PERRYED ALIVE. FSU Softball had lots of big wins last week going 4-1! The Noles notched two victories over Florida Gulf Coast University on Thursday, and two big wins over ACC rival North Carolina (Game 1 of the Sunday doubleheader and last night's nationally televised contest). The Noles are 33-6 overall (20-1 at home, UNC was the first to hand FSU a loss at JoAnne Graf Field this year) and 8-1 in ACC play (1st place). It was a HUGE week for FSU.
I was able to check out the FGCU series on Thursday in person. Thanks to the handy dandy XBOX 360 ESPN App, I watched the Sunday doubleheader and checked out the last two innings of last nights rubber game on ESPNU.
Personal notes after the jump >>>------|>
I can't say enough good things about the FSU pitching staff at this point. Monica Perry is all business on the mound and is definitely the ace of the staff. Lacey Waldrop continues to throw really well and she mixes her pitches nicely (I realize a lot of that is on Coach Alameda calling the game). Bailey Schinella and Jessica Nori both gave solid performances in their appearances over the past week. It's wonderful to think that we get the ENTIRE staff back next year. I don't have stats through last night (Seminoles.com hasn't updated yet) but if my eyeball calculations are correct the team ERA remains at 0.88 for the season after playing their best ACC competition.
That. Is. Awesome.
Defensively the Noles remain solid. Defense is like IT work: Nobody really talks about it until something goes wrong. There's not a lot going wrong for FSU right now, however, the whacked out stat of the week was UNC's clown show in Game 1 with 6 (6!) errors in the Noles' 8-3 victory. One recent change Coach Alameda made was in LF, adding Kirstin Austin's bat in the #9 spot. The change takes FSU from a lefty to a righty in LF. ESPN harped on how "traditionally you want a lefty in LF because their glove is to the line" blah blah blah blah. That's fine and dandy, but ESPN failed to mention Austin is hitting 60 points higher than Morgan Bullock and her OBP is 80 points higher. (Bullock's .229 average is very odd to me this year since she's a .290 career hitter in her first two seasons. Injury? Slump?)
Offensively, the 1-3 spot came through big. Against FGCU, the 1-3 hitters pounded out 12 hits. It was really fun to see some of Maddie O'Brien's hits drop in finally. She's had a very good eye at the plate and has made great contact most of the year. The hits are finally starting to fall. Also, big credit to Tiffani Brown and Shayla Jackson our 1-2 punch at the top of the order. They are over .300 BA (along with Courtney Senas) and their speed gives us a huge advantage when they get on base. Also, Briana Hamilton broke out of her slump long enough in Game 1 against UNC to provide 3 big RBI that put the victory away for FSU.
Through April 1:
Noles O improved 11 spots in BA (98th now up from 109), 9 spots in scoring (68 up from 77) and dropped 24 spots in HR per game (146, down from 122). To be fair, we're not a power team and we faced a good UNC pitching staff. The Pitching staff remains 4th in the country in Team ERA and Monica Perry is 32nd nationally in K / per game (8.5) and 4th in ERA (0.71).
Hopefully the mid season doldrums are over and the bats are waking up. It's especially encouraging to see spots 1-3 in the lineup produce so well. If that trend continues it makes FSU awfully tough to beat.
FGCU Bonus Notes:
I had an excellent time catching up with Coach Deiros from FGCU. The more things change, the more they stay the same. He's the same guy I remember as a 14 year old. Respectful, smart and a lot of fun to be around. Most importantly he's still a great teacher. I'm very thankful that I had the opportunity to catch up with him a bit. That's one great thing about college softball, there is an opportunity for fan interaction thanks to the setting. I wish Coach D the best in his Atlantic Sun schedule and hopefully the NCAA Tournanment (unless he's playing FSU, like I told him, I'm all Nole).
ACC Umpiring Notes:
Fear not everybody, they're just as bad in softball as they are in every other ACC sport. At least the ACC is consistent?
Special Stats for Coach Travis Wilson
Via Twitter from @FSU_CoachWilson this morning "@ScalpEmOfficial can't wait for your article comparing this years teams win total to last years :) #thanksforfollowingus"
Through 39 games:
I'll also note that the 2011 team finished 32-28 overall (good job by the 2012 team to have already topped the 2011 mark), with one big thing attached to their report card: ACC Champions. The 2012 team is TBD. Let's go get another one!
See you next week!
Season FSU Softball Statistics (take them for what they're worth, which isn't always much).