April 14, 2012
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) – The 21st-ranked Florida State University softball team gets back into conference play with a matchup versus ACC rival Georgia Tech beginning on Sunday, April 15, with a noon doubleheader at JoAnne Graf Field.
The series finale takes place on Monday, April 16, with a 7 p.m. start time on ESPNU. It will be FSU’s second nationally-televised game at home within the last three weeks, as the Seminoles also played North Carolina in front of an ESPNU audience on April 2.
Sunday is “Paint it Pink” Day as the FSU softball program looks to raise breast cancer awareness. Two very special ceremonial first pitches will be thrown by Maye Walker and Wendy Davis Rogers, both whose lives have been affected by breast cancer.
“This weekend has such great importance in a variety of ways,” head coach Lonni Alameda said. “We always enjoy promoting breast cancer awareness and are honored to have those join us who have been affected by it. These upcoming games are big for us and our conference standing, and we hope to put on a good display for those who will be watching on ESPNU and ESPN3.”
Since both teams began their rivalry in 1990, FSU is 44-24 all-time versus Georgia Tech. The Seminoles won the last meeting between both teams on the road last season, winning 9-4 to break a four-game losing streak.
At home, FSU is 16-8 all-time versus Georgia Tech. The Seminoles are looking for their first series win against the Jackets at home since 2006.
Florida State ranks 15th in the latest ratings percentage index, while Georgia Tech is 32nd. FSU owns a 36-9 overall record, including a conference-best 10-2 record in ACC play. The Jackets are 30-16 overall and sit at 9-3 in the conference, just a game behind FSU.
With the ratings percentage index (RPI) being the single-most important statistical tool for postseason seeding, this weekend’s matchup versus Georgia Tech looms that much larger for FSU. FSU is 9-8 versus the Top 50.
Concussions sustained by designated player Mallory Borden, pitcher Bailey Schinella and shortstop Maddie O’Brien have forced other players to step up. Redshirt sophomore pitcher Jessica Nori has come through in the circle, earning victories in her last two starts against Virginia Tech and Florida A&M. Prior to her last two starts, Nori hadn’t allowed an earned run in a relief role in her previous seven appearances.
Over the last six games, sophomore Kelly Hensley has aided FSU’s offense by going 6-for-15 with two multiple-hit games. Through the majority of the season, Hensley has floated between the sixth and seventh spots of the lineup. For the season, she is now batting .286 with 12 RBIs.
Hensley delivered two base hits in FSU’s loss to Florida last week, with both hits coming off starter Hannah Rodgers.
The Jackets are back to playing some of their best softball of the season. Georgia Tech is currently on an 11-game win streak that includes sweeps over N.C. State and Maryland as well as wins over Kennesaw State, Georgia Southern and Georgia State.
Kelsi Weseman is one of the nation’s top third baseman, hitting .364 with nine home runs and 26 RBIs in 33 games played. Catcher Alysha Rudnik (.318/7/28) and pitcher Hope Rush (.316/7/28) help form a strong hitting group that routinely produces some of the best power numbers in the ACC year after year.
Rush is also Georgia Tech’s top pitcher, showing a 19-10 record with a 2.11 ERA. She has 121 strikeouts in 185.2 innings pitched, while No. 2 Kylie Kleinschmidt is 6-4 with a 4.73 ERA.
Following FSU’s ESPN3 games on Sunday, the Monday contest will feature another baseball ticket giveaway. The first 200 fans will receive a free FSU baseball ticket versus Maryland on May 5.