March 12, 2004
Tallahassee, FL –
The fourth-ranked Seminole softball team put together one of its most complete outings of the year against another perennial power in its opening game of the 2004 Florida State Invitational. The Tribe needed just five innings to down Texas A&M (13-11) 8-0 at the Seminole Softball Complex. The win was FSU’s second in two days versus a team that has been ranked in the top 25 this season.
The Tribe broke the game wide open in the third inning as they scored seven runs on five hits and chased Aggie starter Jessica Kapchinski (3-2) from the game. Jessica van der Linden and Lesley Palmer each had two RBIs while Elisa Vasquez, Kim Hoffer and Carly Brieske each chipped in with an RBI as well. Van der Linden was masterful on the hill fanning 10 batters in just five innings while surrendering just one hit and two walks. It was the fifth time in her last seven appearances that van der Linden struck out 10 or more batters and in the last 31 innings she has fanned 55 batters.
Van der Linden got off to a smoking start striking out the first four batters she saw before facing Laura Durham. The freshman ripped a double to the warning track in right field for the first hit of the game. Durham moved up to third on a passed ball. A walk to Kristin Gunter put runners on the corners with just one down for the Aggies. Van der Linden got her fifth K of the game for the second out in the second and then fanned her sixth batter to end the Texas A&M threat.
In the bottom of the third, FSU mounted its first threat of the game. Hoffer, Thursday night’s hero, started things off with a single to center. An error on a fielder’s choice put runners on first and second before Natasha Jacob’s single loaded the sacks. That brought up van der Linden who came through with a base knock to right plating two runs and putting FSU in front 2-0. Vasquez recorded her second hit of the game and drove in the Tribe’s third run of the inning off new Texas A&M pitcher Lindsay Wilhelmson. The senior proceeded to put the fifth run on the board for FSU when she walked Carly Brieske and than a late throw to the plate on Hoffer’s fielder’s choice gave the Tribe a commanding 6-0 advantage. Florida State went up 7-0 when Katie Fricke’s pinch hit to the warning track was caught but allowed Vasquez to tag up and score.
In the home half of the fourth, FSU manufactured another run to go up 8-0. Jacob started the inning with a single and then swiped second. She moved over to third on a ground out and Palmer brought her home on a bad hop single that bounced over the shortstop and into left center.
Florida State continues play at the 21st annual Florida State Invitational Tournament this evening versus Robert Morris. Fourteen other teams are in Tallahassee for the three-day tournament with games taking place at the Seminole Softball Complex and Messer Park. There is no admission charge for any of the games this weekend. For more information please visit the official athletic website for FSU at www.seminoles.com.