Feb. 19, 2003
Tallahassee, FL –
The National Fastpitch Coaches Association announced Wednesday that Seminole Jessica van der Linden is its first National Player of the Week for the 2003 season. The junior from Cerritos, CA becomes just the third Florida State player to ever be named NFCA Player of the Week and she is FSU’s second recipient in just over two years. Teammate Brandi Stuart also won the honor in 2001.
“This is such an honor,” said van der Linden. “It is great to be able to play well and help my team in whatever way I can. I am thankful for that and to the NFCA because this is very special.”
In a dominating weekend that saw FSU go 4-0 and outscore its opponents 26-6, no Seminole was more dominant than van der Linden. The outfielder/pitcher hit .692, scored three runs, hit two doubles, drove in five runs, had 11 total bases, slugged .846 and was on base 75% of the time. She also went 2-0 in two starts in the circle. The junior led FSU in average, at bats, hits (9), doubles, RBIs, total bases and on base percentage as the Tribe won the Sunshine State Tournament. In FSU’s four games last week, van der Linden had two or more hits in three contests, she drove in at least one run in three of four games and she either doubled or drew a walk in all four games.
She started the weekend off with a 2 for 4 performance versus Iowa State that included an RBI double and a five inning win in the circle where she allowed just one earned run. In the second game of the day, van der Linden had her best game of the week. Against Middle Tennessee, she went 3 for 4, scored three runs, drove in three RBIs and recorded another double. Her two RBI double in the second inning broke the game open for FSU. The Cyclones didn’t let van der Linden beat them in the next meeting as she went 1 for 2 with a walk and was hit by a pitch. In the final game of the weekend, she started inside the circle against Middle Tennessee and once again got a win as she struck out eight Lady Blue Raiders. She also went 3 for 3 with a walk and an RBI. She was posted a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage for the weekend.
“This is a great honor for Jessica and for our program,” said head coach JoAnne Graf. “Jess is off to just a phenomenal start and this honor is definitely deserved.”
After Tuesday night’s 5-0 win over Florida A&M, the junior is hitting .636 on the season while slugging .727 and she is getting on base 76% of the time. She leads No. 9 Florida State in average, RBIs, total bases, hits, slugging and on base percentage. She is also second on the team in doubles, runs scored and walks.
The Seminoles return to action Friday as they travel to Columbus, GA to compete in the prestigious NFCA Leadoff Classic. The tournament features 19 teams that played in the 2002 NCAA Tournament, eight top 10 teams and 18 ranked squads. Florida State opens with No. 21 Pacific at 5:00 pm and then faces No. 23 Oregon State at 7:00 pm. The Tribe concludes pool play with No. 25 UMass at 12:30 pm Saturday. For more information on the 2003 NFCA Leadoff Classic and all the information you could ever need on the 2003 Florida State softball team, please log on to seminoles.com, the official athletic home for Florida State on the Internet.