March 14, 2002
The 22nd-ranked Seminole softball team got its first win of the year versus a ranked opponent in seven tries as they downed the sixth-ranked Sooners 1-0 in opening round play at the Kia Classic in Fullerton, CA. Senior All-American pitcher Leslie Malerich (14-7) struck out eight OU batters and senior Becky Brock knocked her first game-winning RBI of the year as FSU improved to 22-9-0 on the season. The loss dropped Oklahoma, who is just a year removed from winning the National Championship, to 23-6-0 on the year.
“I thought we played well defensively and Leslie (Malerich had a great game for us on the mound,” said head coach JoAnne Graf. “I knew we were capable of playing with a team of Oklahoma’s caliber and today we showed that. We got some key hits from the bottom of our order and you can’t say enough about the job Leslie did today.”
Malerich, just one game after matching a season-high nine strike outs versus Southern Illinois Monday night, picked up right where she left off. She limited a Sooner squad, which entered the game hitting .304 as a team, to just three hits and has now been the pitcher of record in the Tribe’s last 11 victories. Today’s shutout raises her total to seven on the year and she has allowed an earned run in just three of her last seventeen outings.
Florida State put together its first threat of the game in the second inning when Elisa Velasco sent a one-out shot right at Sooner starter Kami Keiter (5-2) which she turned into a single as she beat out the throw at first. Monique Marier sacrificed Velasco to third before freshman Bryttani Lindheim singled to right field. The shot wasn’t deep enough to bring Velasco home and the inning ended with the sophomore standing on third.
Oklahoma mounted its own threat in the bottom of the third. Keiter led off the inning with a single and Malerich then walked Erin Evans to put runners on first and second with no outs. Malerich then retired the next three batters and recorded her second and third strikeouts of the game to end the threat.
The Sooners put together another potential rally in the fourth as Christina Enea started OU off with a single up the middle. She moved over to second as Jennifer Stump reached on a fielder’s choice and a Seminole error let Enea get in safely. With no outs, Malerich once again attempted to bail the Seminole defense out of a jam. She struck out her fourth batter of the game and then got a foul out to the catcher before walking Keiter to load the bases. Malerich went to a full count versus Evans before pulling the string on the center fielder as she struck her fourth batter looking and kept the game tied at 0-0.
The Tribe answered OU in the top of the fifth when Marier led off the inning by lacing a 0-2 pitch down the left field line for FSU’s first extra base hit of the game. After sophomore Skyla Cox came in to pinch run at second, Lindheim sacrificed Cox to third bringing up senior Becky Brock. The third baseman, who entered the game as one of FSU’s hottest hitters with a hit in four of her last five games, sent a shot to right center driving in her second RBI of the year. The run gave FSU its first lead of the season versus a ranked team as they went to the bottom of the fifth up 1-0 on the sixth-ranked Sooners.
Florida State will next be in action when they face Rutgers at 6:00 p.m. EST. The Garnet and Gold finishes pool play Friday, March 15 versus No. 9 Cal State Fullerton at 6:00 p.m. EST. Live stats will be available for Friday’s game versus the Titans. For more information, please visit our official athletic website at www.seminoles.com.