Feb. 14, 2003
Tallahassee, FL –
Day one of the 2003 Sunshine State Tournament is in the books and No. 9 Florida State (7-3) wrapped the day up as the only undefeated team in the tournament with a 3-1 win over Iowa State (3-5). Jessica van der Linden had another huge game for FSU and second baseman Brandi Stuart extended her season-opening hit streak to 10 games as the Tribe broke out to an early lead and never looked back.
Van der Linden went 2 for 4 with an RBI, Lesley Palmer had two hits and BillieAnne Gay knocked in the first run of her Seminole career against the Cyclones Friday night. Sophomore Casey Hunter picked up FSU’s first save of the year and van der Linden improved to 2-1 inside the circle in five innings of work.
After scoring 11 runs in the first inning in its nine previous games, Florida State waited until the second inning in the nightcap before taking a lead for the ninth time in 10 contets. Palmer, who entered the night hitting above .300, started things off when she singled a 3-2 pitch to right field. Freshman Carly Brieske followed her with a walk. Shandra Colzie pinch ran for Palmer and came around to score when freshman and Tallahassee native Gay singled through the left side knocking in the first RBI of her collegiate career staking the Tribe to a 1-0 lead.
As they did seven times in the first game of the day, FSU scored another two-out run in the third inning versus the Cyclones. Elisa Vasquez started things off when she was walked by ISU starter Kristen Karanzias (0-4). Palmer then singled for the second time in the game moving Vasquez to second and she advanced to third on the throw over to first. Brieske then reached on an error allowing Vasquez to score her first run of the tournament.
The Seminoles added another run in the fourth. Shundra Colzie singled to right field to start things off and was sacrificed to second by Natasha Jacob. Tatiana George moved Colzie to third once again bringing up van der Linden in an RBI situation. The junior launched her second double of the day and 32nd of her career bringing in Colzie. The Cerritos, CA native is now just six doubles away from becoming FSU’s career leader after just over two seasons in Tallahassee. After the big RBI, van der Linden stood at 4 for 7, with four RBIs, three runs scored and two doubles on the day.
The Cyclones threatened in the top of the sixth as Iowa State began to get to van der Linden as they led off with a single and then got back-to-back walks to load the bases with no outs. That brought in Hunter to try to end the Iowa State threat. Hunter struck out the first hitter she faced but a wild pitch allowed ISU to close the gap at 3-1. That was all Hunter would give up though as she got the next batter to pop up to shallow center and then rung up her second strikeout victim of the inning to get out of the jam.
“I tried to block out the situation aned I came in and just tried to pitch my game,” said the sophomore hurler. “It is kind of a blank to me. I try to just focus on the batter and not the fact that the bases are loaded. That is how I try to handle it and I was very happy to be able to help this team by getting out of that.”
There was more excitement for the Seminoles in the bottom of the inning as the Tribe not only looked to add to its lead but Stuart looked to get the opportunity to extemd her season-opening hit streak to 10 games. After George reached with a single, the door was opened for Stuart. The senior, who had a hit in every game of the 2003 season, was down to her last strike in her last at bat of the game before a chopper down the third base line caught the ISU defense by surprise and kept the second-longest FSU hitting streak in three season alive. The second baseman is now just one hit shy of tying Kimmy Carter’s 11-game streak from the 2001 season.
Florida State will complete tournament play versus the same two teams tomorrow at 11:00 am and 1:00 pm at the Seminole Softball Complex. All regular season tournament games hosted by FSU are free. For more information on the Sunshine State Tournament and all the information you could ever need on the 2003 Florida State softball team, please log on to seminoles.com, the official athletic home for Florida State on the internet.