March 7, 2011
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) – The Florida State University softball team begins a six-game trip away from JoAnne Graf Field as it prepares for matchups at No. 24 Auburn and versus Penn State (in Auburn, Ala.). FSU faces Auburn on Tuesday, March 8, at 6 p.m. ET, followed by a 2 p.m. ET start on Wednesday against Penn State.
The Seminoles (12-8) are coming off a 3-1 performance at last week’s Big Ten/Mountain West/ACC Challenge, where they defeated Wisconsin twice and split with Utah. Leading the way in the four-game slate was catcher/first baseman Jen Lapicki, who went 6-for-12 with one home run, four RBIs and nine RBIs without striking out. Fifth-year senior Robin Ahrberg also went 6-for-12 and added four RBIs last week, and junior Shayla Jackson added five hits, including a double, and two RBIs.
Stepping up in the circle was sophomore pitcher Morgan Bullock, who went 2-0 with a complete-game performance against the Utes on Sunday. Senior Sarah Hamilton finished 1-1 with 15 strikeouts in 12 innings pitched.
Sophomore Tiffani Brown continues to lead the Seminoles in an array of categories, including at-bats (64), runs scored (22), base hits (23), triples (4), total bases (35) and stolen bases (12). As a unit, FSU has swiped 36 of 37 stolen base attempts this season, including a season-high seven in its last victory over Wisconsin.
The nationally-ranked Tigers (17-2) and FSU battled last season in a classic pitcher’s duel on March 18, 2010. In that contest, Hamilton struck out a career-high 20 batters as the Seminoles fell to Auburn, 1-0, in nine innings at JoAnne Graf Field. The Tallahassee native made more history this weekend when she recorded her 800th strikeout on Sunday, making her one of just five pitchers in school history to reach that plateau. She now has 804 for her career.
Auburn is led by Morgan Estell’s .439 batting average, while Kelsey Cartwright is the team leader with four home runs. Auburn is 11-0 at home this season, and is sparked in the circle by the trio of Jenee Loree (4-1), Angel Bunner (5-1) and Lauren Schmalz (8-0).
FSU is 12-6-1 all-time against Auburn, but has lost the last three in the series.
The Nittany Lions (7-5) are batting .197 as a team, led by Mary Ostman’s .316 clip at the plate. Lisa Akamine is PSU’s top pitcher, showing a 3-2 record and a 0.63 ERA in eight appearances. Jackie Hill has started six games and is 4-3 with a 1.58 ERA.
FSU has won eight of nine in the all-time series, including the last contest by an 8-0 score in Tallahassee in 2004.
Fans can follow each and every game this week by accessing CBS GameTracker from the Seminoles.com softball home page. In-game updates will also be posted on FSU softball’s official Twitter account – @fsu_softball.
Following FSU’s next two games, it will travel to Tuscaloosa, Ala., for two games at top-ranked Alabama and versus Mississippi State in this weekend’s Easton SEC/ACC Challenge.