Softball Heads South for Tournament Hosted by No. 22 FSU
Feb. 14, 2007
For Immediate Release
Head coach Windy Thees returns to her alma mater as her University of Memphis softball team (4-2) competes in a four-game tournament hosted by No. 22 Florida State University (5-0) in Tallahassee, Fla., on Friday and Saturday. Along with the tournament host, the field includes Kansas (2-2-1), South Carolina (5-0) and Jacksonville (1-4).
"I'm excited to take this team back to where I played," Thees said. "College is full of great memories for me, and I hope it will be a great experience for my players as well. We're still itching for that first top 25-top 30 win, and hopefully we can get it against my alma mater. That would be icing on the cake for me going down there and winning that tournament"
Thees was a four-year starter at both catcher and second base at FSU from 1993-97. She helped lead the Seminoles to three ACC Championships and made the All-ACC Tournament Team twice, including once as a freshman. Thees was voted the team's Most Inspirational Player all four seasons and served as team captain her senior year. She earned her bachelor's degree in marketing and multinational business from FSU. Thees is tied for 10th all time at Florida State in single season walks with 30.
Thees will be united with her former coach Dr. JoAnne Graf, who is just 40 wins shy of becoming the first coach in softball history to record 1,400 wins. In 29+ seasons at FSU, Graf has compiled a 1,360-424-6 record.
"She's a big reason why I coach," Thees said. "She's such a great inspiration to me. Hopefully, someday I'll have half as many wins and stay in it as long as she has."
The Lady Tigers will begin the tournament by playing Jacksonville on Friday at 9:30 a.m. (EST) at JoAnne Graffe Field and then will face South Carolina at 1:30 p.m. (EST). On Saturday, Memphis will begin its day at 3:30 p.m. (EST) against Florida State and finish with Kansas at 5:30 p.m. (EST). Sunday is left open as a rain date if needed.
LIVE COVERAGE: Live stats of all of this weekend's games are available online. Live audio will also be available for the South Carolina game. A CSTV XXL All-Access or South Carolina All-Access subscription is required to view the feed. Live video will be available for the Florida State game. An ACC All-Event Pass subscription is required to view the feed. A free 15-day trial to the service is available. A link to the live coverage is available on the Memphis softball schedule page at www.gotigersgo.com.
LAST WEEK: Memphis travels to Tallahassee, Fla., to compete in the Sunshine State Tournament hosted by No. 22 Florida State (5-0) on Friday and Saturday. Along with the tournament host, the field includes Kansas (2-2-1), South Carolina (5-0) and Jacksonville (1-4). The Lady Tigers will begin the tournament by playing Jacksonville on Friday at 9:30 a.m. (EST) at JoAnne Graffe Field and then will face South Carolina at 2:30 p.m. (EST). On Saturday, Memphis will begin its day at 5 p.m. (EST) against Florida State and finish with Kansas at 7:30 p.m. (EST). Sunday is left open as a rain date if needed.
NEXT WEEK: After weather postponed a home doubleheader with Alcorn State to a yet to be determined date, Memphis will use the Blues City Classic as its home opener beginning on Friday, Feb. 23. The Lady Tigers will host a field of teams that include Alabama A&M, Central Arkansas, Evansville, Mississippi Valley State and SEMO with games being played at Greenbrook Park in Southaven, Miss. Two games will take place concurrently on Friday and Saturday with game times at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Sunday will be a bracket challenge beginning with the No. 4 seed facing No. 5 at 10 a.m. The winner of that game will then play the No. 1 seed at noon, and the No. 2 seed will play No. 3 at the same time. The championship game will be played at 2 p.m. Memphis will begin its play in the tournament on Friday at 11 a.m. against Mississippi Valley State and then will play SEMO at 1 p.m. On Saturday the Lady Tigers will play Evansville at 1 p.m. and Alabama A&M at 3 p.m. This is the second year that Memphis has put together a tournament. Last year the tournament was canceled due to weather.
LIVE WEB AUDIO BROADCASTS FOR HOME GAMES: Tiger fans can now listen live as nearly all of the University of Memphis softball team's 2007 home games will be broadcast on the Internet beginning with the home opener in the Blues City Classic against Mississippi Valley State and SEMO on Friday, Feb. 23. The games will be called by 2005 U of M graduate Daniel O'Brien. Since 2002, O'Brien has been the news and sports director for the University of Memphis radio station, WUMR. With WUMR, he has called Tiger football, basketball, baseball and Lady Tiger basketball. Fans can find links to the broadcasts on the Memphis softball schedule page at GoTigersGo.com. The live audio is being carried through CSTV All-Access.
JACKSONVILLE TRENDS: Jacksonville (1-4) began the season with a home tournament and lost the first four games before putting together a 3-0 shutout over UNC-Greensboro. The Dolphins lost 11-1 and 1-0 to Minnesota and also fell 7-2 to Southern Illinois and 3-1 to SIU. Jacksonville returns eight players from the 2006 squad which fell two games shy of making the A-Sun Tournament. They are led by first year head coach Amanda Lehotak, a 2003 graduate of Nebraska-Omaha. Lehotak is the third coach in the school's history and took over after serving as the top assistant for the program under Melissa Gentile in 2006. The Dolphins finished 22-37 in 2006 and 6-14 in the Atlantic Sun Conference. They were picked to finish eighth in the conference's preseason coaches poll. This will be the first meeting between Jacksonville and Memphis.
SCOUTING THE DOLPHINS: Jacksonville will use 13 underclassmen in 2007 and faces one of its toughest schedules in school history. Leading the team's returnees is sophomore catcher Beth Glasscock and senior RHP Katie Buell. Glasscock became the third Dolphin in four seasons to earn all-freshman team honors after tying for first in home runs (3) and ranking second in doubles (10). Buell is slated to have a breakout campaign after coming on strong late last year and having a dominant fall. Through five games, the team is hitting .193 and has a 6.03 ERA. Junior infielder Patricia Melo leads the team with a .364 batting average and freshman catcher Ashley Mora leads the team in doubles (4) and RBI (2). The Dolphins have relied on three pitchers thus far in 2007. Freshman RHP Ashley Iveson leads the team with a 0.87 ERA in 10.1 innings pitched and has the team's lone victory. Iveson pitched all seven innings of a 3-0 shutout over UNC-Greensboro and struck out five, while scattering five hits.
SOUTH CAROLINA TRENDS: The Gamecocks (5-0) opened the 2007 season on the road at the FAU Miken Invitational in Boca Raton, Fla. In the tournament, South Carolina outscored its opponents 20-7 to win the tournament championship. The Gamecocks put together opening shutouts of Pittsburgh, 3-0, and North Florida, 4-0, before beating Miami-Ohio, 3-2; and tournament host FAU twice, 7-4 and 3-1 in the championship game. South Carolina is picked to finish fourth in the Preseason Southeastern Conference Eastern Division. The Gamecocks finished ninth overall in the SEC last year after finishing 8-21 in the conference and 28-30 overall. The team is coached by Joyce Compton (980-447-3 overall, 865-370-3 USC) who is in her 20th year with USC and 24th overall. During her tenure, Compton has led South Carolina to 12 NCAA appearances and two World Series. Memphis and South Carolina have met one time previously. USC won the 2006 neutral meeting, 2-1, at the University of North Carolina Tournament in Chapel Hill, N.C. USC will play Western Carolina at home on Wednesday before arriving at the tournament.
SCOUTING THE GAMECOCKS: Senior catcher McKenna Hughes was named MVP of the FAU Miken Invitational. Hughes led the team in home runs (7), RBIs (29), total bases (77) and slugging percentage (.438) in 2006. Junior outfielder Jessica Josker and sophomore utility Ashton Payne also return after finishing first and second respectively on the team in batting average. With two home runs in the first week, Hughes is one shy of becoming USC's all-time leader. The current record is 24 held by Joyce McMillin (1998-2001). Through the first five games, Hughes leads the team with a .500 batting average and has seven RBI and four runs scored. Payne is second on the team in hitting with a .450 average. Junior Melissa Hendon leads the team in pitching with a 0.47 ERA in 15 innings and has 22 strikeouts. Hendon picked up a season opening two-hit shutout against Pittsburgh. Junior Kate Pouliot leads the team in wins and is 3-0 with a 0.58 ERA in 12 innings with 18 strikeouts. The Gamecocks are hitting .320 as a team and boast a 0.74 team ERA.
FLORIDA STATE TRENDS: The Seminoles moved up three spots in both national polls to No. 22 after starting the season 5-0. Florida State opened the season by hosting the Seminole Classic. FSU opened with a 13-5, five-inning victory against Samford and then shutout Florida A&M, 5-0, and beat Radford, 2-1, to play in the tournament's championship game. In the championship, the Seminoles beat Samford 8-0 in six innings. Florida State then defeated Georgia Southern in Statesboro, Ga., 11-2 on Tuesday. Last season, Florida State was just two wins away from the College World Series. The team finished the year 44-30 and fifth in the ACC with a 10-10 record. The Seminoles were tabbed to finish second in the ACC preseason poll. Head coach Dr. JoAnne Graf is just 40 wins shy of becoming the first coach in softball history to record 1,400 wins. In 29+ seasons at FSU, Graf has compiled a 1,360-424-6 record. The team returns six position starters and all three of its starting pitchers. This will be the first meeting between Florida State and Memphis.
SCOUTING THE SEMINOLES: Florida State is led by two-time All-American senior second basemanVeronica Wootson, who was named a preseason All-American by ESPN.com and earned a spot on the USA Softball Player of the Year Watch List. Junior RHP Tiffany McDonald was second in the country last year with 329.1 innings pitched and 57 appearances. Her inning total set a school and ACC record. Through five games, freshman catcher Robin Ahrberg leads the team with a .538 batting average and hast eight RBI and a .615 slugging percentage. Wootson is tied for second on the team with a .500 average and leads the team with 13 runs scored. McDonald leads the team in ERA and has not allowed a run in 15 innings pitched. She is 2-0 with 19 strikeouts. Freshman RHP Terese Gober is also 2-0 and has a 1.75 ERA in 12 innings and 13 strikeouts. The Seminoles are hitting .393 and are keeping opponents to a .157 batting average with a 1.09 team ERA.
KANSAS TRENDS: The Jayhawks began the season 2-2-1 with both losses coming against top 10 teams in the Campbell-Cartier Classic in San Diego, Calif. Kansas opened the season with a 3-2 victory over UC Santa Barbara and then fell 8-0 to No. 10 Cal and 7-0 to No. 6 Oregon State. KU ended the tournament with a 3-2 win against San Diego State and a 1-1 tie with No. 23 UMass. The defending Big 12 Champs reached its second-straight NCAA Regionals bid last season. The team lost six seniors, including All-American Serena Settlemier, and brings in eight newcomers for 2007. Kansas was picked to finish sixth in the Preseason Big 12 Coaches Poll. The team is led by Tracy Bunge, who is in her 11th season with the team. Bunge has amassed a 320-273-2 record during her coaching tenure at KU and a mark of 768-549-3 in 24 years on the collegiate diamond as both a coach and student-athlete. This will be the first meeting between Kansas and Memphis.
SCOUTING THE JAYHAWKS: Leading Kansas in the circle is senior RHP Kassie Humphreys, who was a 2006 All-Big 12 First Team selection and led the Jayhawk staff with a 1.19 ERA and 262 strikeouts through 234.2 innings last year. Through five games, sophomore catcher Elle Pottorf leads the team with a .455 batting average and has two doubles and three RBI. Sophomore outfielder Dougie McCaulley is second on the team with a .400 average. Humphreys earned both of the Jayhawk's wins this season and has a 2.37 ERA with 14 strikeouts in 19 innings. The team is hitting a combined .252 and has a 4.06 team ERA while its opponents have boasted a 0.90 ERA against KU.
MOTT BALL: Freshman shortstop Heather Mott put on an incredible display of power in her opening collegiate weekend. Mott hit four home runs, all too deep center field, in a six-game tournament hosted by LSU. The Pensacola, Fla., native began the season with two-straight hits and ended the tournament with a three home run day; including a sixth inning solo shot that sent the championship game against No. 5 LSU to extra innings and broke up a no-hitter. Mott had eight RBI in the tournament, six runs scored and is second on the team with a .368 batting average.
NO! NO!: Senior RHP Jenna Kubesch threw her third no-hitter for Memphis in two years with a seven-inning hitless effort against Middle Tennessee. The Weimar, Texas, native retired the first 10 batters in order before allowing a walk. MTSU managed only three base runners in the game. Kubesch struck out eight and took away a potential hit with outstanding defense. The three no-hitters is fourth all-time in Conference USA. Last season, Kubesch threw a seven-inning no-hitter against Southern Miss and a five-inning perfect game against Grambling State.