May 27, 2002
Oklahoma City, OK –
After equaling the best finish in FSU softball history in the semi-finals at the 2002 Women’s College World Series, Florida State had one more accolade waiting for them when they arrived back home in Tallahassee Monday. Senior hurler Leslie Malerich was named to the 2002 All-College World Series Team. She is just the third FSU player to ever be named to the All-Tournament team at the WCWS.
The Merrillville, IN native was the heart and soul of FSU’s run into the semi-finals and third place finish in the National Championship tournament. Malerich was a part of every one of FSU’s last seven decisions as the team advanced through the NCAA Tallahassee Regional to the WCWS. Over that stretch, she went 5-2 while throwing 791 pitches in 60 innings of work. She held No. 1 UCLA to just one run over nine innings, newly crowned NCAA Champion Cal to one run and pitched four scoreless innings in a 2-2 game versus 2001 National Champion Arizona.
“We are so proud of the job Leslie did all week and throughout her career,” said head coach Dr, JoAnne Graf. “I am glad those people who watched the tournament recognized how important she was to our success in Oklahoma City. It is just such a great cap to her brilliant career as a Seminole.”
With a Florida State’s victory over No. 7 Nebraska Saturday night to move into the semi-finals, Malerich became only the second Seminole pitcher to collect two victories in the College World Series. Debbie DeJohn was the first Seminole to perform such a feat when she defeated Fresno State and UNLV back in 1990. That year the Seminoles went 2-2 in the WCWS; they’re best showing ever in a College World Series before this season.
Malerich closed out her career as the winningest pitcher in FSU history. She became just the second pitcher at Florida State to ever throw 300 or more innings in a career and she did it as a sophomore and a senior. She also moved into first place for career appearances, starts and innings pitched.
“This is such a huge honor and I am so thrilled with the success this team had in the World Series,” said Malerich. “On a personal level, I think the best thing for me has been coming out here and earning some respect. Everyone seemed to overlook me, but I think it’s the fact that, along with the team earning respect, I felt in some ways I also earned some respect. And I think that’s the highlight of it as an individual player and competitor.”