May 20, 2002
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The remarkable run of the ACC champion Georgia Tech softball team (52-18) came to an end Sunday, as Florida State defeated the Jackets, 6-1, in a NCAA Regional title game at the Seminole Softball Complex. With the victory, FSU advances to its sixth Women’s College World Series and first since 1993.
Much like game one, the Seminoles jumped out front in the first. A triple to center by Jessica van der Linden scored catcher Kimmy Carter, who started the rally with a single to center. Brandi Stuart swiped second after an intentional pass to put runners on second and third, but Tech starter Jessica Sallinger got the final two outs to sneak out of the inning with minimal damage.
FSU scored again in the bottom of the second, as van der Linden plated two more with a bases-loaded double to left field. Tatiana George and Shundra Colzie scored on the play, giving the Seminoles a 3-0 lead.
Center fielder Sara Wissmann got the Jackets on the board in the top of the fifth with a solo shot to right field. The home run was her fourth of the season. Designated player Tasha Waugh followed that up with a double to left, chasing FSU starter Leslie Malerich from the game and ending a streak of 21 consecutive innings tossed on Sunday. She started all three starts for FSU and allowed just three hits and one earned run four innings of the deciding game.
van der Linden then came in from center to pitch and retired to first three batters she faced to get out of the inning. She tossed three scoreless frames to earn her first save of the season. Malerich improved to 33-12 with the win.
The Seminoles bounced right back in the bottom of the inning, extending the margin to 6-1 on a bases-loaded, two-out triple to left by Carter. The blow chased Sallinger from the game. She went 4.2 innings and allowed three earned runs on seven hits and seven walks (three intentional). Erin Voeltz tossed 1.1 innings of hitless ball in relief.
The ACC Rookie of the Year, Sallinger concludes an outstanding freshman campaign with a 28-9 record.
The three earned runs mark the most allowed by Sallinger since giving up three at Jacksonville State on April 20. She had not allowed four earned runs since a 5-4 loss to Arizona State on March 8. The Sun Devils secured a spot in the World Series on Sunday.
The Jackets’ season concludes after posting program records for overall and conference wins. Tech also captured its first-ever ACC title and made its inaugural trip to a NCAA Regional.