May 7, 2002
Tallahassee, FL –
Senior All-American candidate Nicole Myers showed why she is considered one of the best pitchers in the nation Tuesday night. The right-hander from St. Pete helped No. 10 Florida Atlantic (56-10) salvage a split with the 21st-ranked Seminoles by limiting the Tribe to just four hits and shutting out the Seminoles for just the fourth time all season. The loss ended FSU’s 10-game winning streak and leaves the Tribe at 48-15 at the conclusion of the regular season.
Just as they did in the first game of the twin bill, Florida Atlantic jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the second inning. Lead-off hitter Heather Wright’s two-out double down the right field line scored designated player Jennifer Piazza with the first run of the game.
Myers, a finalist for National Player of the Year honors, breezed through the first three innings. The only hit she allowed was a single to shallow center by Beth Wade. The Owls added to their lead in the top of the fourth as starter Jessica van der Linden struggled versus FAU. Florida Atlantic strung together three straight two-out hits to move in front 3-0. That ended van der Linden’s day on the mound as she gave up nine hits through 3.2 innings of work. Senior Leslie Malerich relieved her but surrender an RBI single to the first batter she faced and FAU moved on top 4-0 before the inning came to an end.
The Seminoles attempted to climb back into the game in the bottom of the frame as Jessica van der Linden reached on an error and was followed by a Brandi Stuart walk. That brought up Kimmy Carter with runners on first and second and one out. Myers set down FSU’s second all-time RBI producer on three straight pitches and then finished off the side with her eighth strikeout of the game to preserve the shutout.
Malerich picked up right where she left off in game one as she struck out the side in the bottom of the fourth. With her K to end the previous inning, Malerich struck out the last four batters she faced before the game moved into the sixth inning.
The Owls built on their lead once again in the top of the sixth as center fielder Ginny Matthews launched a blast over the fence in left extending FAU to a 5-0 advantage. The Tribe once again looked to get back into the game in the sixth when Jackie Hirschfeld drew a one out walk and van der Linden got just FSU’s second hit of the game. Brandi Stuart followed by moving the runners over to second and third before a two-out walk to Carter loaded the bases. Myers once again got out of the jam as she remained in line for her 17th shutout of the season.
The Seminoles had one final chance to try and break through against Myers in the bottom of the seventh. Wade got her second hit of the game before she was replaced by pinch runner Skyla Cox. Pinch hitter Elisa Velasco then smashed a single to second but was thrown out trying to stretch it to two after Cox slid in safe at third. Myers then completed the shutout by getting the last two Seminole batters to ground out to end the game.
Florida State opens conference tournament play Friday at 7:00 p.m. The Seminoles open up with the winner of the day’s first game between North Carolina and Virginia at 3:00 p.m. For more information on the 2002 ACC Softball Tournament including game times and ticket prices, please visit our official athletic website at www.seminoles.com.