Feb. 21, 2013
PALM SPRINGS, CALIF - The No. 23 Florida State softball team prepares for a rigorous test as it heads out to the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic in Palm Springs, Calif. to take on three nationally-ranked teams in a five-game slate this weekend at Big League Dreams Park.
The Seminoles (8-2) start off the tournament facing LIU-Brooklyn on Friday, Feb. 22 at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT. Later that day, Florida State plays No. 22 Washington at 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT.
On Saturday, Florida State goes up against No. 1 Oklahoma at 12:30 p.m. ET/9:30 a.m. PT. Sunday features two more games, with the Seminoles battling Nebraska at noon ET/9 a.m. PT and No. 17 Stanford at 2:30 p.m. ET/11:30 a.m. PT.
"This is always one of the premier tournaments in collegiate softball," head coach Lonni Alameda said. "We are coming off a good performance on Wednesday and we'll need to take our game to the next level to compete with some of the top programs across the country that will be a part of this tournament. I'm excited for the challenge we have ahead of us and I think our team is prepared to face some of the elite teams this sport has to offer."
On Wednesday, Florida State produced a season-best four home runs in its 10-3 win at UCF. The total is the most under Alameda since she took over the program as head coach in 2009. Contributing to the long ball totals were freshman Victoria East as well as juniors Courtney Senas, Celeste Gomez and Kelly Hensley.
In the game, senior Briana Hamilton drew a bases loaded walk in the third inning to extend her bases reached streak to all 10 games of the 2013 season. Fellow senior Tiffani Brown finished 1-for-2 in the game and leads the team with a .471 batting average (16-for-34) in the young season.
Just like last season, the pitching duo of sophomore Lacey Waldrop and senior Monica Perry is carrying Florida State in the circle. Waldrop is 4-0 with a 0.92 ERA, totaling 40 strikeouts in 29.1 innings pitched. Perry is 4-2 with a 2.35 ERA and has experience pitching well against marquee opponents, which is evident in her four wins against Top 25 opponents in 2012.
The Seminoles last played in the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic two seasons ago, finishing 2-3 on the trip. Florida State picked up a win over No. 25 BYU and also defeated Long Beach State, two quality opponents that enhanced its nonconference resume.
Through 10 games played, the Seminoles are batting .343 (87-for-254) and are averaging seven runs per contest. Four players already have multiple home runs, led by three apiece from Senas and Hamilton. Florida State has only been caught stealing once, swiping 18 bags in 19 attempts.
The Seminoles already own two Top 25 victories this season, defeating then-No. 25 Hofstra twice at the Unconquered Invitational last weekend. This weekend's heavy competition will give Florida State a chance to establish itself against quality opponents before starting ACC play on March 9 at N.C. State. Alameda has guided the Seminoles to 16 nationally-ranked wins in her coaching career in Tallahassee.
Every Florida State game this weekend is slated to be shown via live stats on CBS GameTracker. Fans can also follow along through the team's Twitter account handle - @FSU_Softball.
After this weekend, the Seminoles will return home to host Troy in a makeup game scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 28 at 6 p.m. Florida State then hosts Southern Miss, Troy and Appalachian State in the Renegade Classic on March 1-3.