Feb. 9, 2012
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) – The Florida State University softball team begins its 2012 season by hosting the annual Seminole Classic beginning Friday, Feb. 10, at JoAnne Graf Field.
A full slate of games is scheduled for Friday and Saturday, while the championship and consolation games are set for Sunday. The Seminoles begin their season with a 12:15 p.m. first pitch versus Stephen F. Austin on Friday afternoon, followed by a scheduled 2:30 p.m. start against Southeastern Conference foe Mississippi. Both contests will be streamed on Seminoles.com All-Access.
Every FSU contest will also include in-game updates on the team’s official Twitter handle: @fsu_softball
Start times for every game in the Seminole Classic are subject to change based on the end time of its previous game, with the exception of the first three contests on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
The weekend festivities include some fan-friendly promotions. On Friday and Saturday, there will be an inflatable speed pitch station where prizes can be earned for those who throw the hardest. For Sunday’s two games at 9 a.m. and 11:15 a.m., there will be $1 hot dogs at the concession stands, and a free youth clinic will be conducted following the 11:15 a.m. championship game.
In addition, there will be a Seminole Softball Dugout Club Social at 5 p.m. following FSU’s last game of the day against the Rebels on Friday.
The tournament begins on Friday with a 10 a.m. start time between Tennessee Tech and Ole Miss. The other game of the day not including the Seminoles is the 4:30 p.m. slot between Stephen F. Austin and Tennessee Tech. on Saturday, Ole Miss takes on Stephen F. Austin at 10 a.m., followed by FSU’s matchup with Tennessee Tech at 12:15 p.m. The championship round ensues as the No. 1 and No. 4 seeds play at 2:30 p.m., followed by the second and third seeds at 4:45 p.m.
“We’ve been itching to play someone besides ourselves all pre-season and we’re finally ready for the season,” head coach Lonni Alameda said as she enters her fourth year at FSU. “I’m excited about the team we have. We’ve got a lot of capability offensively and defensively and we expect to receive a strong test this first weekend.”
FSU brings a youthful but very talented team into the 2012 season. The Seminoles carry only two seniors, headlined by senior right fielder Shayla Jackson. The Pembroke Pines, Fla., native is the lone returning All-ACC performer for the Seminoles, coming off a season in which she batted .337 and struck out just nine times.
FSU looks to be much improved in the circle this season, starting with redshirt junior Monica Perry. The Whitesburg, Georgia, native sat out the 2011 season due to late transfer rules, and spent her freshman and sophomore years as one of the top pitchers in the Big Ten at Illinois. As a member of the Illini, Perry struck out 394 batters in 432.1 innings pitched while compiling a 49-22 record.
Redshirt junior Jessica Nori is another key piece to FSU’s group of arms, having a breakthrough season in 2011. Nori and Perry give the Seminoles two power-based pitchers at the top of the rotation, while freshmen Lacey Waldrop and Bailey Schinella also add to a talented group that will look to pace FSU this season.
The Seminoles are looking for their 13th consecutive trip to the NCAA Championship. They are one of just 12 NCAA Division I schools to have reached the postseason in every season since 2000.
FSU has a combined 7-3 record against its three opponents this weekend, having last played Stephen F. Austin in 2009 with 4-3 and 10-5 victories. The Seminoles are 1-1 against Ole Miss, winning by a 4-2 count in 1998 and losing 3-2 in 2000. The Rebels will be guided by first-year head coach Windy Thees, a former FSU softball player who lettered for the Seminoles from 1994-97.