March 19, 2004
Fullerton, CA –
The third-ranked Seminole softball team finished pool play at the 2004 Kia Klassic Friday with a 2-1, eight inning win over UNLV (16-17). The Tribe (33-4) wrapped-up pool play at 2-1 and now will have to wait until 8:00 p.m. EST to find out who and when they will play next.
For the third straight game, FSU continued to struggle at the plate. The Tribe managed just four hits and they now have a total of 10 hits in three games. In the win over the Rebels, one of the four hits was a big one as Beth Wade’s solo homer in the fifth put the Tribe up 1-0. Casey Hunter pitched the first seven innings and allowed just one run as she improved her record 18-1. Jessica van der Linden picked up the third save of her career as she pitched a perfect eighth to preserve the win.
Hunter and the Seminoles got in trouble in the bottom of the first as an error and a walk put two on with nobody out. The Seminole hurler got the next two hitters swinging at strike three and then retired the side on a grounder to first base.
The Rebels threatened FSU again in the second inning. A hit batter and bunt single put runners on first and second with two outs. The Tribe got out of the jam though on a grounder to short with a force at second ending the frame.
For the fourth consecutive inning, UNLV put a runner on base as Wendy Godwin reached on a walk to start the frame. FSU wiped her off the bases on the next play as the Rebels attempt at a sac bunt was popped into the air and the Tribe turned the double play. It was the seventh double play of the year for the Seminoles. Hunter couldn’t close the inning though after a 12-pitch at bat, the junior lost the batter as she issued her second walk of the frame. The free pass didn’t amount to anything though as a grounder ended the inning on the next pitch.
The Tribe opened the fifth with a blast, literally. Wade led off the top of the inning by homering over the fence in left field. The round-tripper was the seventh of the year for the Georgia native who came into the 2004 season with four career homeruns in 309 at bats. In just 95 at bats this year she has moved within three HR’s of the all-time single season record at FSU. As soon as the first big hit came, more hits followed off UNLV starter Jacque Kerrigan (13-12). Elisa Vasquez followed the homer by reaching on a passed ball after a strike out. Carly Brieske moved her to second on a single up the middle. Both runners moved up on a Kim Hoffer sac bunt. The Tribe then put on the suicide squeeze and the play was executed perfectly by Katie Fricke but the ball bounced into her on the way to first for the second out of the inning. With runners still on second and third and two outs now, Kerrigan retired the side with just the one run allowed on a foul out to the catcher.
For the fourth time in five innings, UNLV put their leadoff hitter on base as Hunter allowed her third hit of the game. The Rebels followed with another single as they looked to answer FSU’s run in the top of the fifth. Hunter came back and retired the three and four hitters on her sixth and seventh strikeouts of the game. She then ended the Rebel threat on a soft liner to first.
Errors plagued FSU in the bottom of the sixth as two errors put runners on first and second with just one out instead of the inning being over. Hunter’s eighth K of the game put FSU one out away from ending the inning but an infield single by Becky McDonald moved the potential tying run 60 feet from home. Hunter then issued her fourth walk of the game losing the batter on a 3-2 pitch to tie the game and keep the sacks full of Rebels. The threat came to an end though as Hunter got the UNLV three-hole hitter swinging.
The Seminoles did nothing to break the tie in the top of the seventh as UNLV came up looking to win the game in the bottom of the seventh. For the first time all game, Hunter and the Seminoles set UNLV down in order as the game moved in to extra innings and the international tie breaker went into effect.
Hoffer started the eighth with a perfect sac bunt to move Brieske to third based. The Rebels first error of the day put FSU in the lead as a ball four, wild pitch scored Brieske from third and put LaShaun Davis on first with one away. Veronica Wootson followed with FSU’s fourth hit of the game to put two on at first and second. After Natasha Jacob drew a four pitch walk to load the bases, a fielder’s choice and force out at home moved UNLV within one out of escaping from a major jam. Kerrigan got that out on an easy fly ball to left field.
The Seminoles brought in van der Linden to try and close out the win in the home half of the eighth and the All-American started with five straight strikes before missing with her sixth pitch of the game. The senior got the second batter of the frame swinging and then
Florida State continues play at the prestigious Kia Klassic Tournament when they begin bracket play Saturday, March 20. The next game time and opponent have yet to be determined. Check www.seminoles.com to see who FSU will play next in bracket action.