March 26, 2013
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) - For the 30th time in series history, the Florida State softball team and rival Florida will square off on Wednesday, March 27 at 6 p.m. in a game that will be televised on Sun Sports and Fox Sports Florida.
Viewers in North and Central Florida can see the game on Sun Sports, while the audience in South Florida can watch the contest on Fox Sports Florida. The No. 3 Gators (31-3) hold a 16-13 edge in the series and have won the last nine games dating back to 2007.
"We know every year how tough of a team Florida is. They've got everything working for them - pitching, hitting, great fielding ... it's another exciting challenge for us," head coach Lonni Alameda said. "We'll have a lot of our younger players who will get a chance to be a part of this rivalry and it's always something special for our fans to see. We're expecting a good crowd down there in Gainesville and hopefully we'll come out and execute our game plan and get a big win."
The Seminoles (26-10) are 6-8 all-time when playing the Gators in Gainesville. Florida State's last road victory over rival Florida was in 2003. The Seminoles and Gators are positioned high atop the NCAA RPI rankings. In the first unveiling on March 25, Florida is second nationally in the RPI while Florida State is 23rd.
Both teams enter the Wednesday night matchup with quality pitching. Florida is fourth nationally with a 1.41 ERA while Florida State is 16th with a 1.68 ERA.
One of Florida State's top pitchers is sophomore Lacey Waldrop, who earned ACC Co-Pitcher of the Week honors on Tuesday morning. Waldrop defeated North Carolina twice last Sunday and posted a save on the road at Auburn, which defeated Florida once in a three-game set this season.
The Chester, Va. native earned a save at Auburn when she struck out three of her four batters faced to preserve the 6-3 victory. She followed by helping Florida State get a series win over North Carolina on Sunday, starting both games of the Sunday doubleheader. Waldrop finished 2-0 in two games started with an impressive 0.62 ERA.
The Seminoles currently lead the ACC in 13 offensive categories this season, including base hits, RBIs, doubles, triples, home runs and runs scored. Florida State is guided by its two top home run hitters in juniors Courtney Senas and Kelly Hensley, as both show 11 home runs and are in heavy pursuit of the school record of 14 held by former player Yuruby Alicart in 2007.
Senior outfielder Morgan Bullock is putting together her finest year as a Seminole. The slap-hitting outfielder from Dacula, Ga. is batting .330 with four doubles, one triple, 11 RBIs and six sacrifice hits. Bullock has seven multiple-hit games this season, which includes a recent 4-for-4 performance in a 5-4 loss to UNC on March 23 that marked her career high. She began the series with five singles in her first five at-bats.
Redshirt sophomore Maddie O'Brien has currently reached base in nine consecutive games. The well-rounded shortstop who has batted in the cleanup spot in 18 games this season is known for having one of the best plate approaches on the team, showing a team-best 26 walks.
The Gators return another power-hitting group, led by Lauren Haeger's 12 home runs and 44 RBIs. The sophomore from Peoria, Ariz. is second on the team with a .371 batting average, trailing only freshman Kelsey Stewart's .405 clip at the plate. Florida is batting .289 as a team and has produced 45 home runs.
Notable pitching ace Hannah Rogers of Lake Wales, Fla. is 17-2 this season with a 1.13 ERA. Rogers has tossed 11 complete games and posted five shutouts to go along with 122 strikeouts in 124.1 innings pitched.
Circle teammate Alyssa Bache of Clearwater, Fla. has also been outstanding. The sophomore is 5-0 this season with a 0.79 ERA in 10 appearances. Opponents are hitting just .161 off her.
Fans can follow Wednesday's contest via live statistics on CBS GameTracker as well as through Florida State softball's Twitter handle - @FSU_Softball.