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Well-armed 'Noles head to World Series

Senior Jessica van der Linden pitches consecutive complete games to stop Oregon.

ZACHARY SPAIN
Published May 24, 2004

TALLAHASSEE - Forgive Jessica van der Linden for neglecting to keep track of the time.

The Florida State senior pitched 13 consecutive innings - two complete games - against Oregon in the region's championship round Sunday. The second game, a 2-0 victory, gave her Seminoles the region title and a berth in the eight-team College World Series in Oklahoma City.

FSU, the No. 4 seed, plays No. 5 Cal at 9:30 p.m. on Thursday.

"Throughout the game, I didn't know what inning it was," said van der Linden, who was named the region's most valuable player. "I already had it in my head that it didn't matter. I was going to go until we were done."

The Ducks (42-21), in the losers' bracket of the double-elimination tournament after a 5-4 12-inning loss to FSU on Saturday, forced the deciding game with a 1-0 win earlier Sunday.

The decision to stay with van der Linden in the title game wasn't difficult for coach JoAnne Graf.

"The question was just if she was okay to go in the second game, and she was okay," said Graf, who is taking FSU to its seventh World Series and the second in three years. "So we rode her all the way to the World Series."

Van der Linden (28-7), a finalist for USA Softball player of the year, gave up two hits in each game. When it appeared she might be tiring in the fourth in Game 2 - the Ducks had started hitting line drives - van der Linden struck out four straight in the fifth and sixth. In the seventh, she struck out Kristi Leiter to end the game.

"She seemed like she improved as the game went along," Oregon first baseman Beth Boskovich said.

Boskovich scored the Ducks' winning run in the first game, avoiding catcher Elisa Vasquez's tag on Dani Baird's fourth-inning single.

It wasn't until the third inning of Game 2 that FSU (61-10) took the lead. Natasha Jacob hit a soaring fly ball over a shallow outfield and into the gap in right-center, scoring LaShaun Davis.

"Jacob was outstanding against us all weekend," Ducks coach Kathy Arendsen said. Jacob also drove in Veronica Wootson for the second run two innings later with a two-out single up the middle.

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