February 8, 2007 - by
Seminole Softball Game Day: FSU Opens 2007 Season With Seminole Classic

Feb. 8, 2007

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Florida State Softball
#25/25 Florida State Hosts Seminole Classic
Friday-Saturday, Feb. 9-10
Tallahassee, Fla.
JoAnne Graf Field at Seminole Softball Complex (1,000)

Friday, February 9

vs. Samford (4 p.m.) Watch Samford Game Live Web Cast| Game Tracker
vs. FAMU (6:30 p.m.) FREE Live Audio of Florida A&M Game| Game Tracker

Saturday, February  10:
vs. Radford (1:30 p.m.) FREE Live Audio Saturday’s Games| Game Tracker
Consol/Champ (4 or 6:30 p.m.)

#25/25Florida State (44-30)
Home: 29-14
Away: 8-6
Neutral: 4-7
ACC: 10-10 (5th)

Samford (20-38)
Home: 12-13
Away: 4-17 
Neutral: 4-8 
OVC: 10-16 (T7th)

Florida A&M (40-25)
Home: 14-7
Away: 8-8
Neutral: 18-10
MEAC: 14-0 (1st)

Radford (40-22) 
Home: 17-2
Away: 11-16
Neutral: 12-4 
Big South: 9-3 (2nd)

First Pitch (What You Need To Know):
• Florida State opens its 30th season of softball and 29th under Dr. JoAnne Graf this weekend with the Seminole Classic.

• After finishing 2006 ranked in the Top 25 of both major polls, the Seminoles start 2007 rated 25th in both the USA Today/NFCA poll as well as the ESPN.com/USA Softball rankings. FSU has been in the preseason ranking eight of the last ten seasons.

• Two-time All-American Veronica Wootson (Fontana, Calif.) was named a preseason All-American by ESPN.com and earned a spot on the USA Softball Player of the Year Watch List.

• Under Graf, Florida State is 24-4 during the season opener, but dropped its first season opener since 1999 last year when it lost 12-3 to Louisville.

• Friday’s 4 p.m. season opener with Samford will be broadcast on streaming video through ACC Select. This season FSU will have 20 games broadcast by either ACC Select or Sun Sports. For the complete broadcast schedule, log onto www.seminoles.com.

• Pitcher Tiffany McDonald (Belfair, Wash.) was second in the country last year with 329.1 innings pitched and 57 appearances. Her inning total set a school and ACC record.

No. 25 FSU Softball Opens 2007 Campaign With Seminole Classic
Its seems like just yesterday the Florida State softball team was just two wins away from the Women’s College World Series in the sweltering heat of Tempe, Ariz. But since the mercury is back down below 60 degrees it can only mean that the start of another softball season has arrived. The No. 25 Seminoles begin the 2007 season by playing host to the Seminole Classic, February 9-10. This year’s field includes Radford, Samford and Florida A&M. FSU opens the year at 4 p.m. on Friday with back-to-back games against Samford and Florida A&M. The Seminoles take on Radford at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday and then will play in either the 4 p.m. championship or 6:30 p.m. consolation contest.

Season Opener One of 20 Games On Sun Sport Or ACC Select
For the past three seasons Seminole fans have been able to hear the majority of FSU’s games over the internet, but this season they will have the opportunity to watch many contests as well. Starting with Friday’s 4 p.m. opener with Samford, Florida State will have 20 games broadcast either on television by Sun Sports or through ACC Select streaming internet video. In addition, there will be streaming audio broadcasts of more than 30 games this season. To access all of the streaming broadcasts, log on to the official site of FSU athletics, www.seminoles.com and go to the softball schedule page.

Seminoles Start 2007 Ranked No. 25 In Both Polls
A strong run through the NCAA Tournament all the way to the Super Regional warranted the Florida State softball team a spot in the Top 25 of both preseason polls. The Seminoles are the only school in the ACC to appear in both rankings as they hold down the No. 25 spot in both the NFCA/USA Today and the USA Softball/ESPN.com polls. Florida State has appeared in the preseason Top 25 in eight of the last 10 seasons with its best preseason ranking coming in 2003 when it started the year rated ninth. NC State is the only other conference school to make it into the Top 25 as they came in 22nd in the USA Softball ratings, but are a spot back of the Seminoles in the NFCA poll.

Wootson Earns A Pair Of Preseason Accolades
On the heels of a tremendous junior season, senior second baseman Veronica Wootson is already garnering national attention before the first ball is in play. The Fontana, Calif. native found herself on the two most prestigious preseason lists as she was named to the USA Softball Player of the Year Watch List as well as Second-Team Preseason All-American by ESPN.com.

FSU Always Ready To Go On Opening Day
Head coach Dr. JoAnne Graf always has her teams ready to play at the beginning of the year as is evident with FSU’s 24-4 record in the opener. However, last year’s 12-3 loss to Louisville was the Seminoles’ first loss on opening day since 1999. Over the last six seasons, FSU is 12-4 during the first four games of the year. Since 1984, the Seminoles have won their opening game by an average of 5.4 runs and have thrown 11 shutouts.

Seminoles Bring Back Plenty in 2007
For the second year in a row, Florida State returns the majority of its offensive line-up from the previous season. The Seminoles bring back more than 50% of 2006’s production in every offensive category as five of the top six hitters from last season are back (Veronica Wootson, LaShaun Davis, Yuruby Alicart, Brittany Osmon and Whitney Buckmon) . The biggest missing piece from 2006 is leadoff hitter Natasha Jacob who was the team leader in batting average (.373) and also set the school and conference record with 252 at-bats. One big change for this year is that the entire pitching staff is back and will be bolstered by the addition of freshman Terese Gober (McDonough, Ga.). Once again this season the ace of the staff will be right-hander Tiffany McDonald as she comes off a sophomore campaign where she finished second in the country in innings pitched (329.1) and appearances (57). Her innings set FSU and ACC records.

League Coaches Tab Florida State Second In Preseason Poll
A strong run through the postseason along with a solid core of veterans and talented newcomers was more than enough reason for the ACC softball coaches to pick Florida State second in the preseason poll. The second place showing by the Seminoles marks the first time in the 10 years that the conference has been conducting a preseason poll that FSU has not been picked to win the league. With 62 points, defending ACC champion NC State was picked ahead of Florida State, who received 53 points.

2007 Squad Is Largest In Florida State History
This season there will be no shortage of line-up options for Dr. JoAnne Graf as this year’s squad will be the largest in her 29-year tenure. This year’s Seminoles squad tops out at 20 players. Prior to this year, the largest roster came during the 1999 and 1984 seasons when Florida State carried 19 players. Last year the Seminoles had 16 players while the 2003, 2002, 2001, and 2000 squads all carried 18.

Wootson Chasing Several Records/Top Ten Lists
When her career is over, Veronica Wootson could go down as one of the best offensive players in school and ACC history. Her 18 triples already rates her eighth in conference lore and she needs just six more to crack the NCAA Top 25. Wootson is on the verge of making three more ACC top tens (runs, hits & RBIs) and starts 2007 on six FSU lists with the potential for three more, including breaking the record for triples and home runs.

Nine New Faces Complete 2007 Roster
Name tags were definitely needed for the first few days of practice as everyone got to know each other as this year’s team features nine new players, six freshmen and three transfers. After playing with the US Junior National Team and starting at Georgia as a freshman, Jessica Gilmore (Fort Walton Beach, Fla.) joins the Seminoles while Brittany Krbec (Orlando, Fla.) came to Florida for her last year and Kelly Langston (Sopchoppy, Fla.) was the top hitter the last two years at Tallahassee CC. The half dozen freshmen are: catcher Robin Ahrberg (Stillwater, Okla.), infielder Camille Garcia (Sandia Pueblo, N.M.), pitcher Terese Gober, outfielder Monica Montez (Corona, Calif.), infielder Courtney Rosen (Sugarland, Texas) and outfielder Carly Wynn (Sharpsburg, Ga.)

McDonald Coming Off Jet Setting Summer
While most of her classmates were working summer jobs or attending class, pitcher Tiffany McDonald was getting an international education as a member of the British National Team. The right-hander was a guest pitcher for the Union Jack in the World Cup of Softball in Oklahoma City, Okla., where she threw against Team USA, and the ISF World Championship in Beijing, China.

May Looks To Pick Up Where She Left Off
If the end of the 2006 season is any indication, than hurler Melissa May (San Diego, Calif.) could be in for a tremendous sophomore campaign. The left-hander bounced back from a two-month hiatus due to mononucleoses by allowing just two unearned runs in 11.1 innings of work against No. 8 Georgia and No. 7 Arizona State in the NCAA Tournament. May finished second on the staff last year with a 2.90 ERA and 8-7 record in 91.2 innings, which was ninth in the ACC last season.

Alicart Looks For Fast Start To 2007
It took her a third of the season, but once shortstop Yuruby Alicart (Maracay, Venezuela) got adjusted to Division I softball she became one of the best players in the conference. Over the last two-thirds of the season, the senior hit .350 with 35 runs, 14 doubles, nine home runs, 39 RBIs and a .656 slugging percentage on her way to NFCA First-Team All-Southeast Region and First-Team All-ACC accolades.

Davis Looks To Cap Quite A Quiet Career
While she has played in 192 games with 177 starts, senior LaShaun Davis (Marietta, Ga.) has been in the shadow of other players during her career, but after a breakout junior season it is her turn to shine. Davis earned Second-Team All-ACC honors last year after finishing second during league games with a .439 batting average. A co-captain this season, her overall average of .342 was ninth in the ACC while her six triples were second.

Move From DP To Outfield On Tap For Buckmon
After spending the 2006 season as the Seminoles’ everyday designated player, junior Whitney Buckmon (Stone Mountain, Ga.) is looking to make the move to outfield permanently as she started 20 games between right and center field last season. Buckmon was ranked in the top five on the team in eight different offensive categories, including stolen bases where she ranked sixth in the ACC at 19 swipes.

News and Notes:
The 2007 season marks the 25th anniversary of the 1982 AIAW National Championship Team … Since 2001, FSU has only had three pitchers start opening day as All-Americans Leslie Malerich (2001-02) and Casey Hunter (2003-05) got the first five starts and Tiffany McDonald will make her second start Friday…Friday is Fan Day at JoAnne Graf Field with the Seminoles signing autographs following their 6:30 p.m. contest with Florida A&M. There will also be various contests and prizes throughout both games … Freshmen Terese Gober and Carly Wynn played on the same Georgia Titans traveling team.

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