April 28, 2002
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –
The 21st-ranked Florida State softball team won its fourth straight game as they downed South Region opponent Jacksonville State 3-0. The Seminoles (42-14-0) are now 16-2 in the region and are currently sitting in second in the all important rankings. The Gamecocks (33-18) came into today’s twin bill ranked No. 7 in the region and have now lost all three meetings between the teams.
Jacksonville State started the game off with three hits in their first four at bats and loaded the bases with just one out versus Seminole ace Leslie Malerich (25-10). Malerich struck out Rachel Countryman looking before Andrea Tomey struck out looking also to end the threat. Malerich got all three Gamecock batters looking at a third strike in the top of the first.
Florida State attempted to take an early lead as Tatiana George led off by reaching on an error and was followed by Jessica van der Linden’s single up the middle. After a fielder’s choice and a steal, FSU had runners on second and third with two outs but couldn’t get a run across versus Gamecock starter Tera Ross (14-10) as the game moved to the second tied at 0-0.
Malerich picked up right where she left off by striking out the first batter in the second looking giving her four K’s looking for the game. Malerich kept JSU off of the scoreboard in the second and the Seminoles threatened once again in the bottom of the inning. Monique Marier led off the inning with her ninth double of the year but was tagged out as she tried to advance to third on Beth Wade’s infield hit. After a Becky Brock single and a Shandra Colzie sacrifice, FSU had runners on second and third with two outs but were once again unable to capitalize. Ross got the final out of the inning and kept the score 0-0.
The Tribe got to Ross in the bottom of the third as they moved out to a 2-0 lead. Shundra Colzie drew a walk to start the inning and van der Linden recorded her second hit of the game to put runners on first and second. After Colzie stole third and van der Linden advanced to second, Brandi Stuart chopped a single over the third baseman’s head and down the left field line scoring Colzie. Van der Linden attempted to score from second but was gunned out at home off of a perfect throw from left fielder Jessica Ford. Stuart then stole her 47th base of the season to move over to third and came in to score on Kimmy Carter’s single up the middle. The RBI was Carter’s team-leading 41st of the season.
Malerich cruised through the fifth with seven strikeouts, five of which were looking, and allowed just one hit after the first. She faced just two batters over the minimum between the second and fifth innings.
The Seminoles added to their lead in the bottom of the fifth as Brandi Stuart led off the frame with her second hit of the game. The All-American candidate attempted to steal her third base of the game and 48th of the year but was thrown out at second. It was just the third time she was caught stealing in 50 attempts this year. The caught stealing was critical as the next batter, senior Monique Marier launched a deep shot over the center field wall to put the Garnet and Gold up 3-0. The 225-foot blast was the sixth of the season for the outfielder and matched her total from the 2001 season. It was also the third straight home run for Marier in the last three series.
Malerich completed her 43rd career shutout with nine strikeouts and she is now just one win away from equaling her entire win total from the 2001 season. The senior All-American now has the fourth most shutouts in the history of the program.
Florida State and Jacksonville State complete the twin bill today at 3:15 p.m. at the Seminole Softball Complex. The Seminoles wrap-up ACC play next week as they head to Virginia (44-18, 1-3) and Maryland (30-18, 2-3) for conference doubleheaders. Florida State can wrap-up the ACC regular season title with two wins in those four games but still have a chance to become the first ACC to ever complete the regular season at 8-0. The Tribe will close out the regular season with two home series versus Troy State Saturday, May 4 at 1:00 p.m. and No. 10 Florida Atlantic Tuesday, May 7 at 5:30 p.m. For more information on Seminole softball, please visit our official athletic website at www.seminoles.com.