April 20, 2002
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –
The 20th-ranked Florida State softball team (40-14-0, 3-0) renewed its conference rivalry with North Carolina Saturday afternoon. After falling behind 3-0 and 5-2, the Seminoles staged two comebacks and downed the defending ACC Champion Tar Heels (29-22-0, 2-3) in eight innings. The win was the 40th of the season for FSU and marks the 21st time since 1982 that FSU has amassed at least 40 wins.
Senior Leslie Malerich improved to 23-10 on the season in picking up her 95th career win. It was also her 24th complete game of the season. Brandi Stuart, Kimmy Carter and Monique Marier each had two RBIs for FSU and Shandra Colzie went 3-for4 with three runs scored.
In a scene reminiscent of Wednesday’s game one with the Gators, the Tar Heels jumped out of the gate by scoring three runs off of Malerich. The Heels recorded four hits, including two doubles, to take the first inning lead. Just like the first game against UF, FSU came back to put runners on base with a chance to answer the Heels but couldn’t get anything across against UNC starter Ashley Miller as they left runners stranded on second and third.
Malerich settled down in the top of the second as she retired the side in order on just six pitches. The Seminole offense looked like they would chip into the lead when Marier led off the bottom of the second inning by reaching on a two base error. She was sacrificed to third and with two outs in the inning senior Beck Brock sent a shot down the right field line. Tar Heel right fielder Rosie Gustavson robbed the third baseman with a full out dive and was able to hold on to the ball to retire the side.
Malerich went on to record her seventh consecutive out as she once again retired the side in order in the third. Florida State got off to another solid start in the third as Shundra Colzie singled to extend her personal best hitting streak to six games. Her twin sister Shandra followed her with a slap single to short putting runners on first and second. Jessica van der Linden loaded the bases with no outs as she singled to shallow left field, which brought up FSU’s leading hitter Stuart. Stuart fouled of three straight Ramsey pitches before drawing a walk to narrow the UNC lead to 3-1 and increasing Stuart’s team-leading RBI total to 37. Senior Kimmy Carter kept pace with Stuart as she singled in her 36th RBI of the season bringing the Tribe within one run at 3-2 with no outs and the bases still juiced. The Tar Heels recorded two outs at third base on the next play on a hot shot to Sarah Young as the senior tagged van der Linden and tagged the base to get the force. Ramsey went on to retire the side after allowing just two runs.
The Tar Heels answered back immediately in the top of the fourth. Kelly Ramsey led off with her second double of the game and came around to score on Emily Price’s infield single. North Carolina continued to add to its lead in the fifth as UNC increased its lead to 5-2 before loading the bases with one out. Malerich retired the next two batters with her second and third strikeouts of the game to end the UNC threat.
Florida State fought back once again in the fifth as Shandra Colzie and van der Linden started things off with back-to-back walks. Stuart then knocked in her second RBI of the game as she doubled to short right field scoring Shandra Colzie and moving van der Linden to third. Just as she did in the third, Carter followed Stuart’s RBI with one of her own as she singled to left plating van der Linden. With runners on first and third and FSU now down just 5-4, senior Marier laid down a perfect bunt on a suicide squeeze and Stuart beat the throw home to even the game. After Beth Wade sacrificed the runners to second and third, freshman Tatiana George pinch hit for Robyn Larson. It was George’s first appearance since receiving six stitches versus UAB more than a week ago. The hot hitting freshman singled up the middle to give FSU a 6-5 lead and extend her hit streak to eight games, the second longest stretch on the team this season. After an out, a UNC pitching change and a hit by pitch, FSU once again had the bases loaded with two outs. New pitcher Brandi Griffin (2-1) retired Shandra Colzie to end the four-run rally.
The Tribe’s lead was short-lived as UNC put together back-to-back doubles with two outs to tie the game at 6-6 in the top of the sixth. The doubles were the fourth and fifth of the game for UNC. The Seminoles headed to the bottom of the sixth in a tied game with their three, four and five hitters coming to the plate. After Griffin retired the first two batters, Carter reached via bunt but the freshman hurler got an inning-ending strikeout to send the game into the final frame tied at 6-6.
After UNC stranded a runner in the top of the seventh, its ninth of the game, Wade led off the bottom of the inning with a single to center field. That brought up Larson who was making just her third start of the season. The junior took the count to 3-2 before doubling down the right field line moving the winning run to third with no outs. Brock grounded out to short and Larson was caught between second and third. As UNC began to run her down, Wade was thrown out at home attempting to score leaving FSU with two outs and the winning run standing on third. Griffin retired the side on a deep fly ball to right leaving the winning run on third.
As the game moved into extra innings, the Heels once again led off with a single but Malerich induced back to back ground outs at second before issuing an intentional walk to catcher Natalie Anter. Malerich then hit Jessica Young to load the bases with two outs. The senior All-American came back to strikeout Ramsey for her seventh of the game ending the UNC threat.
In the bottom of the eighth, Shandra Colzie improved to 3-for-4 on the day as she led off with a chopper to short. Van der Linden laid down a sacrifice bunt to third that was thrown over the first baseman’s head allowing the runners to move to second and third. Stuart was then intentionally walked to load bases bringing up Carter who was 3-for-4 with two RBIs entering the at bat. Carter sent a short fly to left that wasn’t deep enough to plate Shandra Colzie from third. That brought up Marier who was 0-for-3 on the day with an RBI. She fouled off three straight pitches before sending a shot up the middle to drive in the winning run as FSU went on to the 7-6 victory.
Florida State completes its doubleheader with the Tar Heels at 3:00 p.m. today. After taking the week off for finals, the Seminoles return to action against regional rival Jacksonville State who heads to Tallahassee Saturday April, 28th. The doubleheader between Florida State and the Gamecocks is set for a 1:00 p.m. start at the Seminole Softball Complex and there is no admission charge for all regular season games. For more information on Seminole softball, please visit our official athletic website at www.seminoles.com.