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Blue Devils and Tigers lie ahead: FSU softball ACC preview

New and old foes for FSU this season in ACC competition

Photo by Perrone Ford via FSU Athletics

In what is typically a top-heavy conference, this year the ACC has shown some improvement, with FSU leading the charge. Last year, FSU finished at the top of the mountain in the ACC, winning the conference title for the sixth consecutive year. They finished with an impressive 19-5 conference record, only dropping games to Louisville, North Carolina and Notre Dame.

Here’s a look at the notable competition that the ‘Noles will face.

Duke Blue Devils

Current Record: (22-4 Overall, 1-2 ACC)

Fri., March 13 through Sun., Mar. 15

This year, Florida State will open conference play with Duke Blue Devils in Durham. The Blue Devils are only in their 3rd season under head coach Marissa Young, but have shown great growth. The pitching for this squad is lead by Juniors Brianna Butler and Peyton St. George. St. George was the winning pitcher when Duke stunned #4 ranked Texas 1-0 in Austin. The difference in that game came from Sophomore Caroline Jacobsen, who singled off of the Texas ace. So far, that win in the Forty Acres was the only one against ranked competition for Duke.

Louisville Cardinals

Current Record: (10-13 Overall, 0-0 ACC)

Fri., March 20 through Sun., March 22 (ACC Network)

FSU’s first home ACC series will be against the Louisville Cardinals, who have proven to be pesky against the ‘Noles. Last year, in dramatic fashion, the Cardinal’s broke FSU’s 52 ACC series streak. This was the first ACC series loss for the ‘Noles since 2012. This year the Cardinals’ will be missing a key part of their pitching staff in Danielle Watson. Watson transferred to FSU during the fall season and is currently in her redshirt season.

So far, the only signature wins have been against #10 Oregon, giving the Ducks their first loss of the season. In addition, knocking off #21 Ole Miss to start the season.

Clemson Tigers

Current Record: (18-8 Overall, 5-1 ACC)

Fri., April 17 through Sun., April 19 (ACC Network, ACC Network Extra)

The ‘Noles will also face the new team on the block in the ACC, the Clemson Tigers who are in their first year of softball. This will be the inaugural series between the ‘Noles and the Tigers, and FSU will have a good Tiger team to go up against. In their first season, Clemson has good record and has players competing at a high level. Head coach John Rittman has put together a group that is not afraid to swing the bat. Junior Marissa Guimbarda is currently 1 of 2 players in the country with 10 or more homeruns. Freshman Valerie Cagle leads the team in batting average, runs score, hits, RBI’s, and total bases. In their short existence, the Tigers pitching staff have already posted a no hitter, swept their first ACC series, and claimed the series victory against Pitt.

Key Changes

FSU will also see the loss of two key players in the state of Virginia. Before the 2020 season, both Haley Busby (Virginia) and Carrie Eberle (Virginia Tech) transferred to Oklahoma State. Last year, Eberle was the 2019 ACC pitcher of the year, as well as earning first team All-ACC honors.

At Virginia, Busby was a big bat for the Cavaliers. For the 2019 season, Busby was second in the conference in doubles, sixth in slugging, and seventh in batting average. She started all 53 games for Virginia and earned ACC player of the week honors once.

Important ACC Players

  • Keely Rochard, Pitcher, Virginia Tech
  • Valerie Cagle, Pitcher/Utility, Clemson
  • Caroline Jacobsen, Outfield, Duke
  • Alexis Holloway, Pitcher, Notre Dame
  • Abby Sweet, Infield/Outfield, Notre Dame
  • Cassady Greenwood, Catcher, Louisville