April 18, 2003 - by
GAMEDAY CENTRAL: No. 14 FSU Softball Faces Jacksonville Saturday

April 18, 2003

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>Florida State is going for its 17th and 18th wins in a row
>This is the first-ever meeting between the schools in softball
>Jessica van der Linden has not allowed a run in 41 straight innings
>Casey Hunter has won nine consecutive decisions

Florida State and Jacksonville University have a long history of facing one another. The teams have played 122 times in 39 years in baseball, the two program’s face off every year in women’s soccer and now the rivalry begins in softball. The Dolphins are 23-31 in their first season of softball and the match-up marks the 11th opponent from the state of Florida the Seminoles have played since 1984. JU is hitting surprisingly well for a first-year team with a .272 batting average. Dianna Korcak is leading the team with a .347 average. She also has 10 doubles and 16 RBIs. The Dolphins do have a penchant for doubles though. Jacksonville has hit 67 two-baggers this season, compared to 49 for the Seminoles. The staff has a 2.06 ERA and Katie Dobson (9-18) leads the team with 28 appearances but her 2.54 ERA is the highest on the team. Bridget Starry has the squad’s best ERA at 1.56 and she is 12-11 on the season. JU is only 6-12 on the road this year.

The first NCAA stats of 2003 were released this week and FSU is stacking up preety favorably compared to the rest of the nation. The Seminole pitching staff is leading the way in the NCAA rankings as they are in the hunt for the team’s second ERA title in three years. The staff currently ranks third in the nation with a 0.87 ERA and is behind only Texas and UCLA. Individually, sophomore sensation Casey Hunter is sixth in the nation with a 0.71 ERA, seventh in the nation with a .808 winning percentage and she is also in the top 25 for Ks per seven innings as she ranks 25th with 8.5 a game. All-America candidate Jessica van der Linden is 34th in the nation and moving up with an ERA that has shrunk from 2.07 to 1.03 over the past two months. The lefty is also in the midst of a 40 inning scoreless streak and she ranks 10th in the nation with 9.9 strikeouts per seven innings. Van der Linden is also getting it done at the plate. The Cerritos, CA native’s .427 batting average is the 25th best in Division I softball this year. She is the only player in the nation this season to be amongst the top 35 in ERA and batting average. Overall, FSU is 22nd in the nation in scoring as they are averaging 4.84 runs per game. Senior All-American Brandi Stuart is in the top 10 for steals this year. The second baseman’s 0.67 stolen bases per game ranks her 10th in the nation. At 35-9, FSU also ranks among the nation’s top teams when it comes to winning percentage. Before Tuesday night’s win over Florida A&M, the Tribe’s .791 winning percentage was 13th-best in the nation.

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