April 29, 2003
LAST TIME OUT
No. 13 FSU 5 Virginia 0 No. 13 FSU 12 Virginia 1
No. 12 FSU vs. Georgia State
Saturday — 1:00 p.m. — Atlanta, GA
GAME TRACKER: (Game One)
No. 12 FSU vs. Georgia State
Saturday 3:00 p.m. Atlanta, GA
GAME TRACKER: (Game Two)
No. 12 FSU vs. Georgia Tech
Sunday — 1:00 p.m. — Atlanta, GA
GAME TRACKER: (Game One)
No. 12 FSU vs. Georgia Tech
Sunday 3:00 p.m. Atlanta, GA
GAME TRACKER: (Game Two)
? The Tribe leads the all-time series with Georgia State 11-1 and has already beat GSU this season.
? After FSU won 23 of the first 24 meetings, the Jackets have gone 5-5 against FSU in the last 10 meetings.
? The Tribe wrapped-up their 7th ACC regular season title in 12 years with a sweep of Virginia.
? Since sliding to .278 after the UCF game April 9, FSU has raised its team batting average 22 percentage points in just the last nine games and is now hitting .300 as a team.
? Florida State now has the longest current win streak in Division I softball with 22 consecutive victories and is two away from the longest streak in 2003.
? With just 10 more victories, Graf will become just the third coach in the history of NCAA softball with 1,000 fastpitch wins, just the second DI coach to reach that mark and the only DI coach to get 1,000 fastpitch wins at one school.
? In their 12-1 win, the Seminoles set records for the most runs scored and the largest margin of victory in team history against the Cavaliers.
? With her double against Virginia, Jessica van der Linden became the first player in FSU history to record 40 doubles in her career and she is still a junior.
? One of the most amazing stats is the fact that none of FSU’s pitchers has allowed a triple this year despite pitching almost 350 innings.
IN A GEORGIA STATE OF MIND
Before wrapping up the regular season and its ACC campaign versus Georgia Tech, the Seminoles will play a twin bill with the Georgia State Panthers Saturday afternoon. The Tribe leads the all-time series 11-1 and has already faced GSU this season. The teams met in the 2003 Buzz Classic in the final game of the rain-shortened tourney. The Tribe was cruising toward the tournament title in front of GSU 3-0 in the top of the seventh. That was before a hit and an error opened the door for senior Katie Blue’s heroics. Her three-run homer of Jessica van der Linden, who had a no-hitter entering the seventh, tied the game and sent it into extra innings. The Tribe won the game an inning later and went on to capture the Buzz Classic championship. Shandra Colzie went 3 for 4 in that game and All-American Brandi Stuart went 2 for four with a double, two RBIs and a run scored. Besides the one big hit, van der linden was dominant striking out 12 Panther hitters and not issuing a single walk. The last time the teams met in Atlanta in 2001, FSU won 10-0 and 9-1. Van der Linden allowed just one earned run in her outing in the circle and Stuart went 2 for 3 with two runs scored and a triple. Elisa Vasquez had a big day in her only start as she went 2 for 4 with two RBIs and a double. The last time FSU lost to GSU was 1990 when the Seminoles lost 1-0 in nine innings in a game played at a neutral site.
JACKED UP FOR THE JACKETS
The Florida State/Georgia Tech rivalry has really heated up recently. After FSU won 23 of the first 24 meetings, the Jackets have gone 5-5 against FSU in the last 10 meetings. Nothing intensified the rivalry like the postseason meetings between the teams last year. After Florida State beat Tech 7-3 and 4-2 in the regular season, the Yellow Jackets knocked FSU in to the loser’s bracket with a loss at both the ACC Tournament and the NCAA Regionals. In fact, FSU had to beat Georgia Tech twice on the final day of regionals or the Jackets would have been celebrating a World Series berth on the Tribe’s own field. The Seminoles didn’t allow that to happen though as they won an extra inning game and then cruised in the championship game 6-1 on their way to the program’s sixth College World Series. In the last 10 games against GAT, FSU has failed to score more than two runs in any of its five losses and has scored at least three runs in all five of its wins…the Tribe is 9-1 all time when playing at Tech and 17-4 overall against Georgia Tech in ACC regular season games…just as she has done against everyone in the ACC, Brandi Stuart has had phenomenal success against the Jackets. The senior has hit .522 and slugged .652 in her career against Tech. She has also scored seven runs, knocked in four RBIs, had a double and a triple…Jessica van der Linden has struggled inside the circle when facing Tech. The All-America candidate is 1-2 all-time versus GAT and has a career ERA of 2.62. Her only win came during a regular season meeting in Tallahassee…the teams have played just two extra inning games all-time and they split those two contests. Tech won 2-1 (8) in 2001 and FSU won 3-2 (9) in last year’s NCAA Regional.
ACC CHAMPS AGAIN
With Florida State’s third straight conference sweep of the season this past weekend, the Tribe wrapped-up their 7th ACC regular season title in 12 years. The Seminoles are 2 ? games ahead of Georgia Tech in the standings with just the doubleheader between the schools left. The Jacket’s rainout versus UNC could be a big one if Tech sweeps FSU because that would be the ? a game that keeps the Yellow Jackets from the No. 1 seed. This is the third consecutive regular season conference title for Florida State. The first five times FSU won the regular season title they went on to win the ACC tournament but the last two seasons FSU went in as a No. 1 and came away without the title. The Seminoles still have something to play for in Atlanta though as they attempt to go undefeated in the conference for just the fourth time in school history. Despite all the success FSU has had in ACC play, the team has never gone 8-0, which they will attempt to do Sunday against the Jackets. Last season the team went 6-0 after a cancellation against Maryland and they also went 6-0 in 1995 and 4-0 in 1993.
WE’RE A HIT
Florida State had its best week at the plate all season against No. 22/25 Florida and Virginia. The Seminoles hit .364, slugged .527 and put over 42% of its hitters on base. That .364 average was the best single week batting average for the team in 2003 and it came against a ranked team on the road and in an ACC twin bill against a solid Virginia team. The Tribe had five doubles, two triples, 27 RBIs and three home runs while scoring 29 times in the four games. That stellar performance pushed FSU’s team batting average to .300 for the first time since March 8 when the team finished a game versus Winthrop at .300. Since sliding to .278 after the UCF game April 9, FSU has raised its team batting average 22 percentage points in just the last nine games. Over that stretch the team has hit .397, slugged .545, knocked in 63 RBIs, recorded 12 doubles, six triples and four homers. Only three teams in FSU history have ever finished the season with a batting average above .300. The 1995 team hit .316, the 1992 team hit .315 and the 1993 squad hit .309. Two of those three teams advanced to the World Series. It won’t be an easy task for this squad to finish above .300 with the best pitching they have seen all year still ahead of them.
SHINNING ON SUNSHINE
With its doubleheader sweep of Virginia, FSU kept its perfect record alive in TV games in 2003. The Seminoles are now 5-0 in games played on the Sunshine Network. Florida State swept Maryland and the Cavaliers at home and then took both games from the Gators in Gainesville with the first one being broadcast by Sunshine. The team has one more chance to appear on Sunshine but they would need to advance to the ACC Tournament Championship game.
STREAKING TO NO. 1
With FSU’s four game sweep of No. 22 Florida and Virginia, the Tribe now has the longest current win streak in Division I softball with 22 consecutive victories. Notre Dame was second with 20 in a row but they lost to UConn this past weekend. The longest win streak so far this season belongs to UCLA who won 24 straight games from February 1 to March 8 and ended with a 1-0 loss to DePaul. With a sweep of Georgia State Saturday, FSU would tie the Bruins. During FSU’s current streak, the third longest in school history, the Tribe has won four extra inning games, run-ruled four opponents, has pitched a shutout in 13 of the 22 games and outscored its opponents 121-16. Combined with North Carolina’s 15 game win streak earlier this year, FSU and UNC have combined for a 37 game win streak second only to the Pac 10 duo of UCLA and Arizona, which combined to win 41.
Longest Win Streaks in 2003
Florida State 22
Notre Dame 20
Bold/italic = current streak
ANOTHER STREAK ON THE LINE
Not only will FSU head to Atlanta eyeing the longest win streak in the nation this year, they will be gunning to extend another long streak that dates back to 2001. With its sweep over Virginia, Florida State has now won 18 straight ACC regular season games. The last time the Tribe lost a conference game was 2001 at the hands of this weekend’s opponent Georgia Tech. Those 18 straight wins are more ACC victories than Tech’s Kate Madden (13) has in her career and are equal to the career ACC victories for Virginia’s Cheryl Sprangel.
ONE MILESTONE LEFT
Head coach JoAnne Graf is celebrating her 25th anniversary at Florida State this year and there is little she hasn’t accomplished in her career. Graf has won over 1,200 games (slowpitch and fastpitch), been to six Women’s College World Series, 15 NCAA Regionals, had 25 straight winning seasons, won eight ACC Titles, eight ACC Coach of the Year awards and ranks in the top five of five different NCAA Coaching records. Now she is nearing yet another major milestone. With just 10 more victories, Graf will become just the third coach in the history of NCAA softball with 1,000 fastpitch wins, just the second DI coach to reach that mark and the only DI coach to get 1,000 fastpitch wins at one school. She is already the only coach in collegiate softball with 1,200 or more wins.
ONE HECK-UVA GAME
On top of the great games handed in by the likes of Casey Hunter, Elisa Vasquez, Jessica van der Linden and Shandra Colzie, you really have to give the Seminoles a lot of credit as a team for the dominating sweep over Virginia. In their 12-1 win, the Seminoles set records for the most runs scored and the largest margin of victory in team history against the Cavaliers. The only other time FSU came close to beating the Cavs as bad was in 1992 when FSU won 11-1 at the ACC Tournament. The 16-run margin in the doubleheader (5-0, 12-1) matched the record set just two years ago in Tallahassee when FSU won 8-0 and 10-2. One of the big reasons for FSU’s success was the top of the order. In the two games, FSU’s 1-5 hitters went 14 for 28 with 13 runs scored and 15 RBIs.
THE BIG 4-0
Junior Jessica van der Linden has done some absolutely amazing things this season. On top of having the lowest ERA and highest batting average of anyone in the nation, she is leading the team in eight offensive categories. Last week against No. 22/25 Florida and Virginia she continued to dominate. She hit .750 and slugged 1.125. She scored seven runs, had a double, a triple and five RBIs. She walked six times and didn’t strikeout once. She also posted an on base percentage of .857. She also went 2-0 in the circle as she won her 10th straight start. She registered 11 more strikeouts also. Overall she has upped her average to .455 has 12 doubles, four triples and 33 RBIs. She is also slugging .606 with an on base percentage of .585. She’s also 9 for 9 on steals. She leads FSU in average, runs scored, doubles, hits, triples, walks, sac flies and on base percentage. She is hitting .448 with runners on base, .483 with runners in scoring position, .472 with two outs and she has 11 two-out RBIs.
Inside the circle she is 16-4 with an ERA of 1.08. She has seven shutouts, 218 Ks and just 45 walks. Her strikeout to walk ratio is almost 5 to 1 and opposing hitters have just a .149 batting average against her. Besides all of those impressive feats, what she continues to do when it comes to doubles is probably the most amazing accomplishment. With her double against Virginia, she became the first player in FSU history to record 40 doubles in her career and she is still a junior. Last year she became the first player to hit 10 or more doubles in back-to-back seasons at FSU and she is now the first Seminole to ever do that three times in her career. She has doubled 14 times each of her first two seasons and with her 12 doubles in 2003, she has taken over sole possession of first place as the all-time leader at FSU.
Junior Elisa Vasquez who is in the midst of her best season ever had her best week as a Seminole in four of FSU’s biggest games of the season, which earned her ACC Player of the Week honors. The junior knocked in three game-winning RBIs and 10 RBIs overall as she led FSU offensively to sweeps over No. 22/25 Florida and ACC rival Virginia. The catcher/designated player hit .538, slugged 1.231 and was on base 57% of the time. She knocked in 10 RBIs, scored five times, recorded a double, a triple and two home runs on top of not striking out once all week. She hit .500 with runners in scoring position, .600 with two outs, three of her 10 RBIs came with two outs and she posted four straight games with an RBI including three consecutive multi-RBI games. She started things off with a huge outing against reigning NFCA and ASA Player of the Week Jenny Gladding. In the first inning with two down, Gladding and the Gators didn’t want ASA National Player of the Year finalist Jessica van der Linden to beat them so they pitched her carefully and ended up walking the junior. That brought up Vasquez who made UF pay with a double plating the first run of the game and the only run FSU would need in the 5-0 win. It was d?j? vu all over again in the third as the Gators issued another walk to van der Linden with the bases empty and one out in the frame. This time Vasquez took a 3-2 Gladding offering over the fence in right for FSU’s second and third runs. In game two, Vasquez picked up right where she left off as FSU downed Florida 7-3. Vasquez singled in another RBI in the first and drove home another run in the third upping her RBI total to five against the Gators. In a key ACC showdown with Virginia, the Tribe and Cavaliers were tied 0-0 in the fourth before Vasquez’s two-run triple plated the winning runs in a 5-0 shutout. The junior wasn’t done though as she followed a van der Linden walk in the sixth with her second homer of the week to right field to extend FSU to a 5-0 lead. In the finale versus UVa, Vasquez recorded her third straight game-winning hit as she singled home FSU’s second run in the first inning. The junior added another single later in the 12-1 win as she finished with her third multi-hit day of the week.
One of the main reasons FSU is headed towards landing its 16th NCAA Regional bid is the way two key players have filled the shoes of two of Florida State’s most important seniors from 2002. Elisa Vasquez and Casey Hunter have stepped in for Kimmy Carter and Leslie Malerich at two positions that were the biggest question marks coming into 2003. With the loss of Carter, somebody had to step up and replace her RBI production especially after setting the single season record with 53 last year. Vasquez has done that. While the junior isn’t in the 50’s yet, she leads the team with 40 runs driven-in. The key stat though is RBIs per game. Last year Carter drove in .72 RBIs per game. Vasquez is doing even better with .80 RBIs per contest. At that rate she would need 18 more games to pass Carter, which probably won’t happen but she has done everything the coaches could have ever asked when it comes to bringing runners home. Hunter has just been incredible this year. While the sophomore hasn’t been asked to carry as much of the load as the senior All-American she also has been everything the coaches could have asked for. Hunter’s ERA is less than half of what Malerich’s was (0.64 to 1.38) and her winning percentage is over 110 percentage points higher (.828 to .724). Hunter is only 33 Ks away from Malerich’s 75 game total and she has walked 55 fewer batters. Hunter is also holding hitters to a batting average 64 percentage points lower. Malerich was a warrior for FSU with over 300 innings pitched in two of her four seasons but Hunter has stepped up in a key role and that is one of the reasons FSU is 41-9 heading into the last weekend of the regular season.
First year pitching coach Eve Gaw has done some amazing things with a young Florida State staff this year and she has them battling for the ERA title. One of the most amazing stats is the fact that none of her pitchers has allowed a triple this year despite pitching almost 350 innings. The Seminoles’ speedy outfielders deserve a lot of the credit also. This year’s group of outfielders is one of the fastest ever from top to bottom in Tallahassee and that cuts down on the extra base hits also.
IC THE ACC
With one ACC doubleheader and the conference tournament still to go, there are a few Seminoles who have distinguished themselves in conference play. The most obvious is ACC Player of the Year candidate Jessica van der Linden. The junior is hitting .438, slugging .750 and has been on base over 52% of the time. She has scored six runs, hit three doubles, a triple and leads the team with eight RBIs. She has been just as dominant in the circle. The Cerritos, CA native is 2-0 with a 0.66 ERA, 28 strikeouts and just six walks. She has held ACC hitters to a .143 batting average and she has a shutout.
One name that might be a surprise to those outside of Tallahassee is Shandra Colzie. The senior has been setting the table at the top of the order for FSU almost the entire season and she is tearing up ACC pitching. The Miami, FL native is hitting .444 and has a double and three RBIs. She is tied for the team lead with six runs scored. Junior Elisa Vasquez has been stellar all season and that’s no different in ACC play. The Hesperia, CA native is hitting .333 with a triple, a home run and five RBIs. She is slugging .667 and is fielding 1.000 behind the plate. As expected, Brandi Stuart is producing for FSU also in conference games. The All-American has five RBIs, a double, a home run and is slugging .450. She is 3 for 3 in steals and is also perfect in the field.
Casey Hunter has been dominant inside the circle. Although she isn’t eligible for Rookie of the Year honors, she has to be the league’s top newcomer. She is 4-0 with a 0.32 ERA, 19 strikeouts, four walks and two shutouts. ACC batters are hitting just .208 off her and she has three complete games.