Tallahassee, FL - The Florida State University softball team hosts its second tournament this season at JoAnne Graf Field as it squares off against 24th-ranked Kentucky, Middle Tennessee State and Georgia Southern on Feb. 18-20.
“We are excited to get back out on the field again this weekend. It is going to be beautiful weather and the team is ready to go,” head coach Lonni Alameda said. “We have worked on the few things that we needed to from last weekend – that is what this time of year is about in getting better every chance you get. These are growing opportunities for the team and we are thrilled for the challenge of Kentucky, Middle Tennessee State and Georgia Southern.”
The Seminoles (3-3) begin the weekend with a 2:30 p.m. matchup against Georgia Southern, followed by a game against Middle Tennessee State 30 minutes after the conclusion of their previous game. FSU then faces Kentucky on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. before beginning championship play later on Saturday and Sunday.
FSU is coming off an 8-5 victory over Florida A&M last Tuesday, ignited by freshman Kelly Hensley’s pinch-hit two-run home run in the sixth inning that added key insurance runs in the victory. Senior pitcher Sarah Hamilton also aided the Seminoles with her seventh career save after throwing 2.1 shutout innings. Sophomore pitcher Morgan Bullock (2-0) took the win in relief.
Three freshmen in Hensley, catcher Celeste Gomez and centerfielder Courtney Senas have gotten their FSU careers off to a good start. Gomez is 3-for-4 at the plate in two games played, while Senas is 7-for-20 with two extra-base hits and two RBIs in starting all six games. Hensley is 4-for-7 with a home run, one double and four RBIs in five games played.
Alameda will go after a personal milestone this weekend as she looks for her 250th career victory in her eighth season as a head coach. She shows a 248-195-1 career record, including a pair of 44-win seasons since joining FSU in 2009.
FSU has a combined 38-3 record against Georgia Southern and Middle Tennessee State. The Seminoles are 33-3 overall against the Eagles (3-3) and 5-0 all-time versus the Blue Raiders (1-1). This weekend will mark the first time Southeastern Conference opponent Kentucky has faced the Seminoles.
The Wildcats (4-1), who jumped into the Top 25 rankings of the ESPN.com/USA Softball Poll, had a stellar weekend at the season-opening FIU Combat Classic in Miami. Kentucky defeated Ohio State, Florida International, DePaul and North Florida before falling to Memphis in the final game.
Georgia Southern opened its season with two victories over Mercer and two losses to Radford in the Spring Hill Suites 2011 Eagle Classic. The Eagles split a twinbill with Georgia State yesterday, winning game one, 2-1, and losing game two, 3-2.
The Blue Raiders split a doubleheader last weekend against Murray State, winning 16-13 in the first contest and falling 3-2 in the second game. Sophomore pitcher Janele Robinson gave her squad a good performance from the circle in game two, tossing a career-high nine strikeouts.
Fans can follow every game of this weekend’s tournament on CBS GameTracker.