June 28, 2001
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –
Although the Seminoles fell one strike short of the 2001 Women’s College World Series, the Florida State softball team showed they could play with the nation’s best teams competitively and statistically. When the NCAA released its final statistics for the 2001 season, FSU was among the nation’s best hitting teams, had one of the NCAA’s best winning percentages and, for the first time ever, captured the ERA title.
“It is hard to put into words how well our pitchers performed this past season,” said head coach Dr. JoAnne Graf. “Heather did a great job with the staff this season and the girls performed everyday. To win the ERA title there is very little room for a bad outing and our staff rarely had one.”
Although their 0.71 ERA wasn’t the lowest in the history of the program, it was good enough to lead the nation in 2001 and deliver Florida State the ERA title. The 2001 Seminole staff was the only staff in the country to place two pitchers amongst the nation’s top 10. FSU would have had all three of its pitchers in the top 16 but freshman Jessica van der Linden fell just a few innings shy of having her 0.84 ERA meet the minimum innings required to qualify for the final stats. Senior Jen White-Stokes’ 0.63 ERA placed her sixth in the final stats and junior All-American Leslie Malerich finished 10th after posting a career best 0.72 ERA.
“I am so proud of our girls and they worked so hard this season,” said assistant coach Heather Compton. “To have all three of our pitchers finish the year with ERA’s below 0.84 is amazing especially since we faced three of the nation’s top hitting teams and two of the countries top run scoring squads in 2001. I couldn’t be happier that these three players will forever be in the record books as the top pitching staff in 2001.”
Florida State was one of just four teams to finish the season ranked in the top-10 in pitching, batting and winning percentage. The Seminoles finished No. 1 in ERA, seventh with a .829 (58-12) winning percentage and 10th in team batting with a .297 average. Only national champion Arizona, runner-up UCLA and Notre Dame joined the Seminoles in the top 10 in all three major categories.
The 2001 campaign was also a record-breaking year for FSU for extra base hits. The Seminoles recorded 93 doubles, outdistancing their previous record by 22, and placed sixth in doubles and 22nd in doubles per game nationally. FSU’s 0.33 triples per game was the 16th-best total in the nation. None of the three teams that joined FSU in the top 10 in hitting, pitching and winning percentage ranked higher than FSU in doubles or triples last season.
The Seminoles also finished 24th in slugging percentage (.409), 26th in scoring (4.59 runs/gm) and 34th in steals (1.46 steals/gm). Senior All-American Serita Brooks, who finished eighth in the nation with 0.81 steals/gm, also set three NCAA records in 2001. Her 54 consecutive successful stolen bases was the third best total in NCAA history and her five stolen bases against Bethune-Cookman College in the NCAA Regional set a record for the third most steals in a single game and the most stolen bases in a postseason game in NCAA history. For the year, Brooks stole 55 bases in 56 attempts for an amazing 98% success rate.