March 27, 2003
Tallahassee, FL –
Something had to give at the Lady Rattler Softball Complex Thursday night. The 17th-ranked FSU softball team (26-9) was looking to match a season-high seven game winning streak while Florida A&M came into the game looking to equal its season-long winning streak with its third in a row. For three innings it looked like the Lady Rattlers’ (17-22) streak would live on as they led 2-0 while holding FSU to just one hit. But the Tribe exploded for nine unanswered runs and capitalized on six FAMU errors as they matched their longest winning streak of the season.
Elisa Vasquez and Shundra Colzie were the stars at the plate for FSU as they combined to knock in four RBIs and score four runs. Vasquez went 3 for 4 with three runs scored and two RBIs while Shundra Colzie was 2 for 4 with two RBIs. Casey Hunter pitched four innings as she improved to 17-5 on the season. Jessica van der Linden came in and struck out eight batters in the final three innings to pick up her first save of the season.
Florida State tried to jump on top of the Lady Rattlers early as Shandra Colzie started things off when she reached on an error by the shortstop and then stole second. Danielle Brown (12-9) held strong though as she struck out Tatiana George and then induced a van der Linden ground out. Brandi Stuart then sent a deep shot to center but the FAMU defense was there to make the play and end the top of the first.
Florida A&M put its first runner on in the bottom of the frame as Eria Williams drew a walk. She was sacrificed to second and then came around to score as Elisha Scott singled her home with a shot down the left field line. Hunter ended the inning though with a strike out looking as the game moved to the top of two with FAMU up 1-0.
Brown went right back to work in the second as she got the first two FSU batters to ground out and then finished off the Tribe with a foul out to first. Just as they did in the first, FAMU put the leadoff hitter on as Javetta Dryer reached via an infield single. The Lady Rattlers were back in business as Ashley Mitchell chopped one past a drawn in infield to put runners on first and second with nobody out. A sac bunt moved everyone up a base and Florida A&M cashed in on Teressa Scott’s sac fly as FAMU added to its lead.
With the Tribe down 2-0, Brown started the third by inducing her fourth ground ball out of the game. The Seminoles’ Natasha Jacob legged out FSU’s first hit but she was promptly wiped off the base paths as she was thrown out trying to steal for the third time in 11 attempts this season. The Seminoles then went down on another ground out to end the top of the third. The Lady Rattlers couldn’t get anything across for the first time as the game moved to the fourth.
Tatiana George started the top of the fourth off by chopping a single up the middle. She was followed by van der Linden who laced the 36th double of her career down the left field line to put runners on second and third with nobody out. The two-bagger moved van der Linden within two doubles of FSU’s all-time doubles record despite the fact the Cerritos, CA native is just a junior. Stuart got FSU on the board as she grounded out but brought a run in to cut the score to 2-1. Elisa Vasquez then knocked in her 19th RBI on the year as she singled through the left side to tie the game at 2-2. Brown next walked Beth Wade before recording the second out of the inning on Lesley Palmer’s fly ball out to right. Shundra Colzie then came up with a big two-out, RBI hit as she singled up the middle to stake FSU to a 3-2.
Brown looked to help her own cause in the bottom of the frame as she launched a double off the wall in the deepest part of the park to start the bottom of the inning. Hunter struck out Javetta Dryer as she came up attempting to sacrifice the runner over, which brought up Mitchell who was walked on a 3-2 pitch from Hunter. The Seminole right-hander K’ed her fourth and fifth batters of the game though to end the threat.
Shandra Colzie started the fifth with a leadoff walk and moved over to second on a wild pitch. That brought up George who sent a grounder up the middle to the pitcher. Brown alertly threw down to third where FAMU cut down Colzie who was running on the play. Florida State benefited from FAMU’s second error of the game as the Lady Rattlers attempted to retire George at second on van der Linden’s hard hit grounder. The ball went off the second baseman’s glove leaving everyone safe with one down in the fifth. Brown then walked Stuart on a 3-2 pitch to load the bases for Vasquez who had and RBI single in the fourth. The junior catcher came through again as she laced another single into center to put FSU in front 4-2. A wild pitch and another FAMU error allowed two more runs to come in as FSU extended its lead to 6-2. Palmer added to the FSU lead as her sacrifice fly to left brought Vasquez home with the Seminoles’ seventh run.
Van der Linden started the bottom of the frame inside the circle as she relieved Hunter and preceded to fan the first hitter she faced. After hitting Jerika Mobley, the Tribe cut down the lead runner on a fielder’s choice for the second out of the inning. Van der Linden then retired the side with her second K as Scott was punched out looking at strike three.
In the visitor half of the sixth, George had a two-out hit and a steal putting a runner in scoring position as FSU sent up van der Linden to try and drive another run home. The Lady Rattlers fifth error of the game allowed van der Linden to reach and she stole second as FAMU turned its back on the play. That brought Stuart to the pate with runners on second and third and two outs in the inning. The senior couldn’t drive anyone in though as the score remained 7-2.
In the bottom of the frame, van der Linden continued her assault on the Florida A&M bats as she K’ed her fourth batter in a row and registered her fifth out by way of the K since entering the game in the fifth.
New FAMU pitcher Monique Mattingly gave up a single to Vasquez to begin the seventh and the junior moved over to third on a wild pitch and a steal. Mattingly K’ed the next two batters watching strike three before Shundra Colzie came through with another two-out RBI single to put the Tribe up 8-2. Jacob followed by slapping a base hit past a drawn in FAMU infield. The Lady Rattlers sixth error of the game allowed another Florida State runner to cross the plate as the Seminoles scored their ninth unanswered run of the game.
Van der Linden then shut the door on any comeback bid as she registered three more K’s to end the game. The All-American candidate has now struck out 91 batters in the month of March as she has started seven games and made nine appearances.
The Seminoles will take the week off before returning to action in North Carolina next weekend. The Tribe faces Elon in an April 4 doubleheader, as they will attempt to set a season-high with their eighth consecutive win. Florida State then continues conference play at UNC April 5. The Seminoles are 2-0 in ACC play and will look to avenge their loss to the Tar Heels in last seasons ACC Tournament. For more information on the 2003 Florida State softball team, please log on to seminoles.com, the official athletic home for Florida State athletics on the internet.