put runners on first and second with just one out on back-to-back close calls. One was a play at first in which Jacob seemed to beat out the throw but was called out. That was followed by George’s sac bunt in which she seemed to be tagged by the first baseman but the ump said she never touched the runner. The Terps then loaded the bases by walking van der Linden bringing Stuart up again with a chance to win the game. She couldn’t get the ball out of the infield though as she popped up to second. That set the stage for Brieske once again. Just as she did in the tenth versus Auburn, the outfielder came up big and won the game as she launched a shot over the head of the drawn in right fielder.
The Seminoles return to action Thursday, March 27 as they travel across town to face Florida A&M at Lady Rattler Field. First pitch is set for 6:00 p.m. 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.