March 9, 2002
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –
Just a few hours after an emotional come-from-behind win versus Auburn University, the 22nd-ranked Seminoles fell 1-0 to No. 8 Michigan in Gold Bracket play at the Seminole Invitational Tournament. The loss eliminates the Seminoles from a shot at the tournament championship and the best FSU can finish now is fifth.
Senior Leslie Malerich pitched a five-hit gem allowing just one earned run while striking out seven Wolverines. The run in the second inning brought her streak of 44 2/3 innings without allowing an earned run to a close but the senior was masterful in limiting UM to just six base runners on the afternoon.
As good as Malerich was, she was matched by All-American Marissa Young. The junior right-hander from Santa Anita, CA gave up just five hits also and recorded her sixth shutout of the year and second of the tournament. She equaled Malerich with seven strikeouts of her own and did not issue a walk.
The Wolverines got the game’s lone run in the second as Young led off the inning with a double to right center. After pinch runner Amy Prichard was sacrificed to third, Courtney Betley singled down the right field line but Prichard was unable to come home. Malerich then retired Jessica Merchant by snaring the freshman’s line drive. With two down in the inning, Betley stole second and due to a Seminoles miscommunication, nobody cut off Kimmy Carter’s throw down to second which allowed Prichard to come home with the eventual game winning run.
Florida State had its chances versus Young. In the top of the second, the Seminoles were unable to capitalize on a Carter single leaving the senior stranded on second base. The Seminoles stranded another runner at second in the third and had a great opportunity to get back in the game in the fourth.
Brandi Stuart led off the fourth by singling to left and Carter sacrificed her over to second base. Stuart proceeded to steal her 26th base of the season and the throw down to third ended up in left field. Betley made a heads up play by backing up the action at third kept Stuart from tying the game. The next two Seminoles were unable to get Stuart home from third as FSU stranded its fourth base runner in four innings.
Stuart once again gave the Tribe an opportunity to tie the game as she belted a two-out triple to right in the top of the sixth but once again the Garnet and Gold was unable to capitalize.
Florida State continues play in the Seminole Invitational at the Seminole Softball Complex tonight at 7:00 p.m. against the Minnesota/UMass loser. For updated scores and field assignments, please visit our official athletic website at www.seminoles.com.