April 14, 2001
Jacksonville, AL –
The Florida State softball team continued its 14-game road trip against Jacksonville State University Saturday and the Seminoles (41-7, 3-1 ACC) and Gamecocks (18-21, 5-3 TAAC) played a ten inning thriller that FSU won with a three-run outburst in the top of the tenth inning. Serita Brooks’ two-run double and Jessica van der Linden’s RBI single sealed the win for the Seminoles as starter Leslie Malerich moved to 16-2 on the year and lowered her ERA to just 0.60.
“That was one great softball game,” said Dr. JoAnne Graf. “You have to give all the credit in the world to Jacksonville State and freshman starter Tera Ross. Not many people know how good TAAC softball teams are but we are well aware after facing FAU, Troy State and Georgia State.”
Florida State took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second when Natalie Bennett launched a two-out double off of the fence in right center. The inning started with a Robyn Gauger single up the middle and she advanced to second on a wild pitch from Gamecock starter and Florida native Ross. After Monique Marier flied out to right for the second out of the inning, Bennett plated Gauger for the early lead. It was Bennett’s 15th RBI of the year.
JSU evened the game in the bottom of the third when center fielder Cindy Mackin singled to right and beat out a close throw from Jessica van der Linden. Mackin was sacrificed over to second and advanced to third on a wild pitch by Malerich. Mackin came around to score on an error by van der Linden on a fly ball to right off of the bat of catcher Lauren Buck.
Ross, a freshman from Cooper City, shut the Seminoles down from the second to the ninth inning as she struck out two Florida State batters and allowed just three hits. The Seminoles threatened in the top of the eighth when Carter singled but she was tagged out at third when she tried to take two bases off of a van der Linden sacrifice bunt.
FSU finally broke through against Ross in the top of the tenth when the international tiebreaker went into effect. Monique Marier was placed on second to start the inning and freshman Skyla Cox came in to pinch run for her. After a Natalie Bennett walk, Becky Brock reached on a fielder’s choice but Cox was thrown out advancing to third. Brooks, who was 0 for 4 with three strikeouts on the day, then smashed a double down the left field line to plate two runs and raise her RBI total to 15 for the season. Brooks then stole her 35th consecutive base of the season and came around to give FSU a 4-1 lead on van der Linden’s team leading 27th RBI of the year.
Malerich then retired the Gamecocks in order in the top of the tenth. The junior right-hander allowed just two hits and one unearned run through ten innings of work to raise her team-leading win total to 16. She now leads the Seminoles in starts (22), complete games (16) and shutouts (9).
The Seminoles will complete their doubleheader with the Gamecocks at 3:00 p.m. CST before heading to the University of Alabama-Birmingham for a Sunday afternoon doubleheader with the Blazers. Sunday’s games are scheduled for 1:00 and 3:00 p.m. CST. Florida State returns home April 17 for its first game at the Seminole Softball Complex since March 28th. FSU will complete its season series with FAMU at 6:00 p.m. Tuesday night.