April 30, 2004
Oklahoma City, OK –
For the second year in a row, Seminole softball All-American Jessica van der Linden has been named a Top 10 finalist for USA Softball’s Collegiate Player of the Year award. The senior from Cerritos, CA made it into the top 10 last season and she is now one of just three players to make it into the top 10 in each of the last two seasons.
“It feels great to be on this impressive list. It is truly an honor,” said van der Linden. “I feel privileged to be on a list with these players. We are all focused on team goals at this point of the year but that doesn’t take away from how special this is.”
The pitcher/outfielder is having another spectacular season where she is in the top five in the nation for ERA (4th) and strikeouts (5th). She is 16th in wins and she is half of the number one staff in America. For the second consecutive season no player in America has a lower ERA and a higher batting average than van der Linden. She has set new career highs at the plate for RBIs (43), home runs (2) and runs (38) and in the circle van der Linden has set new career highs for wins (22), complete games (22), shutouts (14) and strikeouts (278). She already has the career record at FSU for doubles (49) and is close to taking over career records for walks, RBIs and strikeouts. van der Linden also just pitched the ninth no-hitter of her career this past weekend versus North Carolina.
Of FSU’s 50 wins, van der Linden has won 29 of the 50 games with either a game-winning RBI or from inside the circle. She is 22-4 on the mound and has a team-leading 17 game-winning RBI’s. Ten of her 17 game-winning RBIs have come in games she was the winning pitcher. van der Linden has accounted for 58% of the teams wins and her 17 game winning hits are more than four times as many as anyone else on the team and is just 10 behind the total for the rest of the team combined.
The senior leads FSU in nine statistical categories and she is just 10 strikeouts away from notching the 800th K of her career. van der Linden is also 30 strikeouts away from setting a single season record. She became just the second Seminole ever to record four consecutive 30+ RBI seasons this year and she is one of just two FSU pitchers ever to record 700 or more career K’s and have a 200 strikeout season.
Three finalists will be announced May 11. The winner of the 2004 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Award will be announced May 26 at the opening ceremonies of the NCAA College World Series in Oklahoma City, OK. The winner will be recognized and presented with the Player of the Year trophy during the ASA National Council Meeting in Mobile, Alabama, in November.