TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) – With the ACC regular season title already in hand and the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament assured, No. 22 Florida State softball is still looking to enhance its overall résumé as it travels to Georgia Tech for a three-game set this weekend on April 27-28.
The two conference rivals will square off in a doubleheader slated for Saturday beginning at 1 and 3 p.m. at Shirley Clements Mewborn Field in Atlanta, Ga. The series finale on Sunday starts at 1 p.m. All three games will air on ESPN3.
“This is a huge series for us. Georgia Tech is always difficult to beat at their place,” head coach Lonni Alameda said. “As usual, they’ve got another talented offensive team that can put runs up in a hurry and they’ve always been able to hit well at home. It will be a challenge for our pitchers but we think they are up for it. The important thing to stress is that while it’s nice to have the conference regular season title wrapped up, the make-or-break point of the season is coming up and everything you do now prepares you for that time of the year.”
No. 22 Florida State is 46-26 all-time against Georgia Tech, including 35-16 as ACC opponents. The Seminoles have not won a road series against the Yellow Jackets (22-27, 7-8) since 2003. Georgia Tech is currently in fifth place in the conference but has two ACC series remaining.
Last season, both teams split at 2-2. In the regular season, Florida State defeated Georgia Tech at home in two of three games, with each game being decided by one run. In the ACC Tournament in 2012, Georgia Tech defeated Florida State 9-1.
Florida State is trying to get to the 40-win mark this weekend, which would mark the 30th time in school history they have reached the 40-win plateau. Since the current 21-game format in ACC play began in 2006, the most wins Florida State has put together in conference action is 17 in 2009. In that season, which was Alameda’s first year at FSU, the Noles finished 17-4. If the Noles can win two of three on the road in Atlanta, they will have set the school’s all-time mark for ACC victories in the regular season.
Sophomore pitcher Lacey Waldrop recorded her fifth career ACC Pitcher of the Week award on Tuesday. The Chester, Va. native earned the award after pitching superbly against two of her home state schools in Virginia Tech and Virginia last week. In three games started, Waldrop finished 3-0 with three complete games, a 1.66 ERA and 16 strikeouts.
Redshirt senior pitcher Monica Perry has been terrific against ACC foes this season, showing a 5-0 record with a team-leading 1.30 ERA. In nine appearances, including six games started, the Whitesburg, Ga. native has struck out 40 in 37.2 innings pitched.
As of the latest NCAA rankings released through games played April 21, Florida State leads the nation both in triples per game (0.4) and total triples (21).
The Noles’ 21 triples this season is four more than the next highest opponents in Florida (17) and Florida Gulf Coast (17). Five Seminoles in Courtney Senas (5), Morgan Bullock (4), Maddie O’Brien (3), Victoria East (2) and Tiffani Brown (2) have recorded more than one triple this season.
Georgia Tech junior shortstop Ashley Thomas has had another outstanding year and is batting .433 with 51 runs scored and a .539 on-base percentage. The McKinney, Texas native also leads the team with 33 stolen bases.
Alysha Rudnik is hitting .400 and has registered a team-leading 14 doubles. Power hitter Hope Rush, a senior, has 16 home runs and 49 RBIs while batting .317. Rush has also been Georgia Tech’s top pitcher, totaling 12 wins, three shutouts and 70 strikeouts.