March 25, 2003
FSU will face ACC rival Maryland on Tuesday. This will be the 25th meeting between the teams with Florida State leading the all-time series 21-2-1. The Seminoles have won 10 straight over the Terrapins and have recorded 10 shutouts since the teams first met in 1996. In 2001, the Seminoles defeated Maryland in all five of their meetings, outscoring the Terps 26-5. Brandi Stuart went 6-for-15 against Maryland that season and hit two home runs. In their only meeting of 2002, FSU rallied late to defeat their conference foe 2-1. Brandi Stuart homered to center field in the sixth inning to tie the game at 1-1 and Tatiana George doubled in the seventh to bring home the winning run. Jessica van der Linden pitched all seven innings striking out nine batters and allowing only three hits.
SEMINOLES IN ACC OPENERS
Florida State will open ACC play with the Maryland Terrapins for the first time in team history this week. The Teams never played in conference in 2002 due to poor field conditions at Maryland’s new Terrapin Softball Complex. It was the first time in seven years that the teams didn’t play a conference game or meet in the ACC Tournament. After starting ACC play with a 14-1 record in openers between 1992 and 1999, the Seminoles are just 3-3 in ACC openers over the last three years and have won just one ACC Title in that span. Between 1992 and 1999, FSU won eight ACC Championships.
Year Record ACC Tourney Finish 1992 1-0 (ACC Champs) 1993 2-0 (ACC Champs) 1994 2-0 (ACC Runner-up) 1995 2-0 (ACC Champs) 1996 1-1 (ACC Champs) 1997 2-0 (ACC Champs - tie) 1998 2-0 (ACC Champs) 1999 2-0 (ACC Champs) 2000 0-2 (ACC Champs) 2001 1-1 (ACC Runner-up) 2002 2-0
Five ACC titles won when starting 2-0 One ACC title won when starting 1-0 One ACC title won when starting 1-1 One ACC title won when starting 0-2 First time facing Maryland in ACC opener. Outscored opponents in ACC openers 122-38 Outscored Georgia Tech 106-35 in ACC openers Opened ACC play versus Georgia Tech in 10 of last 11 years (Virginia in 1999)
FSU will take on hometown rival FAMU on Thursday. This will be the 81st meeting between the teams with the Seminoles leading the all-time series 75-5. The Seminoles have won nine straight over the Rattlerettes and 16 of the last 17 dating back to 2000. Last season the Seminoles defeated FAMU in all four of their meetings and are continuing their streak in 2003, outscoring their opponent 18-2 in two straight wins. In their most recent meeting, FSU defeated Florida A&M 5-0. Sophomore Casey Hunter pitched the first no-hitter of her career, striking out 11 batters and issuing just three walks. Jessica van der Linden went 3-for-4 and Tatiana George, Brandi Stuart, Elisa Vasquez, Beth Wade and Shandra Colzie combined for six of the team’s nine hits.
SWING AND A MISS
If you felt a strong breeze from the north Saturday and Sunday it probably was emanating from the Al Bishop Softball Complex in Marietta, GA. That was because teams were fanning over and over against All-American candidate Jessica van der Linden at the 2003 Buzz Classic. The junior left-hander pitched 17 innings and struck out 30 batters including a career-high 18 versus 2002 NCAA Tournament team Boston University. She has now recorded double digit strikeouts in five of her last six starts and her 64 K’s in those five starts are more than the 59 she amassed in her other nine starts and one relief appearance. On top of the 64 K’s in those five games she has walked just seven batters in those outings giving her a strikeout to walk ratio of over 9 to 1 in that span. Not surprisingly, van der Linden won all five of those starts and has rebounded from a 3-3 start to win five of her last six decisions with the only loss coming to No. 1 Arizona.
IN CASEY YOU MISSED IT
When Casey Hunter allowed just three hits in two games at the Buzz Classic Tournament, nobody should have been the least bit surprised. The sophomore has allowed three or less hits in 10 of her 18 starts this year after limiting Middle Tennessee to one hit and Princeton to two hits. Hunter’s season has been a dream thus and a surprise to many outside of Tallahassee considering she made just two starts as a freshman. Although nobody expected or asked her to fill the role of FSU’s all-time wins leader Leslie Malerich, she is posting better numbers than Malerich did through 32 games during her senior year. Both pitchers had 14 wins but Hunter has two fewer losses than Malerich. Hunter has a better ERA (0.71 to 0.94), more complete games (16 to 14), the same number of shutouts (7), allowed 22 fewer hits, given up four fewer earned runs, struck out 39 more batters, allowed six fewer extra base hits and a lower opponents batting average (.142 to .186) .
WADE-ING TO EXHALE
Beth Wade put on a show for her hometown crowd in Marietta, GA as she led FSU in nine different offensive categories as the Seminoles captured the 2003 Buzz Classic Championship with a 4-0 record. The first baseman, who was named to the Buzz Classic All-Tournament team, hit .500, had a triple and more than doubled her season total for RBIs with five in four games. She led the Tribe in average, hits (6), triples (1), RBIs, slugging percentage (.667), on base percentage (.538), sacrifice hits (2), putouts (32) and fielding percentage (1.000). She was also second on the team with two runs scored and eight total bases and was the only Seminole not to strike out during the entire tournament. The redshirt junior had a phenomenal weekend in every offensive setting as she hit .600 versus right-handers, .500 with runners in scoring position, .500 with two outs, .500 with runners on, .500 with the bases empty, .500 as a leadoff hitter and she successfully advanced base runners almost 63% of the time.
In the tournament opener versus 2002 NCAA Tournament team Princeton, Wade knocked in three of FSU’s five runs with a bases loaded triple to right center that turned a 2-1 game into a 5-1 blow out. She also singled in her first at bat to go 2 for 3 in the game. She followed up the game versus the Tigers with another 2 for 3 performance against another 2002 NCAA Tournament team. In her first three at bats against Boston University, Wade had two singles and a sacrifice for FSU in a 2-1 win. Had another huge game against Middle Tennessee as the Tribe looked to win its third game in one day. In the Seminoles’ final outing she went 2 for 4 with two more RBIs and two runs scored. She scored the game-winning run in the second when she led the inning off with a single and eventually came around to score her first run of the game. In her next at bat, FSU had runners on second and third with two outs. Wade came through again as she drove in her fourth and fifth RBIs of the day on a single to right. The five RBIs eclipsed the four she had amassed in the previous 28 games entering the weekend. Although she went 0 for 2 in FSU’s tournament clinching win over Georgia State, Wade was a big factor in the win. Besides drawing a walk, it was her sacrifice bunt in the eighth that moved the game-winning run into scoring position and allowed the Tribe to complete a 4-0 week.
PERFECT TIME FOR THE FIRST ONE
Florida State’s 2-1, nine inning win over 2002 NCAA Tournament team Boston University was the type of game that can propel a team to great things. After stranding 10 runners through the first eight innings, the Seminoles came to bat in the bottom of the inning facing a 1-0 deficit. Due to international tiebreaker rules, a runner was placed at second to start the inning but a strikeout and a fielder’s choice left FSU with two outs and a runner on first when Elisa Vasquez was called on to pinch-hit. The junior, who was second on the team with 16 RBIs, was sitting out a rare game when she was called upon to keep FSU’s hopes alive. The catcher from Hesperia, CA did more than that as she launched the second pitch she saw over the fence in left field giving Florida State the 2-1 win. The home run was the first of Vasquez’s career and the second walk-off hit of her career. The other came in the bottom of the seventh versus Auburn in 2002.
RAKING UP IN THE REGION
Tuesday’s opener with Maryland is important in many ways for the Seminoles postseason hopes. While the ACC game is a matter of pride, it is also a regional game and that is where NCAA Tournament bids come from so it is a very important doubleheader for the Tribe. The ACC’s conference champion doesn’t get an automatic bid to the NCAA’s so regional records and rankings are even more important for Atlantic Coast Conference teams in search of an at-large bid. Florida State is already 8-1 in South Region games but they are behind the eight ball a little bit due to a rain out versus Mercer and an early loss to Georgia Southern. Last season the Seminoles received an at-large bid with a 24-4 regional record and a ranking of two just behind Florida Atlantic. The first NCAA report was sent in Monday, March 24 so the first regional rankings of the year aren’t far away.
Whenever you go out to the KIA Klassic and face a field that features seven Top 10 teams and 10 Top 25 teams, there is always a chance that you could get a loss or two. That was the case for not only FSU who went 1-2 but also for No. 5 Nebraska (1-2), No. 7 Texas (0-3) and No. 13 Arizona State (1-2). With their two losses in Fullerton, the Seminoles were 1-3 in their last four games. The only two times this year that FSU has had any sort of losing streak they have followed with their two longest winning streaks. After losing two of three games just over a week into the season, the Tribe responded by winning a season-long seven games in a row. The Seminoles responded in a similar fashion after losing three of four during a trip to the NFCA Leadoff Classic. After that mini slide, FSU reeled off six consecutive wins. So far, so good as the Seminoles went to the 2003 Buzz Classic and won four straight games. They will look to match their second-longest winning streak of the year versus Maryland Tuesday night.
BUZZING FOR ENTIRELY DIFFERENT REASONS
Last year the Seminoles went to the Buzz Classic Tournament in Marietta, GA and smashed the ball all weekend long. They hit 10 homers but walked away without even reaching the semi-finals of the tournament. This year the Seminoles didn’t hit nearly as many home runs (two) but they did come away from the rain-shortened tournament with the title. Florida State grabbed the crown by virtue of its 4-0 record and by allowing just five runs all weekend, which was the first tiebreaker. The only other team to go 4-0 was North Carolina but they allowed seven runs. The Seminoles were cruising to the tournament title up 3-0 on Georgia State having allowed just two runs in almost four games at the Buzz. The Tar Heels hadn’t played yet but they were entering their game with Lipscomb at 3-0 with five runs allowed. The Lady Bisons were 0-3 and had been outscored 24-12 at the Buzz. When the Panthers homered in the top of the seventh the Heels and Seminoles moved back into a tie for the tournament title considering FSU was able to comeback and pull out the victory over GSU. The second tiebreaker was run differential and that belonged to UNC. The Seminoles pulled out a 4-3 win over Georgia State but then needed Lipscomb to score a run to snatch the crown back. The Heels prevailed but the 3-2 win allowed Florida State to claim its first-ever Buzz Classic crown.
DIDN’T WE DO THAT BEFORE?
When FSU opened Buzz Classic play with three wins in a day it might of reminded the Seminole softball faithful of last year’s NCAA Tournament when FSU rallied to win three games in one day to make its sixth trip to the College World Series. Or maybe some remembered back to 2000 when FSU won three in a day to capture the team’s eighth ACC Title. Playing three games in a day is a lot but FSU has played a tripleheader 43 times since 1990 and even played four games in a single day once. The Seminoles have gone 3-0 20 times in those 43 tripleheaders and even went 4-0 in its lone quadruple header. The Tribe has swept a tripleheader every year since 1990 except for 1999 (FSU didn’t play a tripleheader in 2001). In 1991, the Seminoles swept a record four tripleheaders and even won a quadruple header that year.