March 6, 2004
Tallahassee, FL –
Facing its fourth College World Series team in the last nine days, No. 4 FSU softball (19-3) was unable to stay perfect against 2003 WCWS teams as they fell 1-0 in ten innings to 12th-ranked Louisiana-Lafayette (23-2). All-American candidate Brooke Mitchell (17-1) and FSU All-American Jessica van der Linden (10-2) staged a classic pitcher’s duel as the two combined to strike out 32 batters, issue three walks and allow just eight hits in 10 innings.
The loss was FSU’s sixth consecutive defeat at the hands of Louisiana-Lafayette. The Tribe last two losses have now come against ranked teams from the state of Louisiana in LSU and ULL. The win puts the Ragin’ Cajuns firmly in control to capture the 2004 Seminole Challenge title as they improved to 3-0. The loss dropped FSU to 2-1.
After five perfect innings on the hill Friday, UL reached safely versus van der Linden in their first at bat of the day. The Cajuns looked like they would start a rally when number two hitter Holly Tankersly blooped a ball into shallow center but a spectacular diving grab by Carly Brieske kept the All-American candidate off base. After a pop up to short, UL recorded its second hit of the frame on a single through the left side of the infield. Van der Linden ended the top half of the third with her first K of the game.
World Series star Mitchell lived up to advanced billing in the first as she struck out the side in the first, which included all three of FSU’s top hitters. The next time the Seminoles came up they were able to mount their first threat of the game. Mitchell walked Lesley Palmer and then hit Elisa Vasquez to put runners on first and second with nobody out. Mitchell got out of the inning just like she did in the dirst with three straight strikeouts.
In the top of the third, van der Linden answered Mitchell as she struck out the side pushing her K total to four for the game. Mitchell set FSU down 1-2-3 again in the third with two more K’s.
The Seminoles recorded their first base knock of the day in the fourth. With two outs, Vasquez sent a shot through the left side of the infield. It looked as if FSU would put back-to-back hits together when Beth Wade sent a hit shot by second base but UL shortstop Tiffany Hebert made a great diving stab and toss to second to retire the side.
Van der Linden continued to fire as she set down four straight batter via the K in the fifth and sixth inning. After UL’s Mitchell started with six straight K’s, van der Linden actually moved ahead in the sixth inning with her tenth of the game. Mitchell didn’t get another K in the sixth but she did set FSU down in order moving the game into the seventh with the teams deadlocked 0-0.
After six straight strikeouts, van der Linden allowed just her third hit of the game, a two-out single into centerfield. The base runner was promptly erased though when BillieAnne Gay and Kim Hoffer combined to throw out Ashley Evans as she tried to swipe second. For Gay, it was the fifth runner she has thrown out in nine attempts.
The game moved into extra innings and the international tiebreaker went into effect. UL had its chance in the top of the eighth to strike first. The Cajuns moved the runner to third on a deep foul fly out but van der Linden then got her second and third outs on her 13th and 14th K’s of the game. Florida State was unable to move their runner in the home half of the eighth versus Mitchell as the game moved into the ninth.
The Ragin’Cajuns led off the top of the ninth with a slap hit to right field putting runners on first and third with no outs. After van der Linden got Tankersly looking at strike three, UL swiped second before van der Linden retired Danyele Gomez on a foul out to short stop Kim Hoffer. The Seminole hurler then issued just her second walk of the game to load the bases for Lacey Bertucci. Van der Linden got the freshman swinging for her 16th K of the game, which tied a season high for the southpaw.
Once again the Seminoles failed to even move their runner from second as Mitchell set FSU down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the ninth. Lafayette then struck first in the top of the 10th. Crystal George’s one-out single to shallow center scored the runner from second and put ULL in front 1-0. After her 17th K, a new season high, the Cerritos, CA native ended the top of the tenth on a pop up to short.
FSU’s hopes of tying the game took a serious turn for the worse in the bottom of the tenth when van der Linden was placed at second and then picked off after the first pitch of the inning on a controversial call. Lesley Palmer followed with just the Tribe’s second hit of the game, a single into left field. Beth Wade sent a chopper through the left side to put runners on first and second with two down.
Florida State continues play at the 2004 Seminole Challenge versus St. John’s (7-7) at approximately 5:30 p.m. Saturday. The Tribe will wrap-up play at the Seminole Challenge Sunday versus UConn at 2:00 pm. Live stats will be available for all of FSU’s contests at the official athletic website for FSU at www.seminoles.com.