FSU softball: Michaela Edenfield out, Noles host Notre Dame in ACC play

Florida State softball played its annual Garnet & Gold Scrimmage on Saturday, Feb. 3, 2024 at / Ehsan Kassim/Tallahassee Democrat / USA

 

FSU softball (28-10, 9-3 ACC) will host the Notre Dame Fighting Irish (23-14, 6-7 ACC) in a three-game series this weekend but will be without one of their most important players, Michaela Edenfield. The FSU catcher and slugger broke a finger last week and will be out for an extended period after having surgery. Katie Dack and Madi Frey will attempt to fill the void left by Edenfield’s absence. Dack has started in 11 of 31 games this season, batting .282 with two home runs and seven RBI. Dack played an important role on last year’s team after transferring, hitting .299 with 11 home runs and 37 RBI. Edenfield leads the team with 11 home runs and second with a .398 batting average and a .520 on-base percentage. Notre Dame has lost their last two ACC series, winning one of three games in both. They bring a .302 batting average and a .379 on-base percentage into the series. They don’t have much power, with only 23 home runs and only strikeout 13 percent of their at-bats. Notre Dame pitchers bring a 4.15 ERA into the contest, with 197 strikeouts and 101 walks in 244.1 innings. Opposing batters hit .289 against them, and allowed 29 home runs. Defensively, Notre Dame has a .967 fielding percentage. 

 

FSU will continue without Allison Royalty, so it’ll be a steady dose of Makenna Reid and Ashtyn Danley in the circle. These two ladies have pitched much better than earlier in the season. The key continues to be getting ahead in counts and avoiding walks. If they can do that, I think they should fare well against this team that doesn’t hit a ton of home runs. Offensively, FSU hitters must improve with runners in scoring positions because they wasted too many scoring opportunities lately. Notre Dame pitchers allow many hits and will issue their share of walks. It’s staying patient and taking advantage of the opportunities while playing good defense. FSU will miss Edenfield no doubt, but Dack has proven she can hit at this level. This will be a series FSU needs to win to keep their positive momentum within the conference. They have won the last three ACC series (8-1 ACC) since dropping the Duke series. Friday’s game will begin at 6 p.m. and will air on the ACCNX channel.

 

NEXT: 5 Reasons FSU Offense Will Be Better in 2024

 

Florida State softball played its annual Garnet & Gold Scrimmage on Saturday, Feb. 3, 2024 at / Ehsan Kassim/Tallahassee Democrat / USA

 

FSU softball (28-10, 9-3 ACC) defeated the Louisville Cardinals 4-3 in Sunday’s rubber match to win their third consecutive ACC series. The Noles lost Friday’s game in walk-off fashion in the bottom of the seventh inning. That could have taken the wind out of their sales, but they responded with a strong 8-4 win on Saturday for Coach Alameda’s 900th career win, and came from behind to take Sunday’s game. FSU pitching was handled mostly by Makenna Reid and Ashtyn Danley, with Emma Wilson providing some meaningful innings as the Sunday starter. FSU pitchers walked too many batters (12) this weekend and only struck out 18. However, they managed to limit the damage to keep FSU within striking distance in every game. The FSU offense was frustrating because they failed to take advantage of their opportunities with runners in scoring position. They didn’t have a ton of hits this weekend. They had five in game one, but Louisville pitchers issued five walks, and FSU only managed four runs. The offense in game two was much better, banging out 10 hits and scoring eight runs.

 

However, Sunday’s game saw the offense have six hits and only two walks. I know the umpire’s strike zone left a lot to be desired this weekend, but the offense will have to be better against better teams. Nevertheless, it was a road series win, and the Noles had opportunities to earn their third consecutive ACC sweep but couldn’t capitalize when they had runners in scoring position. It was the second straight weekend they’ve been without Allison Royalty’s arm, which highlights the importance of Reid and Danley keeping the Noles in games to allow the offense to put runs up. The offense never had several of its hitters locked in at any point. They only had two players with multiple hits in each game. Michaela Edenfield and Isa Torres had a big game at the plate in game two. Jaysoni Beachum and Jahni Kerr were the only two Noles with two hits in game three. The Noles will not have any midweek games this week as they prepare to welcome Notre Dame to Tallahassee for a three-game series next Friday.

 

 

Gideon Canice

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