May 13, 2007
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Posting its 26th 40-win season was more than enough to get the Florida State softball team into its 20th NCAA Tournament. The Seminoles, seeded second in the Tuscaloosa Regional, will open their eighth-straight national summit against California at 4 p.m. (CDT) on Friday, May 18.
“I’m excited that we’re in the tournament, it’s a new season now” FSU head coach Dr. JoAnne Graf said. “We have a heck of a first-round match-up with Cal; it seems we always meet up with them. It’s going to be a very tough regional, overall I think it’s one of the tougher ones, we’re going to give it our best shot. This isn’t one of Cal’s better years but they are very well coached, very disciplined and we’re going to have play well to beat them.”
NCAA Regional all-session tickets are now available for purchase by logging on to www.rolltide.com, by calling 205-348-BAMA or at the ticket windows in Coleman Coliseum. Starting at 12:00 noon on Friday, fans can purchase tickets at the Alabama Softball Complex. All session adult passes are $25 and All session youth passes are $15. Single session passes are $10 for adults, $6 for youth and $3 for students.
This will be the 12th meeting between Florida State (43-23) and Cal (33-30), but the first since the Golden Bears beat the Seminoles 4-2 in the first game of the 2004 Women’s College World Series. Cal leads the all-time series with Florida State 10-1 with the Seminoles’ lone win coming at the 2001 regional played in Tallahassee. Six of the 11 meetings have been in the NCAA Tournament, including the last five.
The other two teams in the regional are the host Crimson Tide, seeded 11th nationally, and Tennessee Tech, who beat the Seminoles, 9-8, at the NFCA Leadoff Classic. Florida State has not played Alabama – who was ranked No. 1 in the country two weeks ago – since 1998 and haven’t been to Tuscaloosa since 1987.
Cal has been to 22-straight NCAA Tournaments and ranks fourth in NCAA history with 71 tournament wins. The Golden Bears won the 2002 NCAA Championship and beat Florida State 1-0 on their way to the title.
The Seminoles have a 44-42 record in the NCAA Tournament, including a 38-26 mark during regional action. FSU’s 20 appearances in the tournament is the sixth-highest total in NCAA history. Florida State has won at least two games in each of the last three regional since going 0-2 during the 2003 Gainesville Regional. This is the second year in a row and third time in the last four years that Florida State has gone to an SEC for the NCAA Regional.
The 44 victories by Florida State this year equal its entire win total from 2006. The Seminoles are coming off a semifinal appearance in the ACC Tournament where they were eliminated by No. 17 Georgia Tech. The first victory in the NCAA tournament will be the 1,400th for Graf, making her the first coach in softball history to cross the 1,400-win plateau.
Last season Florida State won the Athens regional by defeating host Georgia, 2-0, during the championship game. Sophomore pitcher Melissa May (San Diego, Calif.) returned from a two-month absence to throw a two-hit shutout.
“We’re very excited,” Two-time All-American Veronica Wootson said. “I think we have a great chance of winning. It’s great that we’re not that far from Tallahassee so we should get some great support from our fans. Hopefully we can repeat the success we had last year when we went on the road to Georgia and won.”
Wootson (Fontana, Calif.) was one of three Seminoles named to the 2007 ACC Championship All-Tournament team. She was joined by shortstop Yuruby Alicart (Maracay, Venezuela) and freshman catcher Robin Ahrberg (Stillwater, Okla.).