March 4, 2011
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) – The Florida State University softball team prepares for another difficult nonconference slate as it faces both Wisconsin and Utah in this weekend’s conference challenge at JoAnne Graf Field.
The Seminoles (9-7) begin the weekend with a matchup against the Badgers (4-2) on Saturday, March 5, at 1 p.m., followed by a game against the Utes (6-11) at 3 p.m. On Sunday, FSU plays Utah first at 11 a.m., followed by the Wisconsin matchup at approximately 1 p.m.
“As a program we are very excited to face two great teams in Wisconsin and Utah,” head coach Lonni Alameda said. “We have learned a ton over the last three weekends and are ready to play some ball. This is a very long season and we have to get better every time we get out on the field. This weekend is another opportunity for us to do that. We are also very happy to play at home in front of our own crowd. I’m looking forward to seeing what we’re capable of this weekend.”
Fans are invited to come to the second Dugout Club Social on Saturday night at 6 p.m. at the Varsity Club, located on the fourth floor of the Moore Center. For information on supporting the Seminole softball squad and becoming a Dugout Club member, visit www.seminole-boosters.fsu.edu or call (850) 644-3484.
This weekend is also Parent’s Weekend, providing fans an opportunity to meet the parents of Seminole softball student-athletes. Also, the first 100 fans to Saturday’s game receive free popcorn, and Sunday features $1 hot dogs and an autograph signing at the end of FSU’s second game.
Adding to the game festivities is the Team-2-Team program, where youth teams are encouraged to come out to the ballgames and have a chance to interact with both the Seminoles and their opponent.
FSU picked up two quality wins at last week’s Cathedral City Classic in Palm Springs, Calif., which featured several of the nation’s top teams. The Seminoles defeated then-No. 25 BYU, 6-4, as well as Long Beach State, 4-1. Senior shortstop Ashley Stager sparked FSU at the plate by going 6-for-13 with three home runs, five RBIs, three runs scored and a 1.154 slugging percentage in five games. She is now tied for eighth place on FSU’s career home run list with 16, joining Shamalene Wilson (1993-96) and Lesley Palmer (2003-05).
Stager is currently third on the team with a .325 batting average. Sophomore Tiffani Brown has gotten off to a hot start with a .392 clip (20-for-51), four triples, 20 base hits and 10 stolen bases. Fifth-year senior Robin Ahrberg is batting .326 with two home runs and 10 RBIs, which ties Stager and freshman Courtney Senas for the team lead.
Alameda is looking to reach her 100th career victory as an FSU head coach this weekend, showing a 97-41 record since coming to Tallahassee in 2009. She recently reached the 250-win plateau in her head coaching career in a win over Middle Tennessee State on Feb. 18.
For FSU, the magic offensive number seems to be six. The Seminoles are 6-0 this season when scoring six or more runs, but are 3-7 when scoring five or less runs. FSU is 2-1 against Top 25 opponents this season, splitting two games against 24th-ranked Kentucky before taking down BYU last week.
The Utes have faced their fare share of Top 25 teams this season, going 1-6 against ranked opponents. Their lone victory comes against Arizona State, 3-1. Junior infielder Tia Palauni is batting an impressive .593 in 10 games played, while Tara Glover’s .298 mark leads the everyday starters. Senior Brittany Parker’s 3.00 ERA is first on the team. Generra Nielson has started 11 games for the Utes.
Wisconsin comes to JoAnne Graf Field with a 4-2 record this season. The Badgers participated in the Texas Invitational to start the season, losing to Texas and Missouri State. Wisconsin defeated Missouri State, Colorado State twice and Texas State.
Senior outfielder Jennifer Krueger leads the Badgers with a .500 batting average (8-for-16) through the team’s first six games. Ashley Hanewich already has three home runs, freshman pitcher Cassandra Darrah is 2-0 with a 1.59 ERA in the circle.
FSU is a combined 4-8 versus both Utah and Wisconsin. The Seminoles are 2-1 all-time against the Badgers, but are 2-7 against the Utes. The Seminoles last played Utah in 2005, falling 8-5 on the road. They last beat the Utes by a 2-1 score in 1998.
Wisconsin and FSU last played in a two-game set in 2000, with the Seminoles coming out on top in both games. The Badgers won in the 1997 season.
Fans can follow all of this weekend’s action by logging on to the Seminoles.com softball home page and accessing CBS GameTracker.