May 4, 2001
A live stats webcast of Saturday's doubleheader with Maryland will be available at www.seminoles.com.
NCAAs Here We Come
For the 14th time in the past 15 seasons, the Seminoles are headed to the postseason after clinching the Southern Atlantic Softball Alliance championship. It didn't take long for Florida State to learn they had clinched a spot in the 2001 NCAA Tournament after completing a sweep over then second place Virginia. The Seminoles just needed this weekend's opponent, Maryland, to drop one of its final six SASA games to clinch a ticket to regionals. After the Tar Heels downed the Terps 2-0 Saturday, FSU was on its way to another NCAA Tournament. The Seminoles have earned a trip to the post-season every year since 1986 with the just one exception (Maryland in 1999). Florida State was a runner-up in last season's West Regional and is looking to advance to the College World Series for the first time since 1993. FSU has made five trips to the College World Series and has advanced out of a Louisiana or Tallahassee regional every time (Tallahassee twice and Lafayette, LA three times). The FSU department of athletics has submitted a bid to host a regional and two Louisiana teams are ranked in the top twenty this week. LSU is No. 4 and Louisiana-Lafayette is No. 20).
A Dance of One
When Florida State punched their ticket to the NCAA Tournament last weekend, it became the first team in the nation to clinch an NCAA bid. Since the Southern Atlantic Softball Alliance doesn't have a conference tournament, the regular season champion garners the automatic bid. The SASA is the only conference in the country that gives an automatic bid to the regular season champion. Every other conference will award its bid after the tournament and most don't start until this weekend. FSU is the lone NCAA Tournament team right now.
Team Overall SASA vs. FSU ACC Florida State* 51-8 7-1 na 5-1 North Carolina 34-17-1 7-3 0-2 6-2 Virginia 51-15 5-5 0-2 4-4 Maryland 37-19 3-5 0-0 1-5 Georgia Tech 23-26 2-6 1-1 2-6 East Carolina 47-22 2-6 0-2 na *Clinched SASA title
Records Are Falling
As the Seminoles near the end of the 2001 campaign, there are quite a few personal milestones, as well as team goals, that the team has already established or is close to setting. When senior pitcher Jen White-Stokes took the mound against Florida April 18, she became FSU's all-time leader in appearances by a pitcher (126). In just two seasons at Florida State, Serita Brooks is already third on the all-time list for stolen bases with 83. Monique Marier and Jessica van der Linden are each just five doubles shy of breaking the single season record set by Cindy Lawton in 1995 (16). Marier is also just 13 RBI away from breaking the single season record set in 1992 by Penny Siqueiros (49).
The team is also chasing the all-time best single season winning percentage in school history. The 2001 Seminoles have a .862 winning percentage and are chasing the .875 mark set by the 1984 and 1992 squads. This year's team is also tied with the 1995 and 1997 teams for being shutout the fewest times in a season (2). FSU has already established the record for the most doubles in a season with 75, which eclipses the previous mark of 71, set by the 1999 squad. Speaking of extra base hits, this year's team is only six home runs and 40 RBI away from breaking the records set by the 1992 team (23 and 288). The 2001 Noles are also just five percentage points away from setting the mark for the highest batting average in the program's history (.316).
The Noles pitching staff is also just 11 shutouts away from tying the 1992 squad for the most shutouts in a single season by a Florida State team (41).
Finally 10...then 11
After putting together four nine-game winning streaks, the Seminoles finally got over the hump and set a new season-long winning streak (11) last weekend. FSU was on an eight game tear when 49-13 Virginia came to town last Saturday. As well as the Cavaliers had been playing, it wouldn't have been a huge shock if Florida State had to settle for another nine game streak but the Seminoles sweep of UVa broke the season record. The 10 game streak then became 11 with the Seminoles opening win in their doubleheader with Troy State. The Noles now have winning streaks of six games, nine games (three times) and 11 games on the season. The longest winning streak in FSU history is 32 games and was set in 1985.
You Thought She Was Good Last Year!
Junior Leslie Malerich had an unbelievable season for the Seminoles last year but an argument can be made that she is an even better pitcher this season. She is currently 19-2 with a team-leading 0.70 ERA and 10 shutouts. Malerich has gotten help in the rotation from senior Jen White-Stokes and freshman Jessica van der Linden so she isn't called on to pitch three tournament games in a single day like last year. Her numbers in 2001 are simply amazing compared to 2000. Malerich has pitched about half as many innings so far this season (150 compared to 323) but if you double this year's numbers and compare them to last year the difference is startling.
2000 2001 Appearances 58 51 Starts 41 50 Wins 35 41 Runs Allowed 84 50 Earned Runs 56 32 Hits 222 174 2B Allowed 26 17 ERA 1.21 0.70 Complete Games 37 41 Shutouts 16 21 Strikeouts 243 254 Opp. Average .194 .157
Movin' On Up
After sweeping then second place Virginia and locking up a bid to the NCAA Tournament, the Seminoles saw their status in the national statistical rankings raised after 8-0 and 10-2 five inning wins over the Cavaliers. FSU moved from the nation's sixth best winning percentage to No. 4 (.875) and from eighth in batting average to No. 6 (.314). Although the Seminole pitching staff fell out of first place, they are still tied for second in the nation with a 0.71 ERA. Serita Brooks still ranks among the nation's top base stealers. She is currently 16th in the country with a 0.74 steals per game average. With just one week left in the regular season, No.1 Arizona is still the only school in the country that ranks ahead of FSU in win/loss percentage, pitching and hitting.
FSU & The ACC's
If the Seminoles are able to win at least one game against the University of Maryland this weekend, they will lock up the No. 1 seed for the 2001 ACC Softball Championships in Raleigh, NC May 11-13. FSU has won eight of nine ACC titles since joining the conference and they have currently won the last six titles in a row. If the Noles are able to clinch the regular season title, it will mark the eighth time that they have accomplished that feat. If you are interested in the 2001 ACC Tournament, please visit the softball page at www.seminoles.com and look for the tournament link on the right side of the page.