TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – On a crisp, sunny afternoon at JoAnne Graf Field, the Florida State softball team gathered at “The GATE” again to officially begin the 2016 season. There have been countless hours of individual and group work in the batting cage, on the field and in the weight room leading up to this, but Monday marked the first day that all 24 members of the 2016 Seminole squad were on the field together to start the regular season.
“We are really excited to get started and to see the growth of this team throughout the season,” said FSU head coach Lonni Alameda. “We lost some quality leaders from last year’s team in Bailey, Lacey and Maddie, and there are a lot of new faces, but we have already started to work together, beginning in the fall, to become one unit and family.
“The season is going to be a marathon and how the team looks right now will not be how they are at the end of the season. We have put together a challenging regular season schedule that will prepare us for long run in the postseason.”
The Seminoles return 12 players from the 2015 squad that finished 49-14 on the season and earned the ACC Championship for the second year in row. FSU also reached the NCAA Super Regional round for the third consecutive season and ranked No. 10 in the final poll by both the National Fastpitch Coaches Association and USA Softball.
The 2015 ACC Tournament MVP Jessica Burroughs returns to lead a Seminole pitching staff with several new members. Burroughs, a redshirt junior, went 19-6 last year with a 2.08 ERA and 219 strikeouts and sophomore Korina Rosario tossed just 1.0 inning last season as a freshman. There will be three new pitchers in the circle with redshirt freshman Meghan King and true freshmen Tessa Daniels and Abby Evans.
Jessica Warren looks to build on a freshman season where she lead the team with 19 home runs and 57 RBI and was named the 2015 ACC Freshman of the Year. Outfielder Morgan Klaevemann posted a team-high .393 batting average as a freshman in 2015 and recorded a 26-game hitting streak from March 25 to May 17 – the second-longest in FSU history and tied for No. 24 in NCAA history.
There are 12 new players for the 2016 team, with two redshirt freshmen, one junior transfer and nine true freshmen. The new Noles are from all over the country with five from Florida (Deja Bush, Megan McReynolds, Carsyn Gordon, Sabrina Stutsman and King), three from Georgia (Cali Harrod, Daniels and Evans), two from Virginia (Sydney Broderick and Mia Lacy) and one each from North Carolina (Jasmine Palmer) and California (Zoe Casas).
The 2016 regular season schedule will be one of the most challenging in recent memory as the Seminoles will play a total of seven games against four teams that finished in the top five of the final 2015 NFCA poll and will face eight teams that were ranked at the end of the season.
The Noles will open the 2016 season with the FIU Invitational on February 12-14 in Miami, Fla. Florida State will play its first games at home on JoAnne Graf Field on February 19-21, hosting the inaugural ACC/Big Ten Challenge as No. 2 Michigan and No. 15 Minnesota come to town, along with Virginia Tech. FSU will also have two-game series with No. 1 Florida and No. 3 Auburn and will hit the road for games at No. 5 UCLA, No. 16 UCF and No. 25 Notre Dame.
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