February 22, 2001 - by
No. 16 FSU Softball Looks For Third Straight Tournament Title At FAU

Feb. 22, 2001

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The 16th-ranked Seminoles started the 2001 campaign with an impressive outing against Georgia Southern in Statesboro. The Noles gave up no runs and only one walk in the series sweep. FSU downed the Eagles 8-0 and 4-0 on the way to their sixth straight series win dating back to the 2000 season. Florida State recorded 16 hits in the two games and batted .314 as a team against Georgia Southern.

FSU continued their hot start to the 2001 campaign when they hosted, and won, the 2001 Tomahawk Bash. Florida State opened the tourney with a familiar foe as cross-town rival FAMU made their first trip of the year to the Seminole Softball Complex. The Noles extended their season-opening shutout streak to 20 innings as they recorded their third straight shutout with a 1-0 win. The win marked the first collegiate victory of freshman Jessica van der Linden’s career. The Seminoles then advanced past Tennessee-Chattanooga as Brandi Stuart went 2 for 3 and Leslie Malerich got her second win in a complete game three-hitter.

FSU next faced No. 25 Florida International who entered the game undefeated with a 6-0 record. The Seminoles were two-hit by Golden Panther starter Vanessa Wilson and Shannon Carey blasted her second homer of the tournament and led FIU to the 2-1 victory. Against UTC in a 2 vs 3 game, freshman van der Linden came in in relief in a 2-2 game and allowed just one hit over four innings and Monique Marier’s RBI triple in the bottom of the tenth plated Serita Brooks as the Seminoles advanced to the championship with the 3-2 win. FSU then avenged their only loss of 2001 in Sunday’s final against FIU. Leslie Malerich took the mound for the Noles as she went for her third win in three outings. After FIU evened the game in the fourth at 2-2, Louisville Slugger/NFCA Player of the Week Stuart scored the eventual game-winning run in the bottom of the fourth on an FIU error. Malerich shut FIU down the rest of the way and picked up her third straight complete game victory of 2001.

FSU extended its winning streak to nine games and improved its record to 13-1, the best start since 1993, with a clean sweep at the Sunshine State Tournament and its seventh straight series win against Mercer. Seminole pitchers allowed no runs in the first three games of the tournament as Jen White-Stokes downed Kent State (4-0), Van der Linden pitched her first collegiate no-hitter in a 8-0 win over College of Charleston and Malerich shut down Boston College 1-0. The Noles advanced to the final with a 9-1 win over Charleston where they met BC again. After the Eagles hit a three-run homer to tie the game at 4-4 in the top of the seventh, Stuart’s solo shot in the bottom of the inning gave FSU the title in a 5-4 win.

FSU then met the Mercer Bears in a Tuesday night doubleheader as van der Linden extended her win streak to four with a 4-0 win and Malerich notched her sixth win in the nightcap 8-0. Carter and van der Linden each recorded three hits.

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