February 15, 2007 - by
No. 22 FSU Softball Back At Home For Sunshine State Tournament

Feb. 15, 2007

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Florida State Softball
#22/22 Florida State hosts Sunshine State Tournament
Friday-Saturday, Feb. 16-17
Tallahassee, Fla.
JoAnne Graf Field at Seminole Softball Complex (1,000)

Friday, February 16:

vs. Jacksonville (3:30 p.m.) FREE Live Audio of Jacksonville Game • Game Tracker
vs. Kansas (5:30 p.m.) FREE Live Audio of Kansas Game • Game Tracker

Saturday, February 17:
vs. South Carolina (1:30 p.m.)Watch South Carolina Game Live Web Cast • Game Tracker
vs. Memphis (3:30 p.m.) Watch Memphis Game Live Web CastGame Tracker

Jacksonville (1-4)
Home: 0-1
Away: 0-0
Neutral: 1-3
A-SUN: 0-0

South Carolina (6-0)
Home: 1-0 
Away: 2-0 
Neutral: 2-0 
SEC: 0-0

Kansas (2-2-1)
Home: 1-0
Away: 0-0
Neutral: 1-2-1
Big 12: 0-0

Memphis (4-2)
Home: 0-0 
Away: 0-2 
Neutral: 4-0 
C-USA: 0-0

First Pitch (What You Need To Know):
• Off to its first 5-0 start since the 2004 season that ended at the WCWS, the No. 22 Florida State softball team plays host to its second tournament of the year when Jacksonville, Kansas, South Carolina and Memphis come to Tallahassee this weekend for the Sunshine State Tournament.

• Player of the Year candidate Veronica Wootson (Fontana, Calif.) has been on a tear to start the year as she is hitting .500 through the first five games and has scored 13 runs.

• The 4-0 start last weekend moved FSU up to No. 22 in both national polls. It’s FSU highest ranking since it held the No. 21 spot on March 13, 2005.

• Both of the games on Saturday against South Carolina (1:30 p.m.) and Memphis (3:30 p.m.) can be seen through ACC Select streaming internet video.

• Freshman catcher Robin Ahrberg (Stillwater, Okla.) is tops on the team with a .538 batting average and eight RBIs.

• Junior hurler Tiffany McDonald (Belfair, Wash.) threw the second no-hitter of her career as she beat Florida A&M 5-0 on Friday night. Her last no-no was on March 30, 2005, versus Jacksonville, which was also the last no hitter by a Seminole.

No. 22 FSU Back At Home For Sunshine State Tournament
Riding a five-game winning streak to start the year, the No. 22 Florida State softball team plays host to its second tournament of the 2007 campaign this weekend with the Sunshine State Tournament. FSU starts the round robin tournament on Friday at 3:30 p.m. against Jacksonville, followed by Kansas at 5:30 p.m. Saturday’s action commences with South Carolina at 1:30 p.m. followed by Memphis at 3:30 p.m. Both of Saturday’s games can be viewed on ACC Select streaming video while Friday’s contests will be broadcast on internet radio.

Weekend Forecast Moves Up Sunshine State
Game Times With temperatures predicted to be near or below freezing for a major portion of the weekend, Florida State athletics department officials have moved up the game times for this weekend’s Sunshine State softball tournament. Instead of allotting two and half hours for each contest, each game is scheduled for two hours.

Bats Come Alive In 11-2 Rout At Georgia Southern
It took a few innings for Florida State to find its groove offensively against Georgia Southern, but once the Seminoles got the bats rolling they were nearly unstoppable. FSU scored eight runs in the third, fourth and fifth innings on its way to an 11-2 decision over the Eagles on Tuesday. All nine of FSU’s starters reached base at least once, four players had two or more hits and three different players scored two or more runs. The Seminoles were also aided by 10 walks by the Georgia Southern pitching staff.

Seminoles Showing Early Progress
While the season is just a week and a half old, there are already some telling signs that the Seminoles are off to a better start than last season. For starters there’s the 5-0 record versus 4-1 last year, but also FSU is hitting 63 points higher (.363-to-.330) and the team ERA is down by over three runs (4.20-to-1.09). The Seminoles have six players hitting .500 or better, nine over .400 and 11 with better than .300 averages.

FSU Scoring Early And Often
There has been no shortage of offense for the Seminoles during the beginning of games. More than 50 percent (20-of-39) of Florida State’s runs have come in the first three innings (6-6-8). When you extend to the fifth inning, the Seminoles have scored 34 of their 39 runs. The low production in the later innings is directly attributed to the fact that FSU has only batted once in the seventh inning all year!

Florida State Dominating In The Circle
The biggest improvement FSU has seen this season has come from the pitching staff. A year of experience for three of the hurlers and a talented newcomer has been the difference as the team ERA has dropped more than three runs through the first five games. Even when the staff is making a mistake they are limiting the damage. So far this season opponents only have a pair of extra base hits (two doubles) compared to 10 at this point last year. Florida State’s staff is third in the league with its 1.09 and 35 strikeouts, while rating second with its opposing batting average of .157.

Offensive Explosion
Offense has been the name of the game for the Seminoles through the first week and a half of the season and they lead the conference with their .393 batting average. FSU has three of the top five hitters in the conference, topped by rookie backstop Robin Ahrberg who is second at a .538 clip. FSU also is the top team in the ACC for runs (35), RBIs (36) and extra base hits (11). The Seminoles have had 12 or more hits in three of their first five games and stolen at least two bases in every game. FSU has also shown a little bit more discipline at the plate, drawing two more walks and striking out two fewer times.

Graf Has Plenty Of Options With Line-Up Card
Unlike the last two seasons, there is very little or no drop off when it comes to reserve players, which gives head coach Dr. JoAnne Graf numerous options when it comes to putting her line-up card together. Through five games, Graf has used five completely different line-ups with only three players (Veronica Wootson – second base, Yuruby Alicart – shortstop and LaShaun Davis -right field) playing the same position all three games and three players (Wootson – leadoff, Robin Ahrberg – third and Alicart – cleanup) hitting in the same spot in the batting order.

FSU Gone Streaking To Start `07
The 5-0 start that the Seminoles are off to is the longest winning streak at the start of the year since the 2004 squad rattled off 11 to start their WCWS trek. The record for consecutive wins to start the year is 25 by the 1992 team, which is also the third longest winning streak in school history. The five-game spurt also ties last year’s longest winning streak and a win over Jacksonville would match the longest winning streak since the Seminoles rattled off 14 in the middle of 2004.

Ahrberg Early Freshman Phenom
While Florida State has gotten major production from all of its freshmen, none has been better at the plate than Robin Ahrberg. The backstop is tops on the team and second in the ACC with her .538 batting average. She also leads the team with eight RBIs to go along with a .615 slugging percentage and .600 on-base percentage. The Stillwater, Okla., native had the best game of her early FSU career at Georgia Southern where she went 3-for-4 with two runs scored and four RBIs.

Gober Also Has Strong Collegiate Debut
In the circle, Terese Gober (McDonough, Ga.) is having nearly as much success as her classmate Robin Ahrberg is having at the plate. The right-hander has won both of her starts, including Tuesday’s 11-2 decision over Georgia Southern in which she allowed just three hits with six strikeouts. In her two appearances, Gober has a 1.75 ERA with 13 strikeouts and is limiting opponents to a .128 average.

Senior Sluggers
The only two players on the team with WCWS rings appear determined to get the Seminoles back to Oklahoma City. Seniors Veronica Wootson and LaShaun Davis (Marietta, Ga.) are second on the team and third in the ACC with their .500 batting averages. The Player of the Year candidate Wootson nearly has as many runs (13) as she does at-bats (14) and she leads the team with a .632 on-base percentage. Wootson has also been a terror on the base paths, going a perfect 7-of-7, which is more steals than Virginia, NC State and North Carolina have as a team. Davis leads the team with three triples and is second with her .800 slugging percentage, four runs scored and six RBIs.

Transfers Hitting Tremendously
A change of scenery may have been exactly what transfers Brittany Krbec (Orlando, Fla.) and Kelly Langston (Sopchoppy, Fla.) needed. In her first weekend as a Seminole, the senior Krbec rotated between catcher and designated player and worked her way onto the all-tournament team with a .455 average. The Tallahassee CC product Langston has started the last two games and had her best contest in the Garnet and Gold on Tuesday at Georgia Southern as she went 2-for-3 with a run scored and a walk.

Home Team Claims Title At The Seminole Classic
Using the momentum from last year, the Seminoles came out of the gates fast in 2007 as they swept all four games to claim the title at the Seminole Classic. FSU collected a pair of run-rule victories, including an 8-0 triumph over Samford in the championship game. The Seminoles opened the tournament with a 13-5 win over the Bulldogs in five innings before beating Florida A&M 5-0 and Radford 2-1.

McDonald No Hits Rattlers
Coming into the weekend, pitcher Tiffany McDonald was not sure she was going to throw that much and she certainly did not expect to have the evening she did on Friday night. The junior threw the second no hitter of her career as she stifled the Florida A&M bats for the 5-0 victory .The no hitter is her first no-no since an 11-0 victory over Jacksonville on March 30, 2005. During her seven innings of work, the right-hander only issued three walks and had one runner reach base on an error. McDonald only faced two batters over the minimum through the first five innings and started the game by striking out the first five batters.

News and Notes:
Through five games FSU has stolen 16 bases whereas last year’s 16th stolen base did not come until the 14th game of the year against Tennessee (Feb. 24) … So far this year, Florida State has scored four times on infield ground outs … Even though she only has a .111 batting average, third baseman Michelle Snyder (Wenatchee, Wash.) has drawn five walks for a .429 on-base percentage … Two-Time All-American Veronica Wootson needs five runs scored to move into six in ACC history and fifth in FSU lore … Robin Ahrberg has a hit in all five games this season … Wootson was not credited with an official at-bat against Radford so she still has a four-game hitting streak … Last year FSU took two games off a Big 12 school as it defeated Iowa State 9-1 and 5-0 in the Seminole Classic … Florida State’s last win over a former player turned head coach was in the 2005 NCAA Regional when it beat Auburn, who is led by Tina Deese (Kyler), twice.

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