April 13, 2001
Florida State's Jen White-Stokes climbed six spots in the national ERA statistics (from No. 11 to No. 5) as she dropped her ERA from 0.53 to 0.46 after going 3-0 this past weekend. The right-hander from Tuttle, OK garnered ACC and SASA Pitcher of the Week honors after posting a 0.00 ERA in three consecutive wins over North Carolina, Florida Atlantic and East Carolina. She is joined by FSU starters Leslie Malerich (No. 18 with an 0.69 ERA) and Jessica van der Linden (No. 35 with an 0.91 ERA) in the NCAA's national ERA leaders. Van der Linden moved up seven spots this week from her 42nd ranking last week. Serita Brooks is up to No. 8 in the nation in stolen bases with 0.77/gm. She moved up from 11th after increasing her average by a half a steal per game in just one week.
As a team, FSU is still amongst the nation's leaders in ERA, batting average and won-loss percentage. The Seminoles currently have the country's third-best pitching staff with a cumulative ERA of just 0.68 and are only behind No. 9 DePaul (0.61) and No. 2 Arizona (0.60). The Noles currently own the nation's eighth-best winning percentage (.848) and they are ranked 14th in batting with a team average of .300. Arizona is the only school in the country to be ranked ahead of Florida State in all three categories.
FAST IN THE 40
When Florida State downed FAMU 6-0 Wednesday night for its 40th win in 46 tries this season, it marked the quickest the Noles have reached the 40-win plateau since the 1993 season when the team won 40 of its first 45 games. That 1993 squad was the last Florida State team to make it to the College World Series and no FSU team had reached 40-wins in less than 52 games between 1993 and 2001. Only two Seminole teams have reached the 40-win mark quicker than the 2001 squad occasions (1993 and 1986) since FSU switched to fast pitch softball.
23 versus 23
As the Seminoles enter the final 15 games of the 2001 regular season, it is interesting to see how much has changed and how much has stayed the same in the first half of the season versus the second half. Despite the fact that the Seminoles posted almost identical first half (20-3) and second half records (19-4), there are quite a few differences when you take a closer at the stats individually and collectively.
NOBODY has turned her season around more than Jen White-Stokes. White-Stokes started the season with a 5-2 record and a 0.73 ERA while hitting .293 at the plate with three RBI. While those numbers are very respectable, they are nothing compared to what White-Stokes has done over the last 23 games. She has raised her average to .375 (82 percentage points), knocked in 16 RBI (compared to three in the first half) and now has an on-base percentage of .403 (up from .326). What White-Stokes has done on the mound is even more impressive. Over the last 23 games, she has gone 9-0 with an amazing 0.22 ERA in 12 appearances. White-Stokes has also doubled her shutouts (three in the first half versus six in the second half) and allowed just two earned runs versus six in the first half.
Robyn Gauger has also been a force during the second half of 2001. The Seminole first baseman has raised her average 98 percentage points (from .235 to .333) and hit two triples and two homers (she didn't have a triple or homer over the first half of the season) during the last 23 games. In limited action, catcher Elisa Velasco has made the biggest jump of any Seminole. Over the first 23 games of the season, Velasco hit .080 in 25 at bats. In the last 23 games (19 at bats), Velasco is hitting .526 and her second half average is 446 percentage points higher than her first half average. She has two doubles compared to none in the first half, she is now slugging .632 compared to .080 and she has raised her on base percentage from .115 to .591. Velasco also has five RBI in the second half compared to just one to start the year.
As a team, the Seminoles are hitting 39 percentage points higher in the second half (.319 versus .280), have scored 23 more runs, hit twice as many home runs (8 versus 4), have 16 more RBI (99 compared to 83) and have a slugging percentage that is 67 percentage points higher than that of the first half of the season (.367 compared to .434). The Seminoles have also raised their on base percentage from .354 to .374 and went from stealing 29 bases on 32 attempts to stealing 40 bases on 41 attempts.
FAR FROM HOME BUT NEAR THE PLATE
The Seminoles are currently in the midst of a 14 game road trip and have compiled a record of 8-2 so far. FSU has shown an offensive flare on their extended stay away from the Seminole Softball Complex by scoring 43 runs and allowing only 10 while shutting out their opponents in five of the games on this streak away from home.
On the season, the Noles are shutting out opposing teams 54% of the time. The FSU pitching staff is on a remarkable pace with 26 shutouts already in 2001. The team record for one season is 46 and that was set in 1992. Although it would be tough to reach 46 with only 15 regular season games remaining, it is possible with ACC Tournament and NCAA Tournament play. The Seminoles staff does however seem to be on pace to post the lowest ERA for a season since Florida State switched to fast pitch softball.
SHE JUST MIGHT HAVE
Legendary Seminole coach Dr. JoAnne Graf is just 30 victories away from becoming the winningest coach in Division I softball history. Coach Graf currently has 1095 victories and trails Cal State Fullerton's Judi Garman who has 1124 wins. IF the Seminoles sweep their last 15 games, then win the ACC Tournament, and advance through the regionals to the College World Series, Graf might have been celebrating her third national championship as the winningest coach in softball history had four or more games not been canceled due to weather.
THAT'S A FIRST
In 22 and 2/3 seasons of softball, the Seminoles have played 141different teams, yet this season FSU will face nine teams they have never played before. Two of those nine will come during this weekend's road trip through Alabama. FSU has never faced the University of Alabama-Birmingham or Jacksonville State who they will face in back-to-back doubleheaders Saturday and Sunday.
ODDS & ENDS
Brandi Stuart and Serita Brooks, the middle of the Seminoles defense, have also been two of the most important forces at the plate this season. Brooks and Stuart have combined for 30 multiple hit games this season. They have combined for 25 two-hit games and five three-hit games...coming into the 2001 season, not many people would have looked at this FSU squad and guessed two pitchers, one current and the other past, would be leading the team in multiple RBI games. Senior Robyn Gauger and freshman Jessica van der Linden each have six games with more than one RBI including six games with three or more...with as many great returning starters as FSU has in 2001, freshman back-up catcher Elisa Velasco has the longest hitting streak of the year (8)...one key to the Seminoles success in 2001 is the fact that they have outscored opponents 61-5 in the first two innings and 146-19 in the first four innings of games this year.