April 8, 2011
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) – The Florida State University softball team hosts another conference opponent this weekend, taking on Virginia for a three-game set that begins with a Saturday doubleheader at noon, followed by a single-game noon matchup on Sunday at JoAnne Graf Field.
Saturday’s twinbill is Military Appreciation Day, as FSU softball honors the armed forces prior to the first pitch. The first 100 fans who attend game one receive a free camouflage koozie as well as free popcorn.
Sunday’s contest is Youth Day, with a free clinic for participants from kindergarten to eighth grade conducted on the field by FSU coaches and student-athletes following the game. The concession stands will also be selling hot dogs for just one dollar on Sunday.
The Seminoles (17-20, 3-6) are hoping to climb back to .500 overall and in conference play. They lead the overall series against the Cavaliers (17-19, 1-7) by a 64-16 margin, including a 29-9 record since both schools became members of the ACC.
The FSU pitching staff has lowered its ERA to 2.11 in nine conference games, powered by right-handers Sarah Hamilton and Jessica Nori. Hamilton is holding opposing conference batters to just a .183 average, while Nori shows a team-best 1.65 ERA in conference action.
Nori showcased her skills by allowing only eight hits in 12 innings pitched with a 1.17 ERA in two appearances against the Hokies last weekend. Overall, the FSU pitching staff has lowered its ERA and posted some low-scoring statistics over the last 12 games. During that time, FSU has gone from a 3.46 ERA to a 2.86 ERA. Two shutouts have been posted by the Seminole arms, and an opposition that included South Alabama, Florida A&M, N.C. State, North Carolina, Virginia Tech and UCF combined to average just over two runs per game.
The Seminoles had to overcome a difficult loss in their last outing, falling to UCF by a 2-1 score in what was a walk-off win for the Knights. Hamilton scattered just three hits on one earned run while striking out nine as FSU extended its losing streak to three games.
Hamilton, however, is looking to make a bit of personal history this weekend. She is just nine strikeouts shy of becoming only the second Seminole softball student-athlete to amass 900 career strikeouts. She is just three K’s shy of passing standout Casey Hunter for third place on the all-time list, and is also nine away from passing 2004 USA Softball National Player of the Year Jessica van der Linden for second place.
Hamilton trails career strikeout leader Tiffany McDonald by 48.
Virginia’s Stephanie Harris leads the Cavaliers with a .346 batting average and 23 RBIs. The Cavaliers are batting .256 altogether, and are led by Marcy Bowdren’s four home runs.
In the circle, Melanie Mitchell shows a team-best 10 victories (10-9) and a 3.14 ERA. Mitchell also has five shutouts, as UVA shows a 4.42 ERA as a unit.
Fans can follow both of Saturday’s games on Seminoles.com All-Access, CBS GameTracker or by getting in-game updates on Twitter at @FSU_softball.