April 11, 2011 - by
Softball Battles Mercer, UNF

April 11, 2011

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) – The Florida State University softball team prepares for consecutive doubleheaders as it faces Mercer on Tuesday, April 12, in a two-game set at JoAnne Graf Field that begins at 4 p.m. FSU will then face North Florida on Wednesday in a twinbill beginning at 4 p.m.

Wednesday’s matchup against the Ospreys (20-23, 4-8) is Luau Night, where all students can receive free pizza and leis will be passed out as part of the Hawaiian-themed festivities.

“We are looking forward to these mid-week games,” head coach Lonni Alameda said. “Mercer is a tough, scrappy opponent that we need to be on our `A’ game for. These two games against Mercer and UNF are going to be great preparation for Boston College this weekend.”

FSU’s games against Mercer are being made up after the original doubleheader set for March 29 was cancelled due to inclement weather. FSU is 26-0 all-time against the Bears, including a 2-1 victory last season in Tallahassee in the Sunshine State Classic.

The Seminoles and North Florida have met just four times in their series history, with FSU owning a 3-1 edge since facing the Ospreys for the first time in 2007. FSU has shut out UNF twice, once in 2007 (5-0) and on the road in 2009 (7-0). The Ospreys, however, won the last meeting between both teams on March 23, 2009, in game two of a doubleheader.

FSU softball enters its back-to-back doubleheader slate with a 14-14 record in nonconference action, including an 11-5 mark at home. In 28 games outside of the ACC, senior Jen Lapicki leads the team with a .372 batting average, while Tiffani Brown and Robin Ahrberg are hitting .354 apiece. Sophomore pitcher Morgan Bullock is 5-2 in eight nonconference starts this season.

The Seminoles look to ride the momentum of senior pitcher Sarah Hamilton, who was very impressive in four games last week. Hamilton tossed her sixth career no-hitter in an 8-0 victory in five innings against Virginia on April 9.

The senior standout’s no-hit performance was her first of the season and moved her past FSU great Casey Hunter for second place on the all-time list. Hamilton only trails former USA Softball National Player of the Year Jessica van der Linden, who has nine no-hitters. In FSU’s 6-1 victory on April 10, Hamilton recorded her 900th career strikeout to become only the second Seminole to achieve that mark, joining Tiffany McDonald.

FSU finished 2-2 in four games played against UCF and Virginia last week. In that span, Sarah Hamilton and Jessica Nori combined for a 0.82 ERA in 25.2 innings pitched while holding the opposition to a .183 batting average.

Ashley Stager was one of several bright spots at the plate. The senior leader finished with a .385 average (5-for-13) and recorded team highs of two doubles and four RBIs, which included what was presumed to be the game-winning RBI single against UCF in the sixth before the Knights came back. Against Virginia on Sunday, her bases-clearing three-run double put the game out of reach and iced a series victory for the Seminoles.

The Seminoles also batted .281 as a unit and went 11-for-11 in stolen bases in their four games last week.

The Bears (21-15, 4-6) are guided by the stellar hitting of Sara Stukes (.365/5/31) and Randi Rea (.295/6/25). Kari Chambers has made 18 starts and 24 appearances and shows a 10-7 record with a 1.81 ERA, while Jenni Holtz has a 10-8 mark with a 2.93 ERA.

UNF has struggled at the plate this season, carrying a .236 team average. Mariah Reynolds and Alyson Bailey lead the team with .278 and .271 clips, respectively. In the circle, Cortney Radke is the lone Osprey with a sub-2.00 ERA, showing an 18-15 record with a 1.96 ERA.

FSU’s doubleheader against UNF can be seen on Seminoles.com All-Access. As always, fans can get live in-game updates by following @FSU_softball on Twitter.

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