March 28, 2012
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) – The 22nd-ranked Florida State University softball team hosts Florida Gulf Coast University in a doubleheader slated to begin on Thursday, March 29, at 5 p.m. and approximately 7:30 p.m. at JoAnne Graf Field.
The Seminoles (29-5, 6-0) are 23-5 in non-conference play this season and are set to face their fifth opponent from the state of Florida this year. FSU is 4-1 this season in teams that reside in the Sunshine State, defeating Jacksonville twice, Florida A&M, UCF as well as losing to No. 21 USF on the road.
Florida Gulf Coast brings a solid pitching core to Tallahassee, led by freshman Shelby Morgan and her 13-3 record with a 1.49 ERA. The High Springs, Fla., native has 92 strikeouts in 103.1 innings pitched and shows 11 complete games with five shutouts.
FGCU also has pitcher Amanda Josie, a sophomore from Estero, Fla., who is 5-3 with a 1.40 ERA in 18 appearances. The Eagles (20-16, 1-1) carry a team earned run average of 1.95, ranking 33rd in the NCAA. Offensively, Kelsey Carpenter is one of the team’s top hitters with a .303 average and six triples that rank second nationally.
“Thursday is an important doubleheader for us,” head coach Lonni Alameda said. “We’re coming off a good series in conference play versus Virginia, but there is also importance to these mid-week non-conference games. Florida Gulf Coast has played very well this season and they’ve got some strong players in the circle. If we can get off to a good start and lessen the pressure on our pitchers then our chances for success are that much greater.”
The Eagles are coming off a doubleheader sweep at home over Atlantic Coast Conference opponent Maryland, defeating the Terrapins by scores of 3-1 and 9-1 last Wednesday.
Even relative run support has been enough for the Seminoles this season, now showing a 22-0 record when scoring three or more runs this year. Sophomore centerfield Courtney Senas continues to lead the position players with a .330 batting average and is currently on a seven-game hitting streak.
Junior Tiffani Brown has been a hot-hitting binge as well, pushing her season-long batting average above the .300 mark to .304. Brown holds a six-game hitting streak and has batted .409 in that span. She has been as valuable as ever on the bases, racking up 28 stolen bases for an average of 0.82 per game that ranks fourth nationally.
The Seminoles received some good news to being their week when the first Ratings Percentage Index rankings were released by the NCAA, a strong indicator of postseason tournament seeding. FSU starts at No. 18 in the RPI, the highest of any team in the ACC.
FSU freshman pitcher Lacey Waldrop added to the positive news this week when she was named the ACC Pitcher of the Week on Wednesday. For the season, Waldrop is 14-2 with a 0.95 ERA.
Following Thursday’s game, FSU will host No. 23 North Carolina in a special Sunday-Monday series. This Sunday, April 1, FSU and UNC face off in a doubleheader beginning at noon and approximately 2:30 p.m., with both games streaming on ESPN3.com.
On Monday, the two rivals will play in a nationally-televised contest beginning at 7 p.m. on ESPNU. The evening features two tremendous promotions, as the game is deemed Military Appreciation Day with money being raised toward the Wounded Warrior Project. FSU softball players will also don special-made jerseys honoring our military.
Also on Monday, the first 200 fans to the game will be awarded free tickets to the FSU baseball game versus rival Miami on Saturday, April 21, which begins at 6 p.m. on ESPN3.com.