Dec. 21, 2011
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) – Florida State University softball head coach Lonni Alameda has announced the team’s 2012 regular-season schedule, which includes several challenging opponents and five different tournaments.
“The 2012 season schedule is going to be a test of endurance,” Alameda said. “We will have to make sure we take care of business at home but understand how to win on the road. I’m very excited about the schedule matched up with the team that we have on paper right now.”
Highlighting the challenging schedule is a pair of nationally-televised contests that are part of the ACC’s enhanced Olympic sports coverage with ESPN. For nine consecutive weeks in the spring, ESPNU plans to televise ACC Olympic sporting events. The two softball matchups will take place at JoAnne Graf Field, as the Seminoles take on conference rival North Carolina on April 2 at 7 p.m. as well as Georgia Tech on April 16 at 7 p.m.
“These two ESPNU games should certainly be entertaining television,” Alameda said. “Georgia Tech and North Carolina are two of our biggest rivals and we’ve had some great games since I’ve been at FSU. This will give an opportunity for our fans to be seen on national television and we expect a great atmosphere for these big conference matchups.”
Two nonconference opponents from the Southeastern Conference will look to challenge the Seminoles in the upcoming year. FSU faces Louisiana State University early in the season on Feb. 15 in Baton Rouge, La., in what should be a quality doubleheader. FSU hosts rival Florida on April 4 at JoAnne Graf Field at 6 p.m. in what is always an entertaining contest between the two in-state schools.
The season begins with the first Seminole Classic of the season from Feb. 10-12 as FSU hosts Ole Miss, Tennessee Tech and Stephen F. Austin. The following weekend the second Seminole Classic includes 2011 NCAA Championship participant North Dakota State, Mercer, Coastal Carolina, Western Carolina and Florida A&M.
Highlighting FSU’s list of tournaments is the Hawaii Classic on March 2-4 in Honolulu. The Seminoles will battle University of California-Santa Barbara, Radford and tournament host Hawaii before playing in the tournament round. On March 6, FSU will end its stay in the Aloha State by facing Hawaii again. Overall, FSU will be staying in Hawaii for eight days as the cross-country trip serves as a homecoming for sophomore centerfielder and Wahiawa native Courtney Senas.
From Feb. 24-26, the Seminoles will face St. John’s, Wisconsin, Army, Southern Illinois and Marshall in the Citrus Classic that will take place in Orlando, Fla. FSU’s final regular-season tournament occurs March 16-18 at the Under Armour Classic on USF’s campus in Tampa, Fla., as it faces Northwestern, Fairfield, Rutgers and USF. The Seminoles will also play an exhibition against the Dutch National Team in Tampa to begin the trip on March 16.
In 2012, the Seminoles will be hosting four conference opponents in N.C. State (March 10-11), North Carolina (April 1-2), Georgia Tech (April 15-16) and Boston College (April 21-22). FSU and the Tar Heels last faced in the 2011 ACC Championship game that was won by the Seminoles, 4-1, and clinched their school-record 12th consecutive trip to the NCAA postseason. The victory was also important to the entire athletic department as it solidified FSU as the only active Division I school to have every program reach the NCAA postseason for the last two years.
FSU will face conference foes Virginia (March 24-25), Virginia Tech (April 6-7) and Maryland (May 5-6) on the road.
The Seminoles return plenty of talent on both ends from a season ago. Three of the team’s top hitters return in senior outfielder Shayla Jackson, junior infielder Tiffani Brown and junior outfielder/pitcher Morgan Bullock. Six position starters are back that also include Senas in centerfield, junior utility player Briana Hamilton and sophomore catcher Celeste Gomez.
Redshirt freshman shortstop Maddie O’Brien is ready to command the infield and post a breakout season after missing all of last season. Freshman Erika Leonard could also add some productivity to the lineup as a good source of power, while redshirt senior Mallory Borden returns from injury and is looking to resume her duties at second base.
A potent pitching staff returns as redshirt junior Monica Perry headlines a strong group of arms. Perry sat out all of last season due to NCAA transfer rules and has an enormous amount of talent in the circle. Redshirt sophomore Jessica Nori finished the 2011 season with an 8-5 record and a 2.84 ERA, but more importantly won two NCAA postseason games for the Seminoles last season.
Two of the top pitchers in the 2011 recruiting class in freshmen Lacey Waldrop (Colonial Heights, Va.) and Bailey Schinella (Valrico, Fla.) will also have opportunities to lead their team in the circle in 2012.
FSU will use its immense talent as it takes on six NCAA postseason participants from the 2011 season, which include LSU, North Dakota State, Tennessee-Chattanooga (March 13 in Tallahassee), Florida, Georgia Tech and Maryland.