Feb. 11, 2001
Tallahassee, FL — The 17th-ranked Florida State softball team improved to 6-1 in 2001 and captured the first-ever Tomahawk Bash title as they sent Florida International University to their first loss of the season. FSU, behind junior Leslie Malerich’s third complete game of the season, defeated the Golden Panthers (8-1) 3-2 Sunday afternoon and completed the tournament with a 4-1 record.
“I am really excited for our team,” said head coach JoAnne Graf. “FIU is playing great softball right now and they came into this game averaging around six runs a game in the tournament. I think Leslie did a great job holding them to just two runs today.”
Malerich, from Merrillville, IN, is off to the best start of her Seminole career after her third straight victory. Against FIU Sunday, Malerich struck out nine batters and allowed only one walk in the 3-2 victory. She has now pitched 21 innings, struck out 20 batters, has an ERA of 0.35, allowed only five walks and is holding opposing batters to a .134 average this season.
The Seminoles took a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Kimmy Carter’s double to left center scored Serita Brooks. It was Carter’s fourth RBI of the season and Brooks’ fifth run scored. FSU extended its lead to 2-0 in the second inning when senior Natalie Bennett’s single plated Brandi Stuart.
FIU evened the game in the fourth inning when outfielder Lesley Gillen knocked a two-run double to left center. The game didn’t remain tied for long. In the bottom of the fourth the Noles took the lead for good. Stuart and Julie Jordan led the inning off with back-to-back singles and Stuart advanced to third on a Bennett sacrifice. Stuart then scored the winning run on an error by FIU second baseman Kristen Perry.
The Seminoles 6-1 start is their best start since the 1998 squad began the season at 11-1 and they will return to play Friday, February 16 at 6:00 p.m. when they open the Sunshine State Tournament against Kent State at the Seminole Softball Complex. All games are free to the public and Sunshine State Tournament action will take place all weekend long.