Feb. 22, 2002
Las Cruces, NM –
The 17th-ranked Florida State softball team dropped its opener at the Troy Cox Classic hosted by New Mexico State University falling 4-1 in extra innings to Texas Tech. The Red Raiders (6-12) used a three-run top of the eighth keyed by a Kristi Robles double to down the Seminoles 4-1 (9-5). Florida State returns to action at 8:30 p.m. EST when they face host NMSU.
The Seminoles took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second when sophomore Elisa Velasco singled to right center and stole second to start the inning. Senior Kimmy Carter then laid down a perfect bunt on a 1-1 count advancing Velasco to third. After Tatiana George was retired on a line out to the shortstop, Monique Marier singled the second pitch she saw to center field knocking in her eighth RBI of the season.
The Red Raiders struck back in the top of the fourth off of Seminole starter Leslie Malerich. Texas Tech used two hits and an error due to a mix up in the Seminole outfield to even the game at 1-1. The Seminoles had a chance to take the lead in the fourth when they stranded runners at second and third and in the fifth when a lead out single was wiped up by a failed bunt attempt that resulted in a double play.
Brandi Stuart attempted to spark the FSU offense in the bottom of the sixth when she laid down a one-out bunt to get on base and then stole her 16th base in 16 attempts. Stuart moved over to third on an illegal pitch by Tech starter Jennifer Vaught, which brought Velasco up to the plate. Velasco sent a shot back to the pitcher who put her out at first and then doubled up Stewart on a play at the plate.
With game still even at 1-1, Malerich put the Red Raiders down in order in the top of the seventh setting the stage for FSU in its final at bat. The Seminoles were unable to cash in and went one-two-three in the bottom of the frame sending the game to extra innings and putting the international tie-breaker into effect (a runner is placed at second to start each inning).
The Red Raiders immediately took advantage when Tracy Cartier was placed on second and was moved to third with no outs on a successful bunt by Esmeralda Perez. After a Malerich walk loaded the bases, Robles lined a shot down the left field line plating two runs and giving Tech a 3-1 advantage. Jana Baker followed with a single to extend the Red Raider lead to 4-1 lead before the top of the eighth was over.
The Seminoles couldn’t answer the Tech rally in the bottom of the eighth. Reliever Kristina Blair retired the first two batters on strikeouts before walking pinch hitter Jackie Hirschfeld to put runners on first and second. Van der Linden then reached on an error loading the bases before a Stuart ground out ended the game. The win was the third of the season for Blair and sent FSU to its fifth loss of the year.
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