April 11, 2001
Tallahassee, FL –
The Florida State softball team returned to Rattlerette Field Wednesday evening a month after Florida A&M upset the Seminoles on a four-run, bottom of the seventh rally that sent the Seminoles to only their fifth loss in over 60 meetings between the schools. The Noles once again jumped out to a big lead on the Rattlerettes but this time they made it stand up as they improved to 40-7 on the season with the 6-0 win. The loss was FAMU’s fourth of the year to FSU and it dropped the Rattlerettes to 15-33 on the year.
“It wasn’t the prettiest of games but I was happy with the way Leslie pitched and they way we took advantage of some of the opportunities we were given,” said head coach Dr. JoAnne Graf. “We were very aware of what happened the last time we played FAMU at their field and we wanted to make sure we played more fundamentally sound tonight.”
Florida State opened the scoring in the second when Jen White-Stokes was hit by FAMU starter Tiya Hines to open the inning. Monique Marier then reached on an attempted sacrifice when Rattlerette third baseman Raven Rushton was unable to make a play on the infield hit. After Hines hit Natalie Bennett to load the bases, red shirt freshman Beth Wade launched a double to the deepest part of Rattlerette Field to score White-Stokes but Marier was gunned down at the plate to limit FSU to just one run in the inning.
The Seminoles added a second run in the top of the third when back-to-back errors by FAMU second baseman Natalie Mathews allowed Kimmy Carter and Jessica van der Linden to reach. Carter, who advanced to third after the error that allowed van der Linden to reach, came around to score when Florida A&M attempted to pick off van der Linden but the ball ended up in center field. It was the Rattlerette’s fourth error of the game and the seventh FAMU miscue in five meetings with Florida State.
The Seminoles continued to build on their lead in the fifth when Carter singled up the middle and van der Linden then sacrificed her to second. Brandi Stuart followed with a base hit to third and White-Stokes plated Carter on a double deep to right field. Stuart came around to extend the Seminoles to a 4-0 lead when Hines committed her third error of the evening on a ground ball off of Bennett’s bat.
The Noles added two more runs in the top of the seventh when van der Linden doubled down the right field line to start the inning. She moved over to third on a fielder’s choice by Stuart. After Stuart stole second, her 21st steal of the season, White-Stokes walked to load the bases with no outs. Marier then recorded her 23rd RBI of the season on a sacrifice to the shortstop to put FSU up 5-0. After Stuart was tagged out at home on an attempted squeeze play, Bennett lined a double down the left field line to score White-Stokes and give the Seminoles a 6-0 lead.
Leslie Malerich, for only the second time this season, didn’t walk a single batter over seven innings and recorded her second one-hitter of the season Wednesday night. She struck out two Rattlerettes on the way to her 15th complete game of the season. Malerich, now 15-2, lowered her ERA to just 0.65 and she now leads the team in wins and is tied for the team lead in complete games and shutouts (9).
The Seminoles continue their 14 game road trip when they travel to Alabama this weekend for four games with the University Alabama-Birmingham and Jacksonville State. Florida State and UAB will play a doubleheader Saturday, April 14 and the Noles and JSU will play a doubleheader Sunday, April 15. Game times for both doubleheaders will be 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.