March 5, 2003
Troy, AL –
Brandi Stuart enjoys playing Troy State and it shows. After hitting .571 in three meetings with the Lady Trojans in 2002, Stuart decided to take it up a notch this year. The senior went 3 for 3 with two doubles, two runs scored and an RBI as Florida State opened its doubleheader with Troy State with an 8-3 win. After her perfect day at the plate, the 2002 1st Team NFCA All-American is currently in the midst of a 7 for 11 streak with five RBIs, three doubles, a home run and six runs scored over her last five games.
Sophomore Casey Hunter started the game and pitched three strong innings before giving way to freshman Julie Hauck who recorded the first win of her FSU career (1-0). Elisa Vasquez and Lesley Palmer each recorded RBIs as FSU pounded out eight hits and capitalized on four Lady Trojan errors. The Seminoles jumped out to an early 8-0 lead before TSU got to Hauck in the fourth for three runs. The freshman settled down though and went on to earn the first decision of her young career.
The Seminoles got out of the gate quickly as two of the first three hitters reached on infield singles against Lady Trojan starter Cassie Wilkenson (3-4). After a fielder’s choice loaded the bases, Vasquez’s single through the right side plating two runs and raising her RBI total to 12 on the year.
Troy State looked to respond as they led off the bottom of the first with a double down the right field line. The threat was ended quickly on the next play due to a heads up play by first baseman Beth Wade and shortstop Tatiana George. Wade picked up the sacrifice bunt and tagged the runner out. The Trojan base runner, unaware of the tag rounded third and was caught in no man’s land as Wade threw to George covering third for the put out.
After struggling through the first inning, Wilkenson came back strong and struck out three of the next four batters she faced. Hunter went back to work in the bottom of the second. The sophomore hit the first batter she faced and then after a fielder’s choice, she registered her second K of the game before getting out of the inning on a grounder to third.
In the third, the top of the FSU line-up tried to add to the Seminole lead. George drew a walk and was followed by Stuart who drew a walk after battling Wilkenson for 12 pitches. Van der Linden then smashed a single up the middle at Wilkenson. Her throw sailed into right and the right fielders throw went off mark allowing both runners to score. Vasquez then reached on another TSU error, this one on a deep fly ball down the right field line. After a Palmer single, Vasquez came home with the Tribe’s sixth run of the game. Another TSU error allowed Palmer to move to third on Natasha Jacob’s infield single. The sophomore then came home on the double steal to put Florida State up 7-0.
Hunter cranked it up in the third as she got TSU in order for the first time all day in the process recording her third strikeout. George led off the fourth with another walk and moved to second on a wild pitch from pitcher Kacie Flinn who entered the game in the third. Stuart then smashed a deep shot into the gap in left scoring George and putting the Tribe in front 8-0.
In the bottom of the inning, FSU brought in a new battery with junior Julie Jordan catching freshman Julie Hauck. The appearance was just the second of the season for the coveted recruit from Yukon, OK. The Trojans got to the rookie as they registered a couple of hits, a couple of steals and closed the gap to 8-2. Hauck looked to be out of the inning before a Seminole throwing error allowed another TSU run to score.
The Seminoles were unable to add to their cushion in the top of the fifth as the defense returned to the field for the last of the inning. Hauck started strong recording the first strikeout of her FSU career. She then retired the next two hitters she faced registering the first 1-2-3 inning of her career.
After new Trojan pitcher Christi Curran got the first two hitters in the sixth, Stuart went back to work with her third hit and second double of the day. The double moved her into a tie with van der Linden for second all-time with 35. After a van der Linden walk, Curran got Jordan to end the threat.
After completing its doubleheader with Troy State, Florida State returns to action at the 20th Annual Seminole Invitational Tournament beginning this Friday, March 7 at 12:00 p.m. Florida State opens the tournament at the Seminole Softball Complex with Rutgers at 4:00 p.m. and then faces Winthrop at 6:00 p.m. The tournament features three 2002 Women’s College World Series teams and six teams that participated in NCAA Regionals last year. For more information on the 2003 Florida State softball team, please log on to seminoles.com, the official athletic home for Florida State athletics on the internet.