May 23, 2004
Tallahassee, FL –
The fourth-ranked FSU softball team doesn’t do much the easy way and if they want to get to the school’s seventh Women’s College World Series they have to take the hard route. The Tribe (60-10) dropped just their second game at home all season as they fell to No. 12 Oregon (42-20) 1-0 in the first game of championship Sunday at the NCAA Region 4 Tournament. The teams will meet one more time at 3:35 to determine the regional champion and Women’s College World Series participant.
Ace Jessica van der Linden (27-7) looked like she picked up right where she left off versus Oregon Saturday when she pitched nine innings in relief and allowed only two hits. The back-to-back ACC Player of the Year struck out four of the first six batters she faced moving the game into the third tied 0-0.
Beth Wade then opened the third with her 12th double of the season, which tied her for the team lead. The senior was replaced on the bases by sophomore Carey Galuppi who was sacrificed to third by Kim Hoffer who recorded her 12th sac of the season. Ani Nyhus (25-12), who picked up the win, worked out of trouble though as she got LaShaun Davis swinging at strike three and then popped up Veronica Wootson to end the threat.
Oregon put its first runner of the game on base in the bottom of the fourth as van der Linden issued her first walk of the game. After recording her sixth K, Ashley Richards broke up the no-hit bid with a hard hit single into left center putting runners on first and second. van der Linden came back and got Jenn Poore on a foul out to the catcher for out number two. Dani Baird then singled down the right field line. Boskovich charged home on the play and Davis’ throw from right beat the runner to the plate. The home plate umpire called the Oregon runner safe indicating the tag at home was not applied. A walk loaded the bases as the Ducks looked to break the game wide-open with two away but van der Linden got the third out to keep the game within a run at 1-0.
In the top of the sixth, Natasha Jacob reached on a two-out bunt single. It was the first base runner for FSU against Nyhus since Lesley Palmer reached on an error in the fourth. The Seminoles were unable to cash in though as Oregon moved within three outs of forcing a second and deciding championship game.
Lesley Palmer tried to spark a Seminole rally when she led off the top of the seventh with a single up the middle. Carly Brieske pinch ran for the junior with the torn ACL and was moved to second on a perfect sac bunt by Vasquez. Tatiana George then singled over third on a hard chopper and advanced to second on the throw. With runners on second and third with just one away, FSU sent Wade to the plate in search of the tying run. The Ducks opted to load the bases and issue Wade a free pass. Pinch hitter Katie Fricke then stepped in looking to tie the game up or give FSU its first lead of the day but Nyhus was too tough and she ended the game on back-to-back ground outs.
For more information on the 2004 FSU softball team or the 2004 NCAA Tallahassee Regional, including tickets, please log on to the official athletic website of Florida State University at www.seminoles.com.