Feb. 24, 2002
Las Cruces, NM –
Sophomore Jessica van der Linden followed Saturday’s perfect game with another sparkling performance on the mound in the Troy Cox Classic championship game Sunday but unlike Saturday’s outing, her defense let her down. The defense behind van der Linden, and later Leslie Malerich, committed six errors, which led to six unearned runs as Texas Tech (8-13) downed FSU 8-7 in nine innings to capture the tournament title.
Florida State (13-6) looked like it was cruising towards the tournament title as its bats seemed to be on fire after the 12-0 win over Dayton and a hot start against Texas Tech. The Seminoles broke out to a 5-1 lead as Kimmy Carter and Brandi Stuart combined to knock in four of the first five runs FSU scored.
The Red Raiders struck back in the bottom of the sixth. After van der Linden retired the first two batters she faced, a walk, an error and a single loaded the bases. Then on a 1-0 pitch, Tech senior Eva Harshman sent a grounder to short that ended up in the outfield and cleared the bases on the second error of the inning bringing Tech within one run at 5-4.
Florida State struck back in the top of the seventh as Carter knocked in her third run of the game, her seventh of the tournament and her team-leading 16th of the year to put FSU up 6-4. Van der Linden began the bottom half of the frame by giving up a lead-off single before giving way to Malerich. The Red Raiders utilized another error and a passed ball to even the game at 6-6 as the two teams headed for extra innings for the second time in two meetings.
With the international tie-breaker in effect, FSU moved back in to the lead when a Julie Jordan sacrifice fly put the Seminoles up 7-6. The Red Raiders took advantage of the runner placed at second in the bottom of the eighth to once again even the game at 7-7.
After Florida State was unable to plate the runner at second in the top of the ninth, the stage was set for Texas Tech to complete its comeback and win the tournament title. A ground out moved Andrea Joachims to third and, with the outfield drawn in for a possible play at the plate, Briteny Stolle then laced a shot to center plating the winning run for the Raiders.
Despite the result, van der Linden continued her amazing season on the mound as she lowered her team-leading ERA to 0.51. She came in to Sunday’s game without allowing a hit in eight and two-thirds innings dating back to Friday when she allowed a one-out single in the sixth inning versus New Mexico State. The sophomore carried a no-hitter through five and a third innings in the championship game stretching her hitless streak to 13 innings before Kristi Robles broke up the no-no with a single that extended the Red Raider’s hit-streak to nine games.
Van der Linden also pushed her scoreless innings streak to 16 before Texas Tech scored an unearned run against her in the bottom of the second. She is still in the midst of a 21 and one-third inning stretch where she hasn’t allowed an earned run. For the weekend the Cerritos, CA native went 2-0 with a 0-0 ERA, she struck out 25 batters, gave up only five walks and threw one perfect game.
The Seminoles return to action Wednesday, February 27, 2002 as they travel across town to face Florida A&M at the Rattlerette Softball Stadium. For all the information, stats, live box scores and information on head coach Dr, JoAnne Graf’s 1,125th win please visit the official athletic website of Florida State University at www.seminoles.com.