March 4, 2001
Tallahassee, FL –
The Florida State Seminole softball team (22-3) captured its fourth straight tournament title and won its ninth straight game as it downed 2nd-seeded Central Michigan niversity (4-6) 2-0. Florida State ran the table in the Seminole Challenge posting a 5-0 record and has won every tournament it has entered in the 2001 season.
“It is hard to keep finding good things to say about they way this team pitches and plays defense,” said head coach JoAnne Graf. “CMU’s Amber Puchalski pitched a no-hitter yesterday and we knew that it would be difficult to score runs off of her. Leslie once again pitched a complete game shutout, we committed just one error and we got timely hits from Jess and Brandi. I know that there are going to be times when we need to score more runs but I think strong defense and great pitching can carry us a long way.”
Freshman Jessica van der Linden and sophomore Brandi Stuart, both products of Cerritos High School in California, led the Noles throughout the Seminole Challenge and things were no different on Sunday. With the game scoreless in the bottom of the third, the Seminoles staged their second two-out rally of the day. Kimmy Carter got it started when she doubled to right field and then scored the eventual game-winning run when Stuart followed her with a double to the left side of the diamond. Van der Lindem then launched her second triple of the tournament to deep right field as Stuart came around to score the game’s final run.
Stuart finished the tournament hitting .533 with two doubles, a triple, four RBI’s and a slugging percentage of .800 while van der Linden hit .500 for the tournament. She also knocked in four runs, hit two doubles and two triples and slugged .929 for the weekend. The two runs they scored in the championship game were more than enough for Seminole ace Leslie Malerich.
Malerich, who improved to 10-1 on the season, limited the Chippewas to just four hits while striking out six batters and walking none. She went 2-0 in the tournament with an ERA of .50 while striking out eight batters and walking only two. She now leads the team in ERA (0.49), wins (10), starts (11), shutouts (5), innings pitched (72) and srike outs (70).
Florida State returns to action Tuesday, March 6 at 6:00 p.m. when they head to FAMU to face the Rattlerettes for the third time this season. It will be the last tune-up for the Seminoles before they head to California to play four games at San Diego State where they will face No. 10 Cal State Fullerton, UC Riverside and the Aztecs.