May 18, 2004 - by
NCAA Postseason Media Guide For No. 4 FSU Now On-Line

May 18, 2004

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When Florida State opened the ACC Tournament with a 3-2 win over Georgia Tech, the headline in the Tallahassee Democrat read “BAD HOSTS” and that has been the case pretty much all season long. Florida State enters the NCAA Region 4 Tournament on a 25 game win streak at home and the last time a team defeated FSU at the Seminole Softball Complex was March 6 when the Tribe fell in 10 innings to No. 9 Louisiana-Lafayette and Brooke Mitchell. Overall, FSU is 36-1 at home and is 19-1 in home tournaments. In its last two home regionals, FSU has gone 8-3, reaching the championship game in both tournaments and advancing to the College World Series in 2002.

While the Florida State pitchers may not have been “perfect” this past weekend at the ACC Championships, Casey Hunter and Jessica van der Linden were pretty close. The tandem went 3-0 with a shutout, one earned run, 25 strikeouts and just two walks. They allowed just seven hits all tournament leading FSU to an ACC Championship. In contrast FSU recorded 25 hits in its three games. The Florida State pitchers will be relied upon heavily if the Tribe has any chance of reaching its seventh WCWS. The 2004 staff will go down as one of the best ever. They are No. 1 in the nation in ERA as a team, they are both in the top four in ERA individually, they are both in the top 20 in wins and van der Linden is fifth in the nation in strikeouts. They have pitched FSU past 15 ranked opponents and both Hunter and van der Linden have entered the top five for K’s in a single season (van der Linden is first and Hunter is fifth). The duo has even gone on to set a new team record for strikeouts in a season. Hunter and van der Linden, combined with eight K’s from freshman Amy Harrison, shattered the previous team record of 558 K’s in a season with 602 this year.

While Jessica van der Linden assaults the record books and Veronica Wootson re-writes rookie records left and right there are some records the 2004 team as a whole is laying waste to. The 2004 squad has already blown away the single season strikeout record by 42 K’s (558 to 602). This year’s team has also set a new record for RBIs with 297 as they look to become the first FSU squad ever to record 300 RBIs in a season. The Tribe smashed the single season home run record weeks ago and has now outdistanced the old mark by eight homers (41 to 33). The Seminoles are closing in on a couple of other records as well. The 2004 squad is five walks away of reaching 238 and setting a new record in that category as well as 13 runs away from establishing an all-time mark there as well. While it might be hard to drop their opponent batting average from .129 to .091, the .129 average is the fourth-lowest number in school history.

Florida State has spent most of the year just behind consensus No. 1 Arizona. Whether it be in the polls or the NCAA Stats for winning percentage, FSU has been keeping pretty good company. Although the Tribe is a national No. 4 seed, they are just behind the Wildcats in one more area. Of the eight number one seeds in the upcoming NCAA Tournament, Arizona and Florida State are No. 1 and No. 2 again, this time in winning percentage versus the NCAA field. The Cats went a remarkable 26-4 for a .866 winning percentage. FSU went 20-6 posting a .769 winning percentage. Considering six of Arizona’s Pac 10 opponents are going to NCAA’s and the Pac 10 plays three-game series, 18 of Arizona’s 30 games versus the NCAA field were conference games. Compare that to Florid State, which played only four conference games versus NCAA Regional opponents and 22 versus non-conference schools. That just goes to show the type of out of conference FSU played when they faced 12 more NCAA Regional teams than the consensus No. 1 team in the land. Florida State is one of just No. 1 seeds with a winning percentage versus the NCAA field above .700 and the other two schools are UCLA and Arizona.

No. 1 Arizona         30               26-4               .866
No. 2 UCLA            31               22-9               .709
No.3 LSU              40               30-10              .750
No. 4 FSU             26               20-6               .769
No. 5 Cal             30               19-11              .633
No. 6 Michigan        31               21-10              .677
No. 7 Stanford        35               22-13              .628
No. 8 Georgia         34               18-16              .529

The Seminoles stormed through the ACC Tournament this past weekend on their way to the school’s tenth title in the last 13 years. Florida State needed just three games to capture the crown and it is the seventh time that FSU has won the title by going undefeated in the championships. After winning the ACC Tournament in 2003, this title also marks the seventh back-to-back championship in school history. No ACC team besides Florida State has ever won the title more than once and two squads have never won an ACC crown. In the last two ACC Tournaments FSU has gone 6-0 and if you include regular season conference games, the Seminoles are 23-1 in 2003 and 2004 versus the ACC.

After going 2-4 to close out the regular season, the Seminoles were in danger of stumbling through the ACC Tournament and losing everything they had worked for all season when they reached No. 2 in the polls and went 52-5. The Tribe’s 2004 seniors wouldn’t let that happen. The three players came through repeatedly for FSU all weekend long and not only did they take FSU to its 10th title, they gave the Tribe its momentum back heading into the NCAA Tournament. The three seniors were the top three hitters for FSU with Jessica van der Linden leading the way at .556 and Elisa Vasquez and Beth Wade not far behind at .500. All together the group hit .519 going 14-for-27 with five RBIs, two doubles, a home run, two walks and just one strikeout.

Not only did they hit well, each came up with huge plays at some point during the weekend. Vasquez hit her first home run since February 7, the second game of the season, at one of the most crucial times of the tournament. With FSU trailing to Georgia Tech 1-0 in its opener, her solo blast evened the game and was the first of three straight runs for FSU as they went up 3-1. But Vasquez’s play in the seventh was even more crucial. With Tech down by two and runners on second and third with two outs, the Yellow Jacket’s Kirin Kumar singled to center field plating one run and sending the tying run barreling towards home. van der Linden fired in a perfect one hopper and Vasquez fielded it and applied the tag on a sliding Kumar to end the game and save the 3-2 win.

van der Linden was huge all weekend. Not only did she extend her hitting streak to eight games, she pitched a two hit shutout versus UNC and she recorded multiple hits in two of the three games. The biggest play of the weekend for the senior probably came when she stepped up with the bases loaded versus North Carolina. FSU was hitting below .260 as a team with the sacks full but van der Linden singled through the right side scoring three runs (two RBIs and one came home on an error). The hit broke open a tenuous 2-0 game and eventually FSU scored six runs in the third to cruise to a run-rule win.

For Wade she had the play of the weekend. With FSU having lost seventh inning leads twice in the final four games of the regular season and needing a game-saving play in the seventh in the first game with Tech, there were plenty of nerves in the bottom of the seventh on championship Sunday when the first Yellow Jacket of the inning reached on an error. The next batter smoked a shot down the first base line where Wade snared the shot and stepped on the bag to record the double play and seal the ACC Title for the Seminoles.

The Tribe smashed the single season home run record weeks ago and has now outdistanced the old mark by eight homers (41 to 33). While the batters are doing their part when it comes to the long ball, the FSU pitchers are playing the part as well. The 2004 FSU staff has surrendered just five homers all season (Casey Hunter 1, Jessica van der Linden 3 and Amy Harrison 1). That translates to an 8 to 1 advantage for FSU when it comes to their homers versus the amount allowed to opponents.

Beth Wade is having a senior season that most players just dream about. In her final go around she is setting personal highs in very possible category. She was named to her first ever All-ACC team after three years as a starter and after hitting .500 with two doubles in the ACC Tournament she was named to the ACC Championship All-Tournament team as well. Her average has gone back above .300 and she continues to add to her personal best 54 hits. Coming into 2004 Wade had collected 69 hits in her entire career, which covered 309 at bats. She is now just 15 hits shy of equaling her career numbers in just one season and in 130 less at bats.

Not only is USA Softball Player of the Year finalist Jessica van der Linden absolutely money in the circle but you could argue she is just as clutch when it comes to her hitting. She has recorded wins on the hill over No. 8 Washington, No. 20 Oklahoma, No. 24 Texas A&M, No. 7 Michigan, No. 15 Fresno State and No. 16 Auburn and has game-winning RBIs versus No. 20 Oklahoma, No. 24 Texas A&M, No. 15 Fresno State and No. 21 Florida as well. Nobody on the team hits better in the most pressure filled situation, when the bases are loaded. FSU as a team is hitting just .262 with the sacks full this year but in 11 opportunities van der Linden has five hits and is batting .455.

Most wins in a regional: 4 (twice) in 2001-Tallahassee Regional & 2002-Tallahassee Regional
Most loses in a regional: 2(10 times), latest 2003 Gainesville Regional (0-1 UTA, 1-2 Ore St)
Most runs scored: 18 (twice) in 1996-Tallahassee Regional & 2001-Tallahassee Regional
Least runs scored: 0 (three times) in 1986-South Regional (Ruston, LA), in 1998-Midwest Regional (Stillwater, OK) & 2003 Gainesville Regional
Times shut out an opponent: 13, latest vs. UTC (1-0, 2002 Tallahassee Regional)
Times shut out: 10, latest vs. UTC (0-1, 2003 Gainesville Regional)
Most runs allowed in a regional: 23 in 1995 West Regional (Tucson, AZ)
Least runs allowed in a regional: 0 in 1992 South Regional
Most shut outs in one regional: 3 in 1992 South Regional (Lafayette, LA)
Largest margin of victory: 6 runs vs. South Florida, 1996 South Regional (Tallahassee, FL)
Largest margin of defeat: 15 runs vs. Arizona, 1995 West Regional (Tucson, AZ)
Record when playing regional in Florida: 15-10
Record when playing regional out of Florida: 14-12
Times advancing to WCWS from Florida Regional: 3 latest 2002 Tallahassee Regional
Record when playing schools from Florida: 5-0

Florida State vs. SEC, 3-2 (2004: W, So. Carolina 3-1; W, Florida 2-0; W, Auburn 4-0; 2004: L, Louisiana St 3-4; L, Auburn 0-1)
Florida State vs. Big 10, 3-2 (2004: W, Minnesota 3-0; W, Penn State 8-0; W Michigan 1-0; 2004: L, Michigan 1-2; L, Michigan 0-1)
Florida State vs. C-USA, 3-0 (2004: W, Louisville 8-0; W, S. Mississippi 5-1; W, S. Mississippi 9-1)
Florida State vs. Big West, 1-0 (2004: W, Cal State Fullerton 3-0)
Florida State vs. PAC-10, 3-8 (2004: W, Washington 7-1; W, Arizona State 1-0)
Florida State vs. MEAC, 5-0 (2004: W, Florida A&M 9-1: W, FAM 8-0: W, FAM 12-0; W, FAM 12-0; W, FAM 12-0)

Vs. Florida: Florida State leads 11-5
Last FSU victory: 2004, 2-0
Last UF Victory: 2002, 1-7
Postseason Record: FSU leads 1-0 (2001: 6-2, Tallahassee Regional)

Vs. South Florida: Florida State leads 38-12
Last FSU victory: 1999, 5-1
Last USF victory: 1999, 1-7
Postseason record: FSU leads 2-0 (1996: 3-1 & 6-0 South Regional, Tallahassee, Fla.)

Vs. Ohio State: Florida State leads 10-3
Last FSU victory: 1997, 7-2
Last Ohio St. victory: 2002, 1-2
Postseason record: 0-0

Vs. Oregon: Oregon leads 3-2
Last FSU victory: 1996, 1-0
Last Oregon victory: 2003, 3-1
Postseason record: 0-0

Vs. Cal State Northridge: Cal State Northridge leads 3-0
Last FSU victory: n/a
Last CSN victory: 1998, 3-4
Postseason record: 0-0

Vs. Bethune-Cookman: FSU leads 4-0
Last FSU victory: 2001, 6-2
Last BCC victory: n/a
Postseason record: FSU leads 1-0 (2001: 6-2, Tallahassee Regional)


Played Florida: FSU wins 2-0
Lost to Florida: 7-1 (2001)
Shutout Florida: 2-0 (2004)
Was Shutout by Florida: 2-0 (1999)
Won in Gainesville: 7-2 (2003)
Current win streak vs. Florida: 4
Current win streak in Gainesville: 5
Played UF (neutral): FSU 6-2 (2001)

Played Oregon: Oregon wins 3-1
Beat Oregon: 1-0 (1996)
Shutout Oregon: 1-0 (1996)
Was shutout by Oregon: 2-0 (1998)
Current win streak vs. Oregon: 2
Played Oregon (neutral): Oregon 2-0 (1998)

Played Ohio St: Ohio State wins 2-1 (2002)
Beat Ohio State: 7-2 (1997)
Shutout Ohio State: 1-0 (1992)
Was shutout by Ohio State: 1-0 (1996)
Current win streak vs. Ohio State: 9
Played Ohio State (neutral): Ohio State wins 2-1 (2002)

Played Cal State Northridge: Cal St. Northridge wins 4-3 (1998)
Beat Cal State Northridge: N/A
Shut out Cal State Northridge: N/A
Was shutout by Cal State Northridge: 1-0 (1991)
Current win streak vs. Cal State Northridge: N/A
Played Cal State Northridge (neutral): Cal State Northridge wins 4-3 (1998)

Played S. Florida: FSU wins 5-1 (1999)
Lost to S. Florida: 1-2 (1999)
Shutout S. Florida: 6-0 (1996)
Was shutout by S. Florida: 3-0 (1995)
Current win streak vs. S. Florida: 2
Played USF (neutral): FSU 6-0 (1996)

Played BCC: FSU wins 6-2 (2000)
Lost to BCC: N/A
Shutout BCC: 1-0 (2000)
Was shutout by BCC: N/A
Current win streak vs. BCC: 4
Played BCC (neutral): N/A

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