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FSU star is voted U.S. best in softball

wire services
Published May 27, 2004

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. - Florida State senior Jessica van der Linden won the highest individual honor in college softball at the World Series opening ceremonies Wednesday night.

The pitcher-outfielder was named USA Softball's 2004 National Collegiate Player of the Year. She is just the third recipient of the award.

"It is so exciting, but this is just as much my team's award as it is my award," van der Linden said. "I need a defense behind me and our hitters to come through for this to happen. It belongs to the catchers. This is all because of my teammates and I want to thank them for this."

In the regional tournament at Tallahassee that qualified the Seminoles for the World Series, the senior went 3-1 with a 0.24 ERA in 29 innings of work. She allowed one run and eight hits while striking out 38. She also led FSU hitting with a .462 average, four RBIs and a .611 on-base percentage.

SEC BASEBALL: Jonathan Tucker opened the 10th inning with a triple and scored on a wild pitch to lift Florida to a 5-4 victory over No. 3 seed LSU in the opening game of the Southeastern Conference tournament at Hoover, Ala. The sixth-seeded Gators (39-18) face the Vanderbilt-Georgia winner today. Reliever Darren O'Day (8-1) pitched 22/3 scoreless innings, giving up two hits. Tucker went 2-for-4 with a double and two runs scored.

NCAA TENNIS: Baylor won its first men's title, defeating UCLA 4-0 for its fifth shutout in six matches at the national championships in Tulsa, Okla. Baylor (32-2) is the first Big 12 Conference team to win the title.

ARKANSAS: The nonprofit Razorback Foundation was dismissed from a discrimination lawsuit filed by former Arkansas basketball coach Nolan Richardson.

U.S. District Judge William R. Wilson said there was insufficient evidence that the foundation and the university were Richardson's joint employer. The foundation is a fund-raising arm of the athletic department.

Wilson also threw out much of the foundation's counterclaims against Richardson, though he said it can pursue claims that Richardson has not sought employment as his contract requires. The foundation is paying off Richardson's $7.21-million contract at $500,000 a year through June 2008.

COLORADO: University president Betsy Hoffman has decided to reinstate suspended football coach Gary Barnett, the Rocky Mountain News reported. It said no other changes are planned for the athletic department, which will be more closely monitored by the university.

The school said only that it had scheduled a news conference for today to discuss "decisions related to the athletic department and football program."

Hoffman placed Barnett on paid administrative leave Feb. 18 after comments he made about some of the nine women who have alleged that they were sexually assaulted by Colorado football players or recruits since 1997.

NORTH CAROLINA: Daytona Beach Mainland running back Vince Wilson was signed. The 5-foot-9, 190-pounder rushed for nearly 2,000 yards as a senior and was ranked one of the top 50 players in the country by Rivals.com. He only recently qualified academically, a school spokesman said.

OKLAHOMA STATE: The Cowboys, coming off their second Final Four appearance under coach Eddie Sutton, announced that his son, Sean, now associate head coach, would take the helm when his father decides to retire.

SSC: Sunshine State Conference commissioner Don Landry announced his retirement effective Aug. 1. He served for 10 years.

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