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Postseason Media Guide For No. 10 FSU Softball On-Line
Check out the 2003 FSU Softball NCAA Regional Postseason media guide on the web.

Check out the 2003 FSU Softball NCAA Regional Postseason media guide on the web.

May 13, 2003

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When Florida State was invited as an at-large team to participate in the 2003 NCAA Tournament, it marked the 16th time in 22 years the Seminoles advanced to tournament play. This is the fourth straight year the Tribe has played in the NCAA Tournament and the 11th time in the last 13 years. Florida State is sixth All-Time in NCAA Regional appearances and ninth all-time in NCAA Regional victories with 29. Florida State's all-time record in NCAA Regionals in 29-20 for a .592 winning percentage. The Tribe enters the Region 4 Tournament looking to advance to its fourth straight regional championship. This will be the seventh time the Seminoles have played in a regional in Florida but the previous six times were all in Tallahassee. The Seminoles have faced four of the seven teams in the Region 4 Tournament in past NCAA Tournaments and have a 5-1 record in those games. The only loss came against Oklahoma in a 3-1 game in 1994 played in Stillwater. FSU is 2-0 against USF (1996 Regional), 1-0 versus BCC (2000), 1-0 against Florida (2000) and 1-0 versus FAU (2000). This is the second time in three years that FSU has been in a regional with Florida, Florida Atlantic and Bethune-Cookman.

There are a number of similarities between the 2001 and 2003 seasons when it comes the Florida/Florida State rivalry. The teams have played seven doubleheaders in seven years and have split on five occasions. The only two regular season sweeps were by Florida State in 2001 and 2003 and both of those seasons the teams were sent to the same NCAA Tournament regional site. Considering the fact that FSU and UF have only been sent to the same regional twice in school history makes it more coincidental. In 2001, Florida traveled to Tallahassee where they were eliminated by FSU 6-2 marking the first ever 3-0 record posted by either team in a single season in series history. The teams are not going to face each other in the opening round of the 2003 Region 4 Tournament but they are on a collision course for a meeting in round No. 2. If FSU is able to get past UTA and Florida advances past Oregon State, the teams will meet at 2:30 p.m. Friday afternoon. That meeting would give FSU its second opportunity in three years to go 3-0 versus Florida.

Despite having games rained out versus Arizona State and potential meetings against ranked teams at the NFCA Leadoff Classic, the Tribe ended up playing a pretty difficult schedule when it comes to NCAA Tournament teams. Florida State played 19 games versus 15 NCAA Regional teams and posted an 11-8 record in those games. On top of that, they outscored their opponents in NCAA Regional games 61-33. Eight of FSU's nine losses in 2003 have come against teams in the 2003 NCAA Tournament including No. 1 national seed Arizona and FSU has won their last eight games versus teams that made the tournament. The worst lose FSU experienced against a tournament team was 3-0 at the hands of Louisiana-Lafayette. The only two other times FSU was shutout by a tourney team were 2-0 losses to Arizona and Region 4 opponent Oregon State.

Just as one would expect, National Player of the Year Finalist Jessica van der Linden is leading the team with a .311 average, 16 hits, 21 walks, a .529 on base percentage and a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage. Her 21 walks are nearly double the 11 walks Tatiana George has accumulated, which is second on the team. She is also 5-3 in the circle with 80 strikeouts and a 6 to 1 strikeout to walk ratio. Although sophomore Casey Hunter is just 5-6 in these games, her record doesn't even come close to doing her justice. The Millstadt, IL native's 0.81 ERA and .153 opponent's batting average are closer to telling the tale of how she has pitched against FSU's best competition. Elisa Vasquez has also been huge in big games against the Tribe's opponents who qualified for Regionals. She leads the squad with 11 RBIs, a triple and nine runs scored and she is second with 15 hits, two home runs, 25 total bases and a .490 slugging percentage.

With it's No. 2 seed, 27-game winning streak and ACC Title in hand, FSU finished off the 2003 regular season firmly entrenched as the No. 1 team in the south region. The Seminoles posted a 26-1 record against south region opponents and the only loss came in the second game of the season as the Tribe finished with a 25 game winning streak in the region. Not only did the Seminoles rack-up when it came to wins but they also dominated statistically. In 27 regional games, FSU outscored its opponents 160-21. The team batted .312 and finished with a team ERA of 0.65. Five everyday starters batted over .300 and two batted over .400. The team hit .312 and the staff held opposing hitters to a miniscule .130 average. The Tribe also allowed only 12 stolen bases in 28 attempts.

When FSU went up to Atlanta and swept 2003 NCAA Regional team Georgia Tech in the team's regular season finale, the talk of the weekend was Tatiana George and her two home runs. The sophomore shortstop hit two out of the park in back-to-back games, which doubled her career total. Those two HR's came in just four at bats whereas she needed 352 at bats for the first two homers of her career. Before the buzz could even die down about George, Lesley Palmer topped her. The hard-hitting third baseman came into the 2003 ACC Tournament with three homers in 2003 in 102 at bats. The Dale City, VA native needed just four at bats as she homered in three consecutive ACC Tournament games and doubled her season total. On top of the three homers, Palmer hit .800, scored four runs, knocked in five RBIs, slugged 2.600 and was on base 83% of the time. She was rewarded with tournament MVP honors for her dominating weekend.

Florida State is one of the most successful programs in the history of the sport. With six WCWS appearances, 16 NCAA Regionals, more than 1,200 wins and records for consecutive WCWS, consecutive Regionals and Regional wins there is little doubt about that. The team has never been known for hitting home runs though. The school record for home runs in a season at FSU is 33. Arizona's Lovie Jung has 24 herself this season. That is why it is so surprising that Florida State hit so many homers at the 2003 ACC tournament and utilized the long ball in every win. In just three games, FSU set the ACC Tournament record for home runs by a team with six and the record for HR's in a single game with three versus UVa. The previous record was two. Overall, there were 11 bombs hit out of the Seminole Softball Complex last weekend. Lesley Palmer's three long balls were also a tournament record. Elisa Vasquez's homer in the first UVa game was part of a seven-run explosion in the second that also established a new ACC Tournament record for runs scored in a frame. After the first Palmer homer, Beth Wade's two-run shot allowed FSU to run-rule the Cavs in their tourney opener. Versus Georgia Tech, Palmer's two-run shot staked the Seminoles to a 2-0 lead. Then in the finale, Palmer evened the game 2-2 with another two-run homer and Shundra Colzie set up the run-rule with her two-run HR.

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