TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – After just over seven months, it is finally time for the Florida State softball program to get back on the diamond and get the 2017 season started. As three-time defending champions of the ACC, four-time defending ACC regular season champions and finishing as NCAA semifinalists at the 2016 Women’s College World Series, the Seminoles come into this season with high expectations and a No. 3 ranking by the NFCA, the highest preseason ranking in school history.
The Noles open the year at home with the Unconquered Invitational on February 10-12 as Lipscomb, Furman and Marshall will come to start the year at JoAnne Graf Field.
“I know this team is prepared and ready to get after it,” said head coach Lonni Alameda. “We know we have done everything we could do in the fall and in our preseason workouts to put us in the best position for this season. Now it is all about just riding the wave of this long year and to trust in everything that we’ve built to this point. I’m excited to see what Team 34 can do this year and I’m glad opening day is finally here.”
The 2017 Unconquered Invitational will be a three-day tournament consisting of a round-robin stage as well as a bracket stage, ensuring that each team plays five games. Each team will play one game against all other teams on Friday and Saturday morning, enabling all four teams to be seeded into the bracket stage based on record.
In the bracket stage, the No. 1 seed will play the No. 4 seed, as well as the No. 2 and 3 seeds will play each other on Saturday evening. Sunday will consist of two games – the consolation game between the losers of Saturday night’s games, followed by the championship game between the winners from Saturday night.
The Seminoles are 2-0 all-time against Lipscomb, winning both games of a doubleheader in 2008 by scores of 5-1 and 11-3.
FSU has not played Furman since 2003, but holds a 10-1 advantage in the all-time series. The only loss in the series (1-0) came on April 25, 1986 at the S.C. Invitational in Columbia, S.C.
The Noles and Marshall have played three previous games, with FSU taking all three by a combined score of 19-1. Marshall’s associate head coach Kendall Fearn played collegiately at UNLV from 2006-09 under current FSU head coach Lonni Alameda.
Marshall is led by outfielder Morgan Zerkle, who is one of 50 players on the initial watch list for the 2017 USA Softball Collegiate National Player of the Year after posting a .482 batting average with 28 stolen bases last season.
FSU’s first game will come on Friday, February 10 against Lipscomb at 1:30 p.m., followed by a contest against Furman at 4:00 p.m. The Noles and Marshall will play their round-robin game at 1:30 p.m. on February 11.
Admission is free for all games of the 2017 Unconquered Invitational, and fans can listen online to our FSU Softball Radio (@FSUsbRadio) broadcasts free of charge on Seminoles.com, along with links for live stats of each game of the tournament.
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