TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) – The Florida State softball team prepares for its opening weekend of conference play by traveling to Raleigh, N.C., where it will face NC State in a Saturday doubleheader streamed on ESPN3.com, followed by a single game on Sunday at Dail Stadium.
The Seminoles (14-8) play the Wolfpack (11-5-1) beginning at 1 p.m. on Saturday, with an approximate start time of 3 p.m. for the second game of the doubleheader. On Sunday, the two teams square off at noon before Florida State begins a seven-game homestand next week.
“Every conference game is crucial. We’re at the point where we have gotten our feet wet nearly a month into the season and now we play these all-important ACC games,” head coach Lonni Alameda said. “NC State has a lot of talent on their team. We’re hoping to hit our stride right in the beginning of ACC season and to do that we need to keep swinging our bats well. This will be a good test for us this weekend and hopefully we come away with it having accomplished a few things.”
Florida State and NC State have met 29 times, with the Seminoles owning a 20-9 edge. The last time Florida State dropped a regular-season series to NC State was in 2007. Last season, the Seminoles defeated NC State in all four games, including a 6-2 win in the first round of the ACC Championship. Two years ago in its last trip to Raleigh, Florida State took two of three games.
Despite Florida State’s injuries to three key starters and two possible starters in the fall, the Seminoles are batting 31 points higher through 22 games compared to last season (.295 in 2013, .264 in 2012). The Seminoles raised their batting average by eight points in their last outing, an 8-0 win over Presbyterian in six innings on Tuesday. Senior outfielder Kirstin Austin had a career-best performance going 3-for-4 and falling just a triple shy of the cycle.
Junior Courtney Senas is going for the team’s Triple Crown award - she leads Florida State with a .338 batting average and 25 RBIs and her five home runs are one shy of Kelly Hensley’s team-leading six round-trippers. Both Senas and Hensley recorded home runs last game against Presbyterian.
Florida State is 14-1 this season when scoring three runs or more. Its lone loss of the season when reaching the 3-run threshold was in a 6-3 loss to Troy last Friday, March 1. The Seminoles are also 14-1 when they score first.
The Seminoles are outscoring their opponents 129-48 through the first 22 games this season. The greatest disparity between the Seminoles and the opposition has been in the fifth inning, where Florida State has a 35-3 advantage in runs scored. The Seminoles have also outscored their opponents 28-3 in the first inning and 28-11 in the third frame.
NC State has a potent offensive lineup, led by Scout Albertson’s .417 batting average. Sophomore shortstop Renada Davis, the reigning ACC Freshman of the Year, already has nine home runs for the Wolfpack and is batting .276.
The prominent pitcher for NC State has been sophomore Emily Weiman, who is 10-4 with a 2.05 ERA and has 79 strikeouts in 88 innings pitched. In 15 appearances, Weiman has surrendered just one home run this season.
NC State has defeated Kansas two times in three chances, and also topped common opponent Troy on Feb. 23 by a 9-1 score in six innings. The Seminoles and Wolfpack are both on four-game win streaks entering Saturday first game of the twinbill.
Fans can access this weekend’s doubleheader by either logging into their television service provider account on ESPN3.com or through the WatchESPN app. Participating providers of ESPN3.com include Bright House Networks, Cablevision – Optimum, Charter, Comcast XFINITY, Cox, Midcontinent Communications, Time Warner Cable and Verizon FIOS.
For those who cannot access this weekend’s content, live statistics will be available on CBS GameTracker and in-game Twitter updates will be provided on Florida State softball’s official Twitter handle - @FSU_Softball.