By BRIAN LANDMAN, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published May 24, 2002
Florida State senior leftfielder Monique Marier hit a ninth-inning home run, then sealed a stunning 2-1 win over top-ranked UCLA with a diving catch in the opening game Thursday of softball's College World Series.
A No. 8 seed had never beaten the No. 1 seed and FSU had never beaten the nation's top team.
Marier, a former star at Clearwater High, ended both trends.
"She was definitely the hero of the moment," FSU coach JoAnne Graf said in a telephone interview. With the score tied at 1 and two outs in the ninth, Marier fell behind 0-and-2 against UCLA ace Keira Goerl (31-5).
"I thought to focus and key in after I took a pretty big hack at the rise highball," said Marier, who was 0-for-3 with a strikeout to that point. "I just tried to get my bat on the ball."
She did that and some, driving the ball deep down the leftfield line at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City.
"I was running to first thinking, "Oh. It's going to go foul,' " she said. "Then I saw it and I was like, "Oh, my goodness.' "
Entering the double-elimination tournament, Goerl had allowed five home runs and 16 earned runs in 226 innings.
But Marier had more dramatics left in her.
The Bruins (54-7), nine-time NCAA champs, put runners on second and third with two outs against senior Leslie Malerich (34-12). Leftfielder Stephanie Ramos then lined a shot to left. Marier, not known for defense, dived and snagged it for the final out.
"She never catches those in practice," Graf said. "We work on those every single day and she does not catch those. We always tell the kids, "If Mo makes a diving catch, then practice is over.' She hasn't done it all year until just now."
FSU (54-18), ranked No. 21 in the USA Today/National Fastpitch Coaches Association poll and in the World Series for the first time since 1993, plays California at 5 p.m. today on ESPN2. UCLA meets Oklahoma, which lost 4-2 to Cal, in an elimination game Saturday. In other games, Erin Wardein and Kristen Farber hit run-scoring singles in the sixth to rally Arizona State past Michigan 2-1, and Leneah Nanuma hit her NCAA-leading 21st home run as Arizona beat Nebraska 1-0.
SEC TOURNAMENT: Florida lost 7-4 to host Alabama and faces Mississippi State at 3 today in Hoover.
Brent Boyd homered and Chad White had a two-run double for the Tide, which faces the UF-Mississippi State winner Saturday.
Ben Harrison had a two-run double as Florida scored three in the eighth. Brian Reed came in with two out and got his ninth save. Alex Hart allowed five hits and five walks, and took the loss.
In other games, Chad Henry went 3-for-5 with four RBIs and Paul Maholm pitched a complete game as Mississippi State eliminated Georgia 10-3. ... Andrew Wishy went 3-for-5 and had three RBIs as Arkansas eliminated Auburn 8-5.
C-USA TOURNAMENT: East Carolina scored eight in the sixth and seventh innings -- seven unearned -- and dropped USF into the losers' bracket 12-10 in Kinston, N.C.
The Bulls, who committed four errors in the key innings, face TCU in an elimination game at 7:30 tonight. The winner plays East Carolina on Saturday.
The Bulls scored six in the fifth inning to take a 7-1 lead. But John Gorham came out of the bullpen and took the loss, allowing eight runs in the sixth and seventh.
In other games, Chris Osentowski pitched a complete game and TCU eliminated Louisville 8-1, and Brad Sullivan struck out eight in Houston's 7-1 victory over Southern Miss.
ATLANTIC SUN: UCF third baseman Ty Hanson went 4-for-5 with two RBIs and Mike Myers of Dunedin was 2-for-4 with four RBIs as UCF ousted Troy State 12-4 in DeLand. The Golden Knights, who scored 10 in the final three innings, play Stetson at 11 this morning. Stetson defeated Florida Atlantic 3-0 behind Roger Lincoln's six-hitter. In another game, Jacksonville broke a 6-all tie with a five-run ninth and eliminated Samford 11-6. Phil Nover went 4-for-4 with two home runs and five RBI for Jacksonville.
INDIANA: Mike Davis, who led the Hoosiers to the national title game last season, signed a six-year contract. Davis, 46-25 after becoming coach in 2000, is guaranteed at least $800,000 per year for the first three years of the contract and $900,000 the last three years. He joins Iowa's Steve Alford as the fourth-highest paid coach in the Big Ten.
NICHOLLS STATE: Ricky Blanton, a star on LSU's Final Four team in 1986, was hired as coach.
FLORIDA: Jessica Lehnhoff beat seventh-seeded Jewel Peterson of Southern California 2-6, 6-4, 7-5 to reach the semifinals of the NCAA women's tournament. Lehnhoff faces Stanford's Gabriela Lastra at noon today. The other semifinal features top-seeded Bea Bielik of Wake Forest against Stanford's Erin Burdette. Lehnhoff and sophomore Lindsay Dawaf defeated Vanderbilt's Sarah Riske and Aleke Tsoubanos to reach the semifinals of the NCAA doubles championships, where they face top-seeded Lastra and Lauren Kalvaria of Stanford. ... Chris McDonald and freshman Hamid Mirzadeh of Florida lost in the first round of the NCAA men's doubles championship, 6-2, 6-2 to Illinois' Michael Calkins and Amer Delic. Advancing to the second round in singles were Matais Boeker of Georgia, Thomas Schneiter of UNLV, Harsh Mankad of Minnesota and Southern Cal's Nick Rainey.
The SEC said its role was to ensure the university complied with NCAA regulations. The letter didn't assess the accuracy of the original allegations.
In other news, receiver Michael Collins, a redshirt freshman who is fifth on the depth chart, will transfer.
VANDERBILT: The Nov. 23 game against Tennessee was moved from Vanderbilt Stadium to Adelphia Coliseum. Adelphia has a 68,500-seat capacity, 27,360 more than Vanderbilt Stadium.
GOLF: Duke's Virada Nirapathpongporn shot 2-under-par 70 to take a three-stroke lead after the third round of the women's championship in Auburn, Wash. The sophomore from Thailand had totaled 9-under 207 on the 6,273-yard Washington National Golf Course. Arizona took a two-stroke lead over Texas in the team competition at 10-over 874. VOLLEYBALL: Teresa McLamb of Brevard Community College was named coach at St. Petersburg College. Maggie Koop resigned in March after a third consecutive state tournament berth.
WOMEN'S HOCKEY: Passed over for the Wisconsin men's coaching job in March, 1980 Olympic star Mark Johnson was hired as coach of the women's team. He is the son of former Wisconsin and NHL coach Bob Johnson.
OBITUARY: Paul Giel, a runner-up for the Heisman Trophy, major-league pitcher and a two-sport star at the University of Minnesota who became the school's athletic director, died Wednesday.
Giel, who collapsed in his car in Minneapolis, was 69. The cause of death was not known. A funeral service was scheduled for Wednesday in Minneapolis.
Giel, a two-time All-American in football, finished second in the 1953 Heisman Trophy balloting to Notre Dame's Johnny Lattner. He also was Big Ten MVP.
Giel also earned All-America honors in baseball and pitched for four major-league teams, including the Twins in their first season, from 1954-61.
-- Information from Times wires was used in this report.