February 18, 2001 - by
Stuart’s Seventh Inning Home Run Gives Noles Sunshine Title

Feb. 18, 2001

Box Score

Tallahassee, FL –
The 17th-ranked Seminole softball team (11-1) captured their second straight tournament title and seventh straight win as sophomore Brandi Stuart sent a game-winning home run over the leftfield wall in the bottom of the seventh inning and the Noles edged Boston College 5-4. The Eagles (2-3) tied the game in the top of the seventh when BC shortstop Cara Blumfield hit a three-run homer off of eventual winning pitcher Leslie Malerich (5-0). The Seminoles have now equaled their best start since 1998 and will go for their eighth consecutive victory against Mercer University Tuesday at the Seminole Softball Complex.

“That was a fantastic game for the fans today,” said head coach Dr. JoAnne Graf. “Boston College is an excellent team and they staged two comebacks today but I am so proud that our team never quit and Brandi got a big hit for us in the seventh.”

The Seminoles opened the scoring in the second inning when Robyn Gauger and Julie Jordan both scored on a Boston College error and staked FSU to a 2-0 lead. Florida State extended its lead in the third inning when Staci Brandon led off with a single and advanced to second on a BC error. Kimmy Carter’s single moved Jordan to third and she advanced to second on Monique Marier’s sacrifice fly. After Brandon was thrown out at home, Stuart singled to left and Carter advanced to third. Jessica van der Linden, who threw a no-hitter for FSU Saturday, then doubled to left center and plated both Carter and Stuart. The RBI’s were the fourth and fifth of the season for the freshman from Cerritos, CA.

Florida State looked like it was cruising towards its second straight tournament title in two weeks with a 4-1 lead in the top of the seventh inning after Eagle TeKae Malandris’ single scored Blumfield in the top of the sixth. With two runners on base in the seventh though, Blumfield changed the game with one swing of the bat as her three-run homer evened the game 4-4.

“Leslie really had a great tournament but Blumfield is a great hitter and she was able to get a big hit for BC in the seventh,” said Graf. “I think it was important that Leslie shrugged it off and retired the next two batters so we were in position to try and win the game in the bottom of the inning.”

After Marier was retired to start the bottom of the seventh, Stuart took a 1-1 pitch from BC’s Kimberly Ryan and sent it deep over the leftfield wall to give the Noles the tournament title. Stuart, a sophomore from Cerritos, CA, now leads FSU in batting average (.486), home runs (2), hits (17), total bases (24), slugging percentage (.686) and she is tied for the team lead in stolen bases (5).

The Seminoles will look for their eighth and ninth straight wins when they take on the Mercer Bears Tuesday, February 20 at 3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. at the Seminole Softball Complex. Florida State will attempt to get off to their best start since the 1993 team opened the year at 21-0.

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