March 24, 2011
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) – The Florida State University softball team begins an important conference weekend as it travels to Chapel Hill, N.C., to face UNC on March 26-27 at Anderson Softball Stadium. First pitch for Saturday’s doubleheader is at 1 p.m., followed by another 1 p.m. start on Sunday.
“Every ACC series is crucial. In this league, if you can go out and win a series on the road it can be a huge momentum boost,” head coach Lonni Alameda said. “Chapel Hill can be a tough place to win, but I like how our team has been progressing lately – both hitting and pitching – and I’m looking for us to put all the pieces together and come home from a successful road trip.”
The Seminoles (16-14, 2-1) are coming off a hitting barrage against Florida A&M, producing a season-high 16 base hits in a 9-2 victory on Wednesday. FSU has totaled 26 base hits in its last two games, and has gotten an offensive boost in the bottom of the batting order from senior Kristie McConn and sophomore Kirstin Austin – whom have combined to go 6-for-14 over the last two games.
Robin Ahrberg has experienced a power surge over her last two games, hitting three home runs in her last five at-bats. The Stillwater, Okla., native leads FSU with 23 RBIs and is second with a .367 batting average, 33 base hits and five doubles. Ahrberg is tied with senior Ashley Stager for the team lead with five home runs this season.
In her last six games, Shayla Jackson has gone 11-for-20 (.550) with four doubles and 15 total bases. The consistent junior has raised 56 points in her batting average during that time, and is now hitting .348 with a team-leading nine doubles.
FSU is 53-19 all-time against the Tar Heels (19-12, 2-1), but fell to UNC in a three-game series last year in Tallahassee, 2-1. Two seasons ago, FSU won two games in Chapel Hill and left North Carolina with a key series win on the road. Both teams have faced each other in every season dating back to their early ACC rivalry days in 1994.
North Carolina is led by the hitting of Kelli Wheeler, who is batting .427 with six home runs and 21 RBIs. The Tar Heels are batting .289 as a unit and have hit 25 home runs, with seven coming from Haleigh Dickey. Lori Spingola is one of the top pitchers in the ACC, showing a 15-8 record and a 1.68 ERA in 27 appearances. Overall, UNC has a 2.77 team ERA.
UNC defeated Virginia Tech in two of three games at home last weekend, winning 3-0 and 3-2 in a Saturday doubleheader. The Hokies salvaged the series with a 2-1 victory on Sunday. FSU also went 2-1 in conference play last weekend, defeating N.C. State in two of three games in Raleigh, N.C.
Following the road trip, FSU will come back to Tallahassee to face Mercer in a recently scheduled game at JoAnne Graf Field. Both teams will play a doubleheader next Wednesday, March 30, beginning at 4 p.m. and approximately 6 p.m.
Fans can follow every game on CBS GameTracker, as well as FSU softball’s official Twitter page – @FSU_softball.