April 13, 2004
Oklahoma City, OK –
When you have been playing fastpitch softball for 21 years and had the kind of success that Florida State has enjoyed, it is difficult to break any new ground or set new records but the 2004 team found a way to set a new mark today. For the first time in program history, the Seminoles are ranked second in the nation in a fastpitch softball poll. Florida State jumped UCLA and moved into the No. 2 slot in the latest ESPN.COM/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 poll. The ranking is a new all-time high for FSU in fastpitch softball.
“It is nice to see so many people around the softball world feel our team is worthy of such a lofty ranking,” said head coach Dr. JoAnne Graf. “The main thing to remember is that this is just the opinion of a group of coaches. While that is important, they do not speak for the NCAA and we need to continue to play well to impress the regional ranking committee and hopefully garner one of the top seeds once regional play begins.”
Florida State has won 12 straight games and 25 of its last 26 contests. Last week FSU went 4-0 as they snapped UCF’s 15-game winning streak and defeated a top 25 team for the 10th time this season when they shutout No. 12 Florida 2-0. The wins impressed pollsters enough to move FSU up in the rankings for the third straight week.
The Tribe also received some good news Tuesday when the NCAA released the first statistical rankings of the year. Florida State is ranked in the top 30 for every team statistical category and either No. 1 or No. 2 in two of the five categories. FSU leads the nation in ERA (0.48) and is second in the nation in winning percentage (.917). The Tribe is the only team in the country in the top two in those two categories. FSU’s staff is the only one in the nation with an ERA below 0.50 and one of just four teams with a staff ERA below 1.00. The Seminoles join unanimous No. 1 Arizona as one of just two teams in the country with a winning percentage above .900. FSU is 10th in the NCAA is scoring (5.88), 16th in the nation in batting average (.305) and 29th in fielding percentage (.967). Florida State is one of only three teams in the country in the top 10 for ERA, winning percentage and scoring (Arizona & UL Lafayette).
The Seminoles aren’t only dominating as a team. Seminole players are nationally ranked in five different NCAA categories. Jessica van der Linden is currently second in the nation in ERA and is just 0.01 away from first place. She is also fifth in the nation in strikeouts and 14th in the country in wins. van der Linden and UL-Lafayette’s Brooke Mitchell are the only two players in America in the top 15 for wins, strikeouts and ERA. For the second year in a row no player in the NCAA has a lower ERA and higher batting average than van der Linden. Casey Hunter is holding up her end of the bargain as well as she is ranked fifth in the NCAA in wins and 12th in the country in ERA. Florida State is the only school in America to have two pitchers in the top 15 for wins and ERA. Veronica Wootson is continuing to state her case for ACC Rookie of the Year honors as she appears among the national leaders in two categories. The freshman is 14th in the nation in runs per game (1.02) and 21st in the nation in triples per game (0.13). With Wootson, van der Linden and Hunter each appearing in two or more categories, FSU joins Arizona and USF as the only three schools in Division I with three players appearing among the national rankings in two or more categories.
Florida State returns to action versus FAMU Wednesday, April 14 at 6:00 p.m. The single game will be broadcast live over the Internet. There is no charge for the radio broadcast and the link to listen to the game is available at www.seminoles.com.