April 21, 2011
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) – Florida State University seniors Robin Ahrberg, Sarah Hamilton, Jen Lapicki, Kristie McConn, Ashley Stager and Lauren Varsalona will be honored this weekend as the Seminole softball squad battles Maryland in its regular-season home finale at JoAnne Graf Field.
Saturday’s doubleheader begins at 1 p.m., with the second contest scheduled to begin around 3:15 p.m. Following Saturday’s doubleheader, fans are invited to come to the Senior Weekend Dugout Club Social at the Varsity Club on the fourth floor of the Moore Center, with the event scheduled to begin approximately 30 minutes after the conclusion of game two.
While all FSU Dugout Club members are compensated, additional guests for the Saturday night social are $10 apiece. For information on supporting the Seminole softball squad and becoming a Dugout Club member, visit www.seminole-boosters.fsu.edu or call (850) 644-3484.
Senior day follows on Sunday with the first pitch scheduled for noon. Before the game, FSU’s six seniors will each throw a ceremonial first pitch to their fathers. In the middle of the fourth inning, each of their mothers will participate in a race around the bases against Maryland fans. To cap off the momentous day, each of the seniors will be honored at the conclusion of the game.
“This is a big weekend for us along with a very tough opponent,” head coach Lonni Alameda said. “We also are honoring six people who have given so much to the program. It is going to be a great weekend and we are very excited to get after it.”
Although senior weekend calls for a time of celebration, the Seminoles (25-21, 7-7) will be looking to enhance their NCAA Tournament resume this weekend. The Terrapins (28-13, 6-4) have had a strong campaign this season, owning the 34th-best RPI in the nation. FSU, which is riding a season-long seven-game win streak and has the No. 58 RPI, has an opportunity to earn more quality victories and continue playing its best softball late in the year.
Heading into the weekend, FSU boasts some quality RPI wins- it went 1-1 against No. 15 Kentucky earlier in the season, defeated No. 27 Long Beach State and No. 40 BYU in Palm Springs, Calif., split two games against No. 55 Hofstra at home and took one of three from No. 56 Virginia Tech in early April. The Seminoles show Top 50 RPI losses to Alabama (0-2), Auburn (0-1), San Diego State (0-1), Northwestern (0-1) and North Carolina (0-3).
In FSU’s seven-game win streak that includes victories over Virginia, Mercer, North Florida and Boston College, it has executed at the plate and in the circle. During that span, the Seminoles are hitting .367 (73-for-199) as a team with 47 runs scored and 16 doubles. Hamilton has dominated the opposition, going 4-0 with a 0.25 ERA and 48 strikeouts and 28 innings pitched. Altogether, the FSU rotation has shown an ERA of 1.00 in the last seven wins. Hamilton’s 231 strikeouts this season are the most in the ACC and 14th nationally.
With two ACC series left before the start of the conference tournament in Atlanta, Ga., FSU still has a chance to make up ground. The Seminoles sit in fifth-place and are a mere half game behind Virginia Tech for the fourth-place spot after playing one less game last weekend at Boston College due to a rainout. Third-place North Carolina is 1.5 games ahead with a 9-6 conference mark.
Junior Shayla Jackson’s hot bat has sparked FSU’s offensive resurgence as of late. She gained ACC Player of the Week honors after going 15-for-23 (.652) with one home run, 13 RBIs, four doubles and five runs scored in six games last week. Her second career round-tripper, the first over the fence, came in the form of a grand slam to help defeat Boston College last weekend in game one of a doubleheader on April 16. In that same game, Jackson went 4-for-4 with five RBIs and a double.
Maryland has won eight of its last nine games, including a doubleheader on Tuesday against Binghamton. Junior outfielder Vangie Galindo leads the Terrapins with a .414 batting average and 55 base hits, and junior infielder Bree Hanafin shows a team-best six home runs and a .384 mark this season.
Freshman Ashley Czechner has guided a strong Maryland pitching staff that shows an ACC-best 1.74 ERA. Czechner is 11-2 with a 1.55 ERA, while Kerry Hickey shows a 12-6 record with a 1.68 ERA and 169 strikeouts. Kendra Knight has a 1.87 ERA in 17 appearances.
Fans can tune into Sunday’s game by watching Seminoles.com All-Access’ live stream. Every game will be on CBS GameTracker and can be followed on Twitter through @FSU_softball.