Feb. 7, 2013
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) - The No. 25/24 Florida State softball team begins the regular season on Friday evening by hosting Tallahassee-based opponent Florida A&M at 6 p.m. at JoAnne Graf Field to kick off the Panhandle Invitational.
Just like in many years' past, the Seminoles host another invitational to start the season. In addition to Florida A&M, Florida State welcomes Sunshine State opponents Bethune-Cookman, North Florida and Jacksonville. There will be 10 games played this weekend at the invitational, including four on Saturday and five on Sunday.
"We've got a big weekend ahead and it will be great for our team and all of college softball to get back out on the field against someone else," head coach Lonni Alameda said. "We feel playing our neighboring university in Florida A&M is always good for Tallahassee and getting a few other teams within the state is a good way to start the year."
For all Florida State games this weekend, fans in attendance can purchase hot dogs for just $1 at the concession stands. On Saturday, the Seminoles have one game against UNF at noon and play two on Sunday versus Bethune-Cookman at 1 p.m. and Jacksonville at 5 p.m.
Last year, the Seminoles finished 9-2 against Florida-based opponents and went 5-0 against Florida A&M, Jacksonville and North Florida. Florida State and Florida A&M will play on Friday in their 110th meeting since the series began in 1984.
Florida State returns 15 letterwinners from a season ago, including all of its pitching staff and starting infielders. Senior second baseman Tiffani Brown represented the Seminoles on the NFCA Southeast Region Team last season and returns with Top 10 career marks in triples and stolen bases.
No. 25/24 Florida State is ranked in both national polls for the first time in the preseason since 2010. The Seminoles are ranked 25th in the USA Today/NFCA poll and No. 24 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll.
The Seminoles were picked second in the ACC Preseason Poll by the league's head coaches, totaling 44 points compared to first-place UNC's 45 points.
All four of Florida State's All-ACC performers in Brown, redshirt senior Monica Perry, senior Briana Hamilton and sophomore pitcher Lacey Waldrop are back for the Seminoles. Perry and Waldrop led Florida State in the circle last season by posting earned run averages that ranked in the upper echelon nationally.
Following the weekend invitational, Florida State hosts Troy on Tuesday, Feb. 12 at 6 p.m. in a game that will be broadcast on ESPN3. The contest is the first of 12 regular-season games for the Seminoles that will air on either ESPN3 or ESPNU as part of the ACC's spring television schedule.
Be sure to follow the Seminole softball team on its official Facebook page (Facebook.com/FSUSoftball) as well as on Twitter at @FSU_Softball.