Feb. 15, 2002
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - After posting a 3-2 season-opening record at the Bama Bash, the Terrapin softball squad continues its string of early season tournament play at the Florida State Seminole Classic in Tallahassee this weekend. Fans can once again follow the Terps on the road through live stats on the Internet, courtesy of Florida State Sports Information. Log onto the official website of Maryland athletics at www.umterps.com and click on the link in the "Live Stats" box to follow all of the games, play by play and inning by inning.
The Terrapins will face stiff competition at the Seminole Classic, but may have a slight advantage over most with a weekend's worth of games under their belts. Three of the Terps' opponents this weekend, Penn State, Syracuse and St. John's, have yet to play a game this season. Meanwhile, league rival and preseason No. 15 Florida State is 5-3 after a tough slate at their own Seminole Challenge last weekend, and the Georgia Bulldogs (10-0) have yet to be beaten in 2002.
ACC Player of the Week Samantha Sweeney (Marlton, N.J.) played a key role in the Terrapins' opening weekend at the Bama Bash, achieving all-tournament honors. Sweeney's first all-conference honor was well deserved, as the Maryland leadoff batter put in a .533 effort at the plate which included two doubles, a triple, two RBI and five runs scored. Her four stolen bases tormented opposing defenses, and she posted a .611 on-base percentage and an .800 slugging percentage as well.
Sophomore power pitcher Monica Cyphert (Warren, Ohio) tossed a pair of gems against Evansville and Samford at the Bama Bash to take all-tournament accolades as well. Cyphert allowed zero earned runs and only four base hits in the two games to pace the pitching staff after the Terps' first weekend of action. The fireballer totaled 13 strikeouts in her first 12.0 innings in the pitcher's circle this season.
Terps At The Seminole Classic (all times Eastern):
Fri., Feb. 15 - vs. Penn State - Noon
Fri., Feb. 15 - vs. Syracuse - 2 p.m.
Sat., Feb. 16 - vs. Florida State - 4 p.m.
Sat., Feb. 16 - vs. St. John's - 8 p.m.
Sun., Feb. 17 - vs. Georgia - Noon
Scouting Penn State
The Nittany Lions compiled a 34-28 record last season and made their second straight trip to the NCAA Regional Tournament.
Senior captain and base stealing threat Gina Bianchini returns to the outfield after sitting out last season due to an injury. Bianchini was named to the All-Big Ten team and hit .337.
Sophomore Marisa Hanson will be the only experienced starting pitcher on this year's squad. She posted a 12-14 record and 2.12 ERA last season. Sophomore Shana Riggleman and freshmen Missy Beseres and Tina Skelly will complete Penn State's pitching staff.
Third baseman Jennifer Tripken returns to the Nittany Lions for her senior season. Tripken is second on the team's all-time walks list (59). She was also earned a spot on the All-NCAA Region-3 Tournament team after hitting .364 with two runs scored and one RBI.
The Orangewomen return six starters from last year's team that posted a 19-28 record.
Centerfielder Christina Holowich was named to the Preseason All-Big East team. Last season Holowich hit .316, a Syracuse single-season record.
Senior Heather Brown and junior Tara DiMaggio will lead Syracuse's pitching staff. Brown led the team in wins (10) and DiMaggio had a team-low 1.51 ERA last season.
Scouting Florida State
Head coach JoAnne Graf's No. 15 Seminoles were picked to finish atop the ACC in the ACC Coaches' Preseason Poll.
Florida State began the season 5-3, with losses last weekend to Florida Atlantic, No. 9 Washington and No. 22 South Carolina in the Seminole Challenge.
Florida State owns an all-time 20-3 mark against Maryland in the series history.
Junior second baseman Brandi Stuart started the season batting .556. Last season Stuart earned All-America honors and led the Seminoles in seven offensive categories.
Seminole pitcher and 2001 ACC Rookie of the Year Jessica van der Linden is off to a 3-1 start this season.
Scouting St. John's
The Red Storm was picked to place seventh in the Big East Preseason Coaches' Poll after a sixth place finish in conference play during 2001.
Senior outfielder Kelly Houghton returns to the lineup this season. Houghton led St. John's with 9 home runs during 2001.
Junior Courtney Fitzgerald will lead the Red Storm pitching staff. Last season she posted a 1.96 ERA and threw seven shutouts.
Georgia rolls into the Seminole Classic with a 10-0 record. Maryland owns an all-time 2-1 record against the Lady Bulldogs.
Shortstop Michelle Tyree is batting .448 with 11 RBI and currently leads the Georgia offense in both categories.
The pitching trio of Nichole Urban, Lacey Gardner and Michelle Green threw complete game shutouts against Marshall, Stetson and Purdue at the UCF/Triple Crown Sports Tournament last weekend. The shutouts were Urban and Green's first of the year. Gardner's victory over Stetson was her third shutout this season.
The Lady Bulldogs have a total of 24 stolen bases on the season. Last year they led the SEC with 134 steals in 150 tries, which put them third on the conference's all-time team steals list.