April 5, 2003
Chapel Hill, NC –
Florida State’s Jessica van der Linden continues to make her case to become the Seminole’s 21st All-American as she once again dominated an opponent as 16th-ranked FSU (30-9, 4-0) completed a sweep of ACC foe UNC (28-14, 0-2) 4-0 Saturday. The junior improved to 10-4 on the year as she came within two outs of a perfect game. The Californian struck out 10 of the last 12 hitters she faced and registered 13 strike outs in the game. She has now registered double digit Ks in five straight starts and in 8 of her last 9 starts.
The victory was the fifth in a row for van der Linden and her second straight shutout. With Casey Hunter’s shutout in game one, the Tribe shutout the Heels in back-to-back for the first time ever at the new UNC Softball Complex. With the two shutouts FSU got at Elon Friday, the Seminole staff has now thrown 33 scoreless innings of softball.
Shundra Colzie started the game off for FSU with an infield single deep in the hole behind second. She was sacrificed to second and then moved over to third on van der Linden’s ground out to first. The Seminoles were unable to plate the runner from third though as Alison Yin (12-4) got Brandi Stuart to pop up to the circle to end the top of the first. Van der Linden started off hot as she retired Tiffany Tolleson and the got Megan Welch looking at strike three. She then finished the Heels off on a ground out to second.
Yin cruised through the Tribe line-up in the second as she set FSU down in order. Left-hander van der Linden answered as she retired her sixth batter in a row and registered her second K of the game sending the game into the top of the third.
After UNC set down seven straight FSU hitters, Natasha Jacob reached on a throwing error by the shortstop giving FSU its second base runner of the game. Colzie followed with a double into the alley in right center and then Tatiana George reached on another error to load the bases. The Tribe took the 1-0 lead as van der Linden watched ball four after falling behind 0-2 forcing home Jacob with FSU’s first run of the game. After Yin got Stuart looking at strike three, Elisa Vasquez came up looking to add to her team lead in RBIs. She was unable to plate another run though as she popped out to third and FSU stranded three runners as the game moved to the bottom of the frame.
In the bottom of the third, van der Linden retired her seventh and eighth straight batters on just two pitches. She then ended the frame as she got a soft liner to first to retire the side. That brought up Beth Wade for FSU in the top of the fourth. The redshirt junior laced a single to right as FSU put its leadoff hitter on. Carly Brieske followed by flying out to center field bringing up Lesley Palmer. The sophomore singled through the left side of the infield as the Tribe put runners on first and second with one down. Jacob looked liked she beat out a sacrifice bunt but was called out as the runners moved to second and third. Yin got out of her second consecutive jam though as she retired Colzie for the first time in the game on a ground ball to second.
In the home half of the fourth, van der Linden continued to cruise. The All-America candidate set the side down in order for the fourth straight inning as she upped her streak to 12 straight batters set down. She also added her third and fourth strikeouts moving the second game of the doubleheader into the top of the fifth.
George started the top of the frame off by drawing a leadoff walk. She was erased on van der Linden’s fielder’s choice for the first out of the inning. Yin got Stuart swinging and then hit Vasquez putting runners on first and second with two down. Wade was unable to bring anybody home though as she fouled out to third.
In the home half of the fifth van der Linden picked up right where she left off. The junior fanned the side as she struck out her fourth straight hitter and moved her consecutive batters retired total to 15. Her seventh strikeout marked the sixth time in a row van der Linden has Ked at least seven batters in a game.
For the fourth time in six innings FSU put its leadoff hitter on base as Brieske drew a walk. She was followed by pinch hitter Robyn Larson who worked out a walk on a 12-pitch battle with Yin. Game one starter Crystal Cox came in to relieve Yin after the free passes as UNC hoped to keep UNC within one run. Jacob once again got a sacrifice down and moved the runners around bringing Colzie up in an RBI situation. Cox got her swinging leaving it up to George to try to avoid stranding FSU’s ninth and tenth base runners of the game. The sophomore came through as she doubled to left field clearing the bases and putting the Tribe in front 3-0.
In the sixth inning van der Linden just seemed to get better and better as she fanned the side for the second inning in a row. She upped her consecutive strikeouts to seven and surpassed 10 Ks in her fifth straight start. The junior’s performance seemed to inspire former high school teammate Stuart who led off the seventh with a solo shot over the fence in left field to put the Trine up 4-0. The HR was the All-American’s sixth of the year and the 33rd of her career. She is now just one round-tripper away from tying the all-time mark at FSU.
The bottom of the seventh began the same way the last three innings began for FSU with another van der Linden strikeout as she fanned her eighth straight Heel. The junior was just two outs away from her first perfect game since February 23, 2002 but Megan Welch spoiled the party as she sent a grounder deep in the hole at short for the first base hit of the game.
Florida State returns home for a midweek twin bill versus UCF. The games are scheduled for 5:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, April 9 and will be played at the Seminole Softball Complex. For more information on the 2003 Florida State softball team, please log on to seminoles.com, the official athletic home for Florida State athletics on the interne