April 3, 2004
Tallahassee, FL –
In a battle between the top two teams in the ACC, the fourth-ranked Seminoles (39-4, 1-0) drew first blood Saturday afternoon in both team’s conference opener. Casey Hunter (22-1) threw her seventh shutout of the year as she held Tech (31-9, 0-1) scoreless for just the second time this season. Carly Brieske and Elisa Vasquez each recorded RBIs and Jessica van der Linden scored two runs in FSU’s 4-0 win.
The win was the 21st straight conference victory for the Seminoles and they have now won their ACC opener for the fifth straight year. Florida State handed Tech ace Jessica Sallinger her sixth loss of the year as the junior dropped to 19-6 on the season. The only other team that shutout Tech so far this season in No. 1 Arizona.
“This was a great win for us,” said head coach JoAnne Graf. “Jessica (Sallinger) did a great job and we were lucky to be up 2-0 without getting a hit. Give our kids credit for continuing to find a way to win.”
Hunter started the game by getting the first two Yellow Jacket batters she faced. Tara Knudsen beat out an infield single and stole second before Hunter retired the side on her second strikeout of the inning.
Sallinger got the first two batters she faced as well before walking van der Linden on a 3-2 pitch. The senior All-American moved to second on a passed ball. van der Linden then swiped third and came home to score when the Yellow Jackets attempt to throw her out was mishandled and rolled to the Tribe dugout.
In the top of the second the Yellow Jackets looked to get on the board. After Hunter got the first hitter she gave up a bloop single and a walk to put Tech in business with just one away. Hunter got out number two when Sara Wissman watched an inside pitch called strike three and then ended the threat on a foul out to left field.
The Seminoles increased their lead to 2-0 in the bottom of the third once again due to mistakes and an error by the Jackets. It all started with a one-out walk to LaShaun Davis. Veronica Wootson then laid down a sacrifice bunt, which she thought rolled foul. The defense stopped when Wootson pulled up but the ball was live and Davis kept hustling to third with nobody covering the bag. Georgia Tech tried to get the speedy Davis but the throw sailed over the third baseman who was trying to beat the freshman to the bag and she came home to score.
Sallinger started the fourth by walking van der Linden for the second time on the day. Lesley Palmer then moved her up a base on a sac bunt. The Tech hurler then came back to strikeout Wade for the second time in the game. Sallinger then put Elisa Vasquez in a 0-2 hole before the senior worked the count full. After the third ball call brought Tech coach Ehren Earleywhine out of the dugout, Vasquez proceeded to line the next pitch she saw into the gap in right field plating van der Linden with the third run and breaking up the no-hit bid. Carly Brieske plated the fourth run of the game on a chopper over the head of third baseman Kirin Kumar scoring Vasquez from second.
With just five outs remaining in the game for Georgia Tech, the Yellow Jackets looked to rally. Knudsen flared a single that dropped into shallow center and then Hunter issued her third free pass of the game. One pitch later the inning and threat were done as FSU turned their second double play of the game.
Florida State completes its twin bill with No. 23 Georgia Tech at 3:00 p.m. today. The next game for FSU will be Monday April 5 at Florida A&M. The Seminoles then return home to host No. 13 Florida at 4:00 and 6:00 p.m. Wednesday April 7. 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.