TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Fresh off of making program history on February 21, the Florida State softball program will take its newly-earned No. 1 ranking on the road this week, traveling to the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic in Cathedral City, Calif., on February 23-26.
The Noles (10-0) will play a total of six games at the tournament, including four against ranked teams. FSU will start out with a doubleheader on February 23 against No. 18 Texas A&M (10-0) at 8:30 p.m. ET and Stanford (7-3) at 11:00 p.m. ET, followed by a game against San Diego State (3-4) on February 24 at 11:30 p.m. ET.
FSU closes out the weekend with three ranked opponents, beginning with No. 9 Arizona (11-0) on February 25 at 10:30 p.m. ET and a doubleheader versus No. 6 UCLA (10-1) at 2:30 p.m. ET and No. 14 Michigan (6-3) at 5:00 p.m. ET on February 26.
FSU last competed at the Mary Nutter Classic in 2015, posting a 3-2 record in its five games in the desert, including a 5-1 win over No. 12 UCLA.
“This is always such a great tournament and we love heading out there to compete against some of the best teams in the country,” said FSU head coach Lonni Alameda. “This will be an outstanding experience for our freshmen and sophomores that haven’t played out there before, and also a chance for us to learn how to deal with the challenges of travel, time zone changes, different types of playing conditions and be able to adjust to those situations and work from there. I’m excited to get out and compete and it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Florida State enters the week with the nation’s best pitching staff as FSU holds a 0.22 ERA, giving up just two earned runs through the first 65 innings of the season. Redshirt sophomore Meghan King and freshman Cassidy Davis individually top the nation with their 0.00 ERAs. Redshirt senior pitcher Jessica Burroughs was named ACC and NFCA Pitcher of the week after giving up just three hits over 13.2 shutout innings last week as the Noles continued their undefeated start to the season.
Thursday’s game against Texas A&M will be the 10th in the series and the first for FSU under head coach Lonni Alameda. The Aggies hold a 5-4 advantage in the series, with Texas A&M winning the most recent matchup, 7-0, at the NFCA Leadoff Classic in 2008.
Stanford leads the all-time series with Noles at 2-1, as the Cardinal defeated FSU in 2013 (3-1), 1998 (1-0) and lost to the Seminoles in 1985 (9-1). The two schools were meant to play each other as Stanford hosted Cal Poly, Tulsa and FSU during the 2016 season, but due to rain in Palo Alto, Calif., the tournament was shortened and FSU was only able to play one game each against Tulsa and Cal Poly. FSU head coach Lonni Alameda was an associate head coach at Stanford from 1996-2004 and helped lead the Cardinal to a 320-179-1 record and six straight NCAA Regional appearances. She oversaw the pitching staff that produced three All-Americans: Becky Blevins, Marcy Crouch and Dana Sorenson.
This will be the fifth time that FSU and San Diego State have played in softball, with the Aztecs winning each of the last three games in 2012 and 2011. The Noles won the first matchup in 2001, 2-1 in eight innings.
Florida State has never defeated Arizona in the previous 11 times the schools have played, including an 11-inning battle in the 2002 Women’s College World Series that saw the Wildcats earn a 6-2 win. The two schools have not met since a 2008 game at the Judi Garman Classic that saw Arizona earn an 11-0 win.
UCLA holds an 8-5 advantage in the all-time series with Florida State, however the Seminoles have won each of the last five games, dating back to 2002. FSU shutout UCLA, 3-0, in 2016 at Easton Stadium, and met the Bruins again at the Women’s College World Series, earning an 8-4 win.
Florida State and Michigan have played 30 games all time, with Michigan holding a 24-6 advantage, but eight of those games have come in the last three years. The Noles won the last two games of the 2014 NCAA Super Regional to advance to the Women’s College World Series for the first time in a decade, before dropping the next four games in the matchup on regular season games at JoAnne Graf Field. FSU earned a 1-0 victory over No. 2 Michigan at the 2016 Women’s College World Series to advance to the semifinal round, marking the highest-ranked win under head coach Lonni Alameda.
All six games of the weekend will be broadcast live on FloSoftball.com, and fans will need to sign-up for a membership in order to watch the games. A free FSU Softball Radio broadcast, as well as live stats, will be available for each game on Seminoles.com.
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