TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) – The Florida State softball team begins its 2012 fall schedule this weekend with the Garnet and Gold scrimmage on Saturday, Sept. 29 at 11 a.m. at JoAnne Graf Field. Florida State then hosts Florida State College at Jacksonville at 1 p.m.
The two events this weekend kick off a 13-game schedule this fall that includes five intra-squad games and eight contests against other colleges and universities. Highlighting the exhibition slate are two games against Southeastern Conference opponent Georgia at home on Saturday, Oct. 20 at noon and 2 p.m.
“We are excited to get working toward a new season,” head coach Lonni Alameda said. “We have many returning players this year and look forward to the depth that our very talented rookie class brings us. We have a great fall schedule ahead with many scrimmages and games for fans to attend. The biggest challenge will be facing SEC foe Georgia on the 20th of October which will be a great doubleheader to watch.”
The other games include two contests on Saturday, Oct. 6, starting with the Garnet and Gold scrimmage at 11 a.m. and facing Tallahassee Community College at 1 p.m. On Oct. 7, Florida State plays another intra-squad scrimmage at 11 a.m. followed by a home game against Valdosta State at 1 p.m.
On Oct 13, Florida State heads to highly-regarded Aeronautical University Embry Riddle for a pair of games. The Seminoles and Embry Riddle will play on Oct. 13 at 6 p.m., followed by a Sunday game time that is still to be determined.
On Oct. 26, a Garnet and Gold scrimmage at 3:30 p.m. is followed by a 6 p.m. home game against Palm Beach Atlantic. The fall season culminates with the annual Garnet and Gold World Series at 11 a.m. on Nov. 3.
The upcoming 2013 softball season is filled with much anticipation as Florida State welcomes back all four of its all-conference performers in seniors Tiffani Brown, Briana Hamilton, Monica Perry and sophomore Lacey Waldrop.
Every pitcher from last year’s squad that boasted a 1.53 team earned run average comes back, led by Perry, Waldrop, redshirt junior Jessica Nori and sophomore Bailey Schinella. The entire starting infield returns which includes catchers Erika Leonard and Celeste Gomez, first baseman Kelly Hensley, Brown at second base, Maddie O’Brien at shortstop and Hamilton at third base.
Florida State’s outfield comes back nearly intact with the exception of former right fielder Shayla Jackson, who finished with a .324 career batting average. Seniors Kirstin Austin and Morgan Bullock as well as junior Courtney Senas and sophomore Erika Hoffner return after strong seasons in 2012.
Aside from the large number of returnees, Florida State also boasts an impressive freshman class. Redondo Beach, Calif., native Alex Kossoff, an outfielder, provides the Seminoles plenty of speed on the basepaths and was ranked 92nd in the ESPN Top 100 signees of 2012.
Also making her freshman debut is NFCA First-Team High School All-American Stephanie Hartness, an outfield from Niceville, Fla. Utility players Victoria East (Pensacola, Fla.), Alex Powers (Melbourne, Fla.) and Kaitlin Allen (Tulsa, Okla.) also add quality depth.
In the circle, two new faces join in freshman pitcher Jessica Burroughs (Houston County, Ga.) and Tallahassee Community College transfer Emily Smethurst (Brighton East, Victoria, Australia).
Florida State has been selected to 13 consecutive NCAA Regionals, making it one of just 11 Division I schools to earn a postseason bid in every year since 2000. The Seminoles’ 47-16 overall record in 2012 marked their highest win total since going 62-12 in 2004.