March 25, 2004
Box Score in PDF Format
Tallahassee, FL –
The third-ranked Florida State softball team entered the bottom of the fourth inning tied 0-0 with Florida International (17-19) in the second game of Thursday’s twin bill. The Seminoles had yet to record a hit but in the next two innings the Tribe exploded. The Seminoles (37-4) put up 11 runs on five hits and swept the doubleheader from the Golden Panthers.
Senior All-American Jessica van der Linden showcased all the tools that made her a USA Softball National Player of the Year finalist in 2003. She drove in five runs, hit a grand slam and threw a one hitter improving her record on the year to 17-3. In just five innings of work she fanned nine Golden Panthers and issued only two walks.
“It felt awesome to have a game like this,” said van der Linden. “I didn’t have my best game in the circle. Around the third inning I lost my curve so I had trouble with that but hitting a grand slam just felt so good. I am very excited.”
The Golden Panthers put runners on base in two of the first three innings but FIU was unable to capitalize as they stranded two base runners and also had a third caught stealing. Florida State, on the other hand, was held without a hit or base runner for the first two innings against FIU starter Amanda Nealer (5-6).
The Tribe got its first base runner of the game when Kim Hoffer drew a one out walk in the fourth. She was moved to second by LaShaun Davis and then Veronica Wootson drew a walk to put two on with two away. Another Nealer walk, this one on four straight pitches to Natasha Jacob, loaded the bases for FSU. All-American Jessica van der Linden then made FIU pay. After falling behind 0-2, van der Linden worked the count full and then blasted the offering deep over the wall in right field. The hit was FSU’s first of the game and the first grand slam of van der Linden’s career.
“I went up to the plate thinking base hit. That’s all,” said van der Linden. “I got a little more behind it than normal. Usually when I hit a ball like that it hits the fence so I kept running hard when I hit it. As soon as I saw it leave the park I slowed up and got to enjoy the excitement of it.”
The Seminoles looked to build on their lead in the bottom of the fourth. Beth Wade started the inning with a single and a walk and a passed ball put FSU in business with runners on the corners and nobody out. Carly Brieske then chopped a single up the middle scoring pinch runner Tatiana George with the Seminoles’ fifth run of the game. A walk loaded the bases once again with still no outs in the inning. That brought up LaShaun Davis who extended the lead to 7-0 as she singled down the right field line. The Seminoles took advantage of an error to go up 8-0 and a wild pitch put them in from 9-0. van der Linden then doubled to left plating another run and moved FSU into a commanding 10-0 lead. The FSU advantage grew to 11-0 on Lesley Palmer’s sacrifice fly and FIU ended the nightmare fourth on a Wade ground as the Tribe batted around.
Florida State returns to action Tuesday, March 30 as they travel down the road to take on Florida A&M at the Lady Rattler Softball Complex. The single game is scheduled to start at 6:00 p.m. For more information on the 2004 FSU softball team, please log on to the official athletic website of Florida State University at www.seminoles.com.