April 30, 2002
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The 21st-ranked Seminole softball team (45-14-0, 6-0-0) wrapped up its ninth regular season conference title in 11 years with a 6-3 win over Virginia in the second game of Tuesday’s doubleheader. Jessica van der Linden pitched six innings and moved to 16-4 on the year while Kimmy Carter and Brandi Stuart combined to go 7-for-7 with five RBIs and three triples in the win. The loss dropped UVa to 44-20-0 and 1-6 in the conference.
After going four innings without a run in game one of the twin bill, FSU wasted little time jumping on UVa starter Valerie Sevilla (7-5) in the second game. The Seminoles put together a two-out rally as van der Linden drew a walk and came around to score on All-American candidate Stuart’s triple to deep center. The RBI was the 40th of the year for the junior, a career high, and moved her into the team lead temporarily. The Garnet and Gold moved out to a 2-0 advantage when Carter singled through the left side of the infield plating Stuart. The RBI was number 41 for Carter and moved her back into in front of Stuart for the team lead.
Van der Linden cruised through the top of the first as she retired the side in order and FSU attempted to add to its lead in the second. After Beth Wade led-off with a deep fly out to right, Elisa Velasco doubled into the gap in right. Shandra Colzie then slapped an Allinder offering to first as Virginia went to third to get Velasco. There was a collision at the bag and the ball ended up on the field with both runners being ruled safe. The brought up Tatiana George who smashed a shot to second driving in the third run of the game for FSU and putting runners on the corners with just one out. Relief pitcher Erin Allinder then came in and retired the next to Seminoles to end the threat.
Florida State continued to pour it on in the top of the third as Stuart moved to 2-for-2 in the game as she singled down the left field line. Carter followed her with a hit of her own down the left field line, this one a triple that scored Stuart and put the Seminoles up 4-0. The three-bagger was the 15th of her career and moved Carter on to the all-time leader’s list. Carter is now just the second FSU player in history who appears on the career leaders list for doubles and triples. Allinder came back to retire the next three batters and end the threat with Carter standing on third.
The Tribe once again looked as if they would build on their lead in the top of the fifth. Van der Linden led-off with a single and was sacrificed over to second on a perfect bunt by Stuart. Carter then moved to 3-for-3 on the afternoon as she singled to right center and moved van der Linden to third with just one out. Once again Allinder beared down and got back-to-back outs to end the threat.
Virginia looked to get back into the game in the bottom of the fifth as they loaded the bases on two hits and a key two-out error. The Cavs took advantage of the miscue as the next batter, Ruby Rojas singled down the left field line cutting the Seminoles’ lead in half. After a walk to Dennis once again loaded the bases, a passed ball allowed another UVa run to come in bringing the Cavaliers within a run at 4-3.
Florida State added to its lead in the top of the seventh as it looked to give van der Linden a cushion heading into Virginia’s last at-bat. The hurler looked to help her own cause as she started the inning off by singling up the middle. That brought up Stuart who was already 2-for-2 on the day with a single and a triple. The junior tripled again, this time into the gap in right bringing home van der Linden and putting the Seminoles up 5-3. Carter then laid down the perfect suicide squeeze bunt scoring Stuart and giving FSU the 6-3 lead. The bunt single moved the senior to 4-for-4 on the day with three RBIs.
Van der Linden, who held the Cavs without a hit through 3 2/3 innings, finished the day without allowing an earned run before giving way to Leslie Malerich in the top of the seventh. Malerich closed the game out for her fourth save of the season.
The Seminoles wrap-up ACC play at Maryland (30-18, 2-3) Thursday, May 2 at 5:00 p.m. as they attempt to become the first ACC team to ever complete the regular season at 8-0. The Tribe will close out the regular season with two home series versus Troy State Saturday, May 4 at 1:00 p.m. and No. 10 Florida Atlantic Tuesday, May 7 at 5:30 p.m. For more information on Seminole softball, please visit our official athletic website at www.seminoles.com.