Feb. 24, 2001
Boca Raton, FL –
The No. 16 Florida State softball team (15-3) improved to 2-2 in the FAU/Worth Invitational with a 5-3 win over ACC rival Maryland (4-4) in a non-conference game Saturday afternoon. The Noles were led by freshman pitcher Jessica van der Linden (5-0) and Louisville Slugger/NFCA Player of the Week Bandi Stuart as they jumped out to a 5-0 lead before Jen White-Stokes came in and picked up her first save of the season.
“I was obviously much happier with the way we played today,” said head coach JoAnne Graf, “We were able to get the bats going and when you hit the ball hard and put it into play, good things usually happen.”
Florida State came into Saturday’s second game after an 11-0 win over cross-town rival FAMU and the Noles bats were still hot as they entered the top of the first against the Terrapins. After Serita Brooks walked and was advanced to second on a Kimmy Carter sacrifice, Stuart, the reigning NCAA Division I Player of the Week, hit her team leading third home run of the season over the left field wall. The two RBI’s pushed Stuart’s team-leading total to 14 on the year.
FSU added to its lead in the third inning when Brooks advanced to first after being hit by a Jenn Shellhammer pitch to lead off the inning. Carter followed with a bunt hit and a Stuart single loaded the bases. Van der Linden was then hit by a pitch as she recorded her 12th RBI of the season and gave FSU the 3-0 lead. The Noles recorded their second run in the third when Robyn Gauger plated her fifth RBI of the Worth Invitational when Shellhammer once again hit an FSU batter, Natalie Bennett capped the scoring for FSU in the top of the fifth with an RBI single to right center that scored pinch runner Skyla Cox and extended the Seminoles’ lead to 5-0.
Van der Linden extended her streak of scoreless innings pitched to 28 to start the season but got into some trouble in the bottom of the fifth when she gave up three runs on a single, two doubles, two walks and a hit batter. White-Stokes came in and shut the Terrapins down the rest of the way as she gave up no hits in 2.1 innings of work to pick up the Seminoles first save of the season.
“I thought we did a much better job all-around today,” said Graf. “We at least put ourselves in position to avoid having to play three games Sunday to win the championship.”
Florida State heads into the final day of competition at the FAU/Worth Invitational as the No.3 seed and will face No. 2 Illinois in a 12:00 p.m. game. The Illini beat the Seminoles 1-0 during the first day of tournament action. Maryland and FAMU will meet at 8:00 a.m for a 4 vs 5 play-in game with the winner meeting No. 1 seed FAU at 10:00 a.m. Sunday morning. If the Seminoles are able to get past Illinois, they will meet the winner of the Florida Atlantic/Maryland or FAMU game for the tournament title at 2:00 p.m.