April 6, 2004 - by
No. 3 Softball Hosts No. 13 Florida Wednesday At The Seminole Softball Complex

April 6, 2004

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Seminole Softball will hold a home run derby featuring FSU student-athletes, athletic department staff and members of the local media immediately following game two of the FSU/Florida doubleheader. Jeff Baggett (Staff- Athletic Training), Chris Bartine (Staff-Marketing),
Brian Battle (Staff-Compliance) , Loren Hansen (Athlete-Swimming & Diving),
Michael Boulware (Athlete-Football), Karson (Media-Hot 104.9),
Robin Confer (Staff-Soccer), Tim Pickett (Athlete-Basketball),
Melissa Maicos (Media-WCTV), Matt Ray (Staff- Strength & Conditioning),
Scott Smith (Staff-Facilities), P.K. Sam (Athlete-Football),
Amber Tollefson (Athlete-Soccer) and Matt Wheeler (Athlete-Swimming & Diving) are all scheduled to participate.

After splitting each of the first four meetings in the all-time series between FSU and UF, the Tribe have comeback and swept two of the last three regular seasons meetings. Florida State has won six of the last seven games but both of it sweeps of Florida came in Gainesville. FSU has never swept the Gators in Tallahassee. The Tribe is in the midst of a three-game winning streak against UF, which ties the longest winning streak by either team in the series. The last time FSU won three in a row from Florida came in 2002 when FSU took two games in Gainesville and then beat UF again in the Tallahassee NCAA Regional. Florida has never won back-to-back games against FSU.

Florida State leads the all-time series versus Florida 10-5…FSU has outscored UF 65-46 in 15 total meetings…the Seminoles have won five straight meetings in Gainesville and the only two sweeps in series history came in 2001 and 2003 at UF and FSU was the victor on both occasions…in four of the five double headers where the teams split the twin bill, FSU has lost game one only to fight back in game two to salvage a series split…FSU had never shutout the Gators in 15 meetings before last year when Casey Hunter became the first Seminole ever to record a shutout in the series…the Tribe has hit at least one home run versus Florida in the last four series…the Seminoles’ first win in series history was also the most lopsided win for the Tribe as they beat the Gators by a score of 8-1…Florida recorded its most lopsided win in series history the last time they traveled to Tallahassee and opened the twin bill with a 7-1 win over FSU…no player on either team ever had more than one extra base hit in a game in the history of the series until 2003 when Elisa Vasquez doubled and homered in game one of the twin bill…there has been just one extra inning game between the teams in 15 meetings (2000: UF 5 FSU 3)…FSU’s most important victory came during the NCAA Regionals in 2001, which marks the only time the two teams have met in post-season play. The Seminoles won the game by a score of 3-1 eliminating the Gators and topping off the 2001 season with the only three game sweep over Florida in series history…the win in game two of the series in 2001 was a career milestone for coach Dr. JoAnne Graf as she recorded the 1,100th win of her record-breaking career.

If Florida State is going to have any success against the Gators, they well need their seniors to continue to play well in this series. Jessica van der Linden, Beth Wade and Elisa Vasquez have combined to hit .410 lifetime versus UF to go along with 13 RBIs 11 walks, two doubles, a homer and nine runs scored. All three players have been successful versus Florida but Vasquez has been a terror in this series. Last year Vasquez single handedly toppled the Gators in game one with a double, home run and four RBIs. Vasquez has recorded at least one RBI in all three games versus UF and she is a lifetime .400 hitter versus Florida. Wade has also hit Gator pitching pretty well with three RBIs and an all-time average of .384. van der Linden will be counted on at the plate and in the circle. She has a lifetime .438 batting average against Florida with five runs scored, four RBIs, a double and nine walks in seven games. The current Seminole staff has never lost a game to Florida. Casey Hunter and van der Linden are a combined 3-0 with 1.07 ERA they have 31 strikeouts and just nine walks. In two career appearances, Hunter has never allowed a run against the Gators. In 12 innings she has 16 K’s and just four walks and she owns the only shutout in series history for FSU. van der Linden has won every time she has pitched versus UF and is 2-0 with two complete games. She has 15 strikeouts and just five walks on top of allowing four earned runs in 14 innings of work.

Casey Hunter was simply brilliant for the Seminoles in two big games versus then-No. 23 Georgia Tech to open the ACC season. The junior out dueled Yellow Jacket ace Jessica Sallinger to open the twin bill as she recorded the fourth complete game shutout of her ACC career. She also raised her scoreless innings streak versus Georgia Tech to 17 as she is yet to allow a run versus Tech in her three-year career. Hunter then came in to relieve Jessica van der Linden in game two and she was unhittable. The junior pitched three innings and allowed just one base runner who she hit with a pitch. It is the second time in her career that she has won both games of an ACC doubleheader. She beat Maryland twice in 2002 and is now just one of three FSU pitchers to ever record two regular season ACC wins in a day more than once in her career. Leslie Malerich did it twice as well and Jen White Stokes did it three times.

One of the key ingredients to FSU’s success in 2004 has been the top of the order. With Veronica Wootson leading-off and Natasha Jacob and Jessica van der Linden hitting behind her, the Tribe is nearly unstoppable at the top. Those three players are 1-2-3 in batting average and all three are in the top five for on base percentage. Wootson, Jacob and van der Linden have combined to hit .354 and they have scored 107 of FSU’s 275 runs. They also have 31 of the Seminoles’ 48 stolen bases. Jacob and van der Linden aren’t only setting the table, they are clearing it when they have the chance as well. The Tribe’s No. 2 and No. 3 hitters lead the team in hitting with runners on base and with runners in scoring position. van der Linden is hitting .453 with runners on and .463 with runners in scoring position. Jacob is batting an amazing .444 with runners on base and an incredible .500 with runners in scoring position.

In FSU’s most recent 12-0 win over Florida A&M Tatiana George got her first extended playing time since February 29 when she fractured her wrist versus LSU. The Tribe’s starting shortstop missed the last 26 games while recovering but she looks poised to reassume her spot at short. George’s first play since returning from injury was a diving stab of an infield pop that was dying in front of second base. The junior laid out to make the play and popped up no worse fore the wear. The Seminoles missed George’s bat in the line-up as the junior was in the midst of a career year before the injury. George was hitting .308 with a career high three home runs in just 15 starts before the injury. She has seen some action as a pinch runner in the last week or so but she could be back in the starting line-up for the game versus the Gators Wednesday.

One of the biggest surprises of 2004 has to be the play of Carey Galuppi at the plate. The sophomore had just 20 at bats last year and hit only .200. She had just one extra base hit and only two RBIs. While she isn’t starting on a regular basis in 2004, Galuppi is making a case to at least split time in right field. The Boca Raton, FL native is hitting .406 in 32 at bats with two doubles, two home runs and 10 RBIs. She is slugging an impressive .656 and she is getting on base over 52% of the time. She has recorded at least one hit in six of her eight starts and she has three multi-RBI games this season. Of the 18 games Galuppi has batted in, she has recorded a hit in 10 of those contests.

With Florida State’s ACC opening sweep of then No. 23 Georgia Tech, the Tribe extended its ACC regular season winning streak to 22 games. The Seminoles have not lost a conference game since falling to Georgia Tech in the team’s second ACC game of the 2001 season. FSU’s 22 straight wins since 2001 is equal to the total number of ACC victories amassed by Maryland in nine years of ACC play.

This Wednesday’s doubleheader with Florida will mark the first two FSU games of the year the will be broadcast on the Sunshine Network. The Seminoles will look forward to playing in front of the Sunshine cameras. First, it gives friends and family all over the country a chance to watch them play but most importantly it gives FSU an opportunity to extend a streak. Florida State has won nine straight Sunshine Network games dating back to 2001. The last time the Tribe lost on Sunshine was to North Carolina in the ACC Championship final in 2001. The last time FSU lost a home game that was broadcast by the Sunshine Network was in 2001 when FSU lost to No. 18 Nebraska 3-0. The Sunshine Network will broadcast two more FSU games in the regular season when North Carolina comes to town April 24.

Florida State inched another step closer to setting a new single season home run record when Carey Galuppi yanked the second HR of her career out of Rattlerette Stadium Wednesday. The Seminoles are now just three away from tying the record and four away from establishing a new mark. Florida State has homered in 19 games this year and FSU is 19-0 in those contests. Not a stunning statistic. What is amazing is that FSU has surrendered just four home runs to their opponents and the Tribe is still 4-0 in those games. Overall, FSU is 23-0 in any game where anyone hits a bomb. A couple of other home run tidbits. Veronica Wootson is the only Seminole to hit a home run this year on the first pitch of an at bat. Only one of FSU’s 30 homers has come in the second inning. The Seminoles have led off an inning with a bob six times and they have won a game via a last inning home run just once (Tatiana George versus South Carolina). Almost half (13 of 30) of Florida State’s homers have come with two outs in an inning and 19 have come with at least one runner on base.

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