May 1, 2004
Tallahassee, FL –
If you ever wonder why Seminole senior Jessica van der Linden is a first team All-America and two-time USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year finalist, you just needed to be in Tallahassee Sunday. For the 11th time this season van der Linden recorded the game-winning hit in a game in which she also earned the victory on the circle. She not only improved to 23-4 on the year but she also drove in her team-leading 18th game-winning RBI as No. 2 Florida State (52-5, 9-1) concluded ACC play with a 4-0 win over NC State (32-25, 3-7).
van der Linden not only pitched and hit Florida State to victory in the sweep of the Wolfpack but she also had a record setting day. Her two-RBI single and walk moved her into a tie for the career record in both categories. She also registered her 798th career strikeout as she fanned eight batters and didn’t allow a walk in the complete game victory.
“Today was a special day. It was very emotional,” said van der Linden. “Before the second game we had senior day and they played quotes from our teammates. To hear your friends and teammates talk about you, it makes you realize the impact we have all had on one another. That took me back.
“I was just glad to make it through the game on the mound and at the plate, I just happened to be the player up at that time. Everyone on this team is hitting and coming through. And then to tie those two records on a day like this just made it more special. I never dreamed of setting records when I came here four years ago.”
NC State starter Shaina Ervin (10-12, 1-4) kept the Seminoles at bay into the third as the Tribe was still looking for its first hit of the day as Katie Fricke stepped to the plate. The junior, making her first start of the year in right field, doubled into the gap in left field recording her third double of the year. Veronica Wootson followed with a walk and Natasha Jacob beat out another sacrifice bunt to load the bases. Pitcher van der Linden (23-4, 3-1) then helped her own cause as she slipped a single through the left slide, which plated two runs and put the Seminoles in front 2-0. The two RBIs gave van der Linden 151 in her career and tied her with former Seminole Brandi Stuart for the career RBI record.
FSU recorded its fourth hit of the game in the fourth on a drive to the gap in right. The hit was special because it was the first for junior Lesley Palmer since tearing her ACL April 3. The junior is playing with a brace on her left knee and was held to a single as the injury slowed her down. Kim Hoffer and Fricke followed with singles to load the bases. Veronica Wootson the ripped a shot to third that looked like it was going to break the game open but a great defensive play by Jennifer Chamberlin allowed the Wolfpack to escape the jam. Chamberlin snared the liner and doubled Fricke off at first base.
Jacob led off the home half of the fifth with another bunt single as the sophomore continues to blossom in her second year in Tallahassee. Ervin then walked van der Linden on four straight pitches to put runners on first and second with nobody out. It was the 133rd walk of van der Linden’s career, which also tied the career record currently held by Stuart. Elisa Vasquez then moved the runners around on a sac bunt. Ervin got the second out on a pop up but she couldn’t escape unscathed as Tatiana George lined a shot into center field and plated two more runs as she extended the FSU lead to 4-0.
The Tribe got into some trouble in the seventh as they looked to close out the game. A hit and an error put NC State runners on the corners with nobody out. Elisa Vasquez recorded the first out of the inning when she threw out Ervin trying to steal. van der Linden then fanned her eighth batter of the game for the second out. She then wrapped up the win on a grounder to third base.
Florida State will next travel to No. 15 Auburn for a doubleheader with the Tigers. The games are scheduled for 5:00 and 7:00 p.m. Monday, May 3. For more information on the 2004 FSU softball team please log on to the official athletic website of Florida State University at www.seminoles.com.