Feb. 16, 2012
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On the heels of a successful five-game stint at the first Seminole Classic of the season, the Florida State University softball team returns to JoAnne Graf Field for another home invitational in the second Seminole Classic this weekend.
This weekend, FSU has a four-game slate beginning with Southern Conference foe Western Carolina starting at approximately 4:45 p.m. on Friday. FSU also has two scheduled contests on Saturday (Coastal Carolina at 12:15 p.m., North Dakota State at 2:30 p.m.), followed by a Sunday wrap-up at 1 p.m. versus Mercer.
The Seminoles (5-0) were given a greater vote of confidence during the week when their receiving votes total increased in both national polls. In the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll, FSU is receiving 19 votes, while tallying 21 votes in the USA Today/NFCA poll.
Promotions for this weekend’s games include more Team-2-Team meet and greets for Saturday’s games. For Sunday’s three games, there will be $1 hot dogs as well as another youth clinic following FSU’s scheduled 1 p.m. matchup against Mercer.
A victory by FSU over Western Carolina on Friday would tie the 2007 squad for the last 6-0 start in school history. By the end of the weekend, FSU will look to be 9-0 for the best start in school history since the 2004 Women’s College World Series squad began the year 11-0.
“This weekend is huge for us,” head coach Lonni Alameda said. “We’ve got a new coaching staff so we’re still figuring things out, and we’ve got seven new faces to the roster. You practice together all fall and you get here for a month in preseason and practice again, but the games are a different beast. You’ve got to learn how to handle the ups and down as well as injuries, but we like what we see and we like where we’re moving right now.”
What was apparent to Seminole fans in the first weekend was that FSU has some talent inside the circle. Perhaps more importantly, FSU has quality depth as well. All four pitchers in Monica Perry, Jessica Nori, Lacey Waldrop and Bailey Schinella showed flashes of brilliance at the first Seminole Classic. Nori threw just 2.1 innings but allowed only one hit while earning a victory in relief versus Ole Miss.
Perry earned a victory in her second start, allowing just one run while striking out three in five innings against Tennessee Tech. She provided some run support with a two-run home run to right field.
Waldrop is on a streak of 10 consecutive hitless innings, showing a 2-0 record with a 1.79 ERA. She defeated Tennessee Tech before throwing her full-game no hitter versus Ole Miss. Schinella provided FSU with an immediate boost against Stephen F. Austin, getting the win in 2.1 relief innings while allowing no runs. She also earned a save in a 5-2 win over Tennessee Tech.
Sophomore centerfielder Courtney Senas led FSU offensively last weekend, going 8-for-16 with four RBIs and four stolen bases. Junior Tiffani Brown displayed her immense speed, stealing seven bases in eight attempts.
FSU will face its first 2011 NCAA Tournament participant of the season in North Dakota State, which represented the Summit League in last year’s championship. The Bison (3-2) began their season at the Fresno State Kickoff last weekend, defeating Long Beach State 8-0 and losing to tournament host Fresno State by just a 1-0 margin.
NDSU is just three years removed from an NCAA Super Regional appearance in the 2009 season, when it defeated Oklahoma and Tulsa twice in the Norman Regional.