April 10, 2004
Orlando, FL –
It wasn’t easy but the third-ranked FSU softball team left Orlando with a sweep of UCF (35-13) thanks to a 3-2 victory in the second game of Saturday’s twin bill. Veronica Wootson was once again the offensive hero for FSU as she homered for the second straight game and drove in both game-winning runs on the day. The victory was the 12th straight for the Seminoles (44-4) and their fifth consecutive win versus the Golden Knights.
Casey Hunter, who was fighting off the effects of the 90 degree heat that caused her to leave game one, recorded her 17th straight win and improved to 25-1 on the season. She pitched four innings and allowed just one run while fanning six batters. Jessica van der Linden, who picked up the win in relief in game one, came in again and picked up the save by closing out the final three innings.
Offensively Wootson and Elisa Vasquez were the stars for FSU in the second game. Vasquez went 3-for-4 with an RBI while Wootson’s homer to left field ended up being the difference in the game.
It took Florida State five innings in the first game to get on the board versus UCF and nine innings to get their second run, that wasn’t the case in game two. The Tribe got on the board immediately in the first inning. An error to start the game put a runner on first and three batters later Vasquez drove the run home on a single up the middle.
UCF didn’t wait long to even the game versus Hunter. The junior, who left the first game due to heat exhaustion, got in trouble right away in the home half of the first. A walk and a ground out put a runner in scoring position for Stephanie Best who blasted a shot to the warning track and evening the game in the process. Hunter then walked another batter before getting out of the first on a fly out to right field.
While some things changed in game two, some things stayed the same for FSU as the hero from game one, Wootson, homered for the second time on the day. Her first HR in game one came with two outs in the inning and nobody on base. Her homer in game two came with two outs again but this time with Kim Hoffer on base. The two-run shot was her fifth homer of the season and gave FSU 32 as a team, which is just one away from tying the single season record. The home run was also just the second hit by any Seminole in the second inning this year.
The Golden Knights got a little bit of a threat going in the bottom of the fourth. With a runner at first and one out the Tribe looked like they were out of the inning on a tailor-made double play ball. The toss to second was mishandled and both runners were safe. Hunter then went 3-1 on pitcher Taylor Sawyer (9-3) before a couple foul balls set up the junior hurlers fifth K of the day. She then ended the inning with Rachelle Schmidt watching strike three for her sixth K of the day.
In the bottom of the fifth, game one star Jessica van der Linden returned to the hill to relieve Hunter. The junior pitched four strong innings before giving way to the senior All-America. van der Linden looked just as sharp in game two as she did in game one when she went eight innings, setting down UCF 1-2-3 in the fifth inning.
Florida State looked for some insurance in the top of the sixth as they tried to piece together a two-out rally. Singles by Carly Brieske and Kim Hoffer put a runner in scoring position with two away but Sawyer once again held FSU off the board for the fourth straight inning.
UCF fought its way back into the game in the bottom of the sixth inning. FSU pitched around Best and Jania Shinhoster made the Seminoles pay. The junior laced a triple into right field scoring Best, cutting the FSU lead to 3-2 and putting the tying run just 60 feet away. A one-out walk put runners on the corners as Sawyer came up with a chance to help her cause. A stolen base moved a second runner into scoring position before van der Linden froze Sawyer with a sweeping curve ball for strike three. The Tribe got out of the inning with no further damage as a pop up to second brought the sixth to a close.
In the top of the seventh FSU tried to extend their lead with a two-out rally. Sawyer plunked van der Linden and then gave up three straight hits but got out of the inning with the score still 3-2 when van der Linden was thrown out on the third single trying to score from second base.
van der Linden opened the seventh with her fourth and fifth K’s in her third inning of work and then closed the day with a ground out to second to sweep the doubleheader.
The Tribe will complete their season series with Florida A&M at home Wednesday night at 6:00 p.m. For more information on the 2004 FSU softball team please log on to the official athletic website of Florida State University at www.seminoles.com.