February 21, 2012 - by
Noles Battle UCF

Feb. 21, 2012

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) – The 25th-ranked Florida State University softball team is hoping to extend its hot start as it meets in-state foe UCF on Wednesday, Feb. 22, at 6 p.m. at JoAnne Graf Field. The contest will also be streamed on Seminoles.com All-Access.

Fans interested in attending the game can win a free FSU T-Shirt by being one of the first 10 to solve the Seminole Softball Word Search that will be located in the game program.

The Seminoles (9-0) have been paced by timely hitting and exceptional pitching through the early portion of the 2012 season. FSU wrapped up a perfect 4-0 record last weekend at the second Seminole Classic, defeating Mercer by a 3-0 score on Sunday.

Junior third baseman Briana Hamilton has gotten off to a good start in FSU’s first nine games, hitting .417 with three home runs, seven RBIs, two doubles and one triple. The Woodruff, S.C., native is 10-for-24 thus far, and also leads the Seminoles with 23 total bases.

Sophomore centerfielder Courtney Senas has also been a stable presence at the plate, hitting .400 (10-for-25) with two doubles and six RBIs. Junior Tiffani Brown has done her job creating run-scoring opportunities by swiping 10 stolen bases in only nine games.

FSU is off to its best start since the 2004 squad began the year 11-0. In the school’s illustrious history, FSU’s current start of 9-0 is tied for the seventh-best ever. The other years in which the Seminoles got off to better starts include the record-breaking 1992 squad (25-0), 1994 (14-0), 1982 (12-0), 2004 (11-0), 1978 (11-0) and 1988 (10-0).

“As a coach you always hope to start off strong and get yourself going early,” head coach Lonni Alameda said. “We know, for sure, that UCF will be a difficult opponent Wednesday night and we have to continue taking our one-game-at-a-time approach.”

Helping the cause has been FSU’s sensational group of pitchers, as Bailey Schinella, Lacey Waldrop, Jessica Nori and Monica Perry have combined for a 1.31 earned run average. Waldrop has bolstered the group with 22 consecutive scoreless innings pitched, and shows a 4-0 record with a 1.01 ERA.

Schinella has been another newcomer who has added to the depth of a very reliable unit. The Valrico, Fla., native is 1-0 with a team-best 0.88 ERA, already earning two saves in four relief appearances.

The Knights (4-5) have lost five consecutive games, albeit against quality opponents. UCF made a trip to the San Diego State Tournament and were competitive against two Top 10 squads in No. 5 Washington (L, 1-0) and No. 7 UCLA (L, 3-1). Prior to the tournament, UCF defeated Ohio State, Florida A&M, Bethune-Cookman and Chattanooga to begin the year.

Junior infielder Marissa Menendez leads UCF with a .333 batting average, and has two doubles in nine games played. Freshman Farrah Sullivan leads the team with two home runs, seven RBIs and 15 total bases while showing a .286 batting average.

Freshman pitcher Mackenzie Audas and senior Ali Schmidt have aided the Knights in the circle this season, showing good numbers early. Schmidt is 1-1 with a 1.05 ERA, while Audas has a 1.15 ERA with 32 strikeouts in 36.2 innings pitched.

Following Wednesday night’s contest, FSU will travel to Orlando, Fla., for the Citrus Classic held at the Disney Wide World of Sports Complex this weekend.

Seminoles Move into Top 25

The latest ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 Poll revealed the Seminoles earned the 25th spot, making their first appearance in the national polls this season. In the USA Today/NFCA Division I Poll, FSU is receiving the second-most votes outside the Top 25 with 42.

Hamilton Named ACC Player of the Week

Junior Briana Hamilton earned her first ACC Player of the Week honors Tuesday. Hamilton finished 6-for-10 with two home runs, six RBIs, one double and one triple in four games played. She set a career high with four RBIs versus Western Carolina, and delivered the game-winning two-run home run in a 2-1 victory over North Dakota State.

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