May 19, 2003
Tallahassee, FL –
The 10th-ranked Florida State softball team lead all southeastern schools with three first team all-region selections and four total selections. Catcher Elisa Vasquez, second baseman Brandi Stuart and utility player Jessica van der Linden were all selected to the all-region first team. Pitcher Casey Hunter was named to the second team. The three first team selections ties the second-most ever at Florida State and are one short of the record four selections for FSU in 1994.
This is the second consecutive first team selection for 2002 All-American Stuart and she becomes the first back-to-back all-region first teamer at Florida State since 1996 and 1997 when Missy Calkins was named to the all-region first team. Stuart is the only FSU player to garner All-ACC honors four straight years and she also became the first Seminole ever to register 30 or more steals in four consecutive seasons. In 2003, she established career records for home runs, RBIs, walks, games played, games started and consecutive starts. She finished the regular season leading FSU in home runs, slugging percentage, runs scored, total bases and steals and was second on the squad in six other offensive categories.
This is the first time van der Linden was named to the first team after garnering second team honors in 2002. The Cerritos, CA native was named a top 10 finalist for USA Softball National Player of the Year honors and was also the 2003 ACC Player of the Year. The junior utility player had one of the most remarkable regular seasons in team history hitting .439, slugging .583, recording 12 doubles, four triples and 33 RBIs. She also posted an on base percentage of .571. Inside the circle, the southpaw won 12 straight decisions to end the season and had a 47-inning scoreless streak at one point. She ranked eighth in the nation in strikeouts and 24th in ERA. With her top 16 NCAA batting average, no player in DI softball had a higher batting average and lower ERA than van der Linden.
Vasquez had a breakthrough season in 2003 after sitting behind second team all-region catcher Kimmy Carter for two seasons. She led FSU in RBIs and triples, was second on the team in batting average and third in slugging percentage. Her 14 multi-RBI games were the best on the team and she was third on the squad with 13 multi-hit games. On top of leading the team in RBIs, Vasquez was also tops on the squad with 10 game-winning RBIs. The junior didn’t only come through at the plate this season. The Hesperia, CA native finished the regular season with a .992 slugging percentage and she threw out 42% of would-be base stealers.
Hunter rocketed from making just 11 appearances as a freshman to one of the southeast’s top pitchers in 2003. Finished the regular season with the fourth-best ERA in the nation and in the top 12 for wins. She is one of just three sophomores in FSU history to lead the team in wins, ERA, strikeouts, shutouts and appearances and her sophomore season was the best by any at FSU in almost two decades (1986). She is just the third Seminole in the last 10 years to complete a regular season with an ERA below 1.00 and her 0.67 ERA is the second-lowest in a decade at Florida State. Finished the season by winning 15 straight starts and allowed more than two earned runs just once in 37 appearances and didn’t allow a single earned run in 24 of those games. Also led FSU in ERA, wins, starts, appearances, complete games, shutouts, innings pitched, and fewest earned runs.