Softball hosts No. 22 Florida State on Wednesday

The JU softball team will look to stay perfect at home as the Dolphins host No. 23 Florida State for a single game at the JU Softball Complex. First pitch is set for 5:30 p.m.

The Dolphins (7-1), who are receiving votes in the latest Ultimate Collegiate Softball poll, bounced back from their 6-1 defeat to Florida on Feb. 17 with three straight shutouts against Presbyterian College (2/20-21) at home. The Seminoles (10-1) recorded five straight shutout wins to take their home tournament last weekend.

Last season, Florida State swept JU (5-0, 10-0) in Tallahassee to take a 12-4 lead in the all-times series. The Dolphins’ last win against the Seminoles came in 2008 with a 5-2 decision at the Seminole Classic.

Following the Florida State matchup, the Dolphins will travel to Conway, S.C. for the Kickin' Chicken Classic starting Friday.

JU will open with Eastern Kentucky at 11 a.m. and finish the day with Canisius at 4 p.m. The Dolphins play DePaul on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. before facing the Colonels again at 4:45 p.m. They close the tournament with host Coastal Carolina on Sunday at 2:30 p.m.

Among the participants, the Dolphins have only played Canisius and Coastal Carolina during their seven-year existence. JU split a doubleheader at home against the Golden Griffins in 2008, while the Dolphins’ no-hit the Lady Chanticleers last season to take a 4-1 advantage in the all-time series.

Fans can follow the game against the Seminoles and the Kickin’ Chicken Classic through live stats on game tracker by logging onto JUDolphins.com.

Dolphin Notables:
Against Florida, the Gators used a pair of home runs by Tiffany DeFelice to secure a 6-1 victory on Feb. 17…junior Katie Kelly plated JU’s lone run, while freshman Sarah Simon also recorded a hit in the contest…the Dolphins bounced back with a doubleheader sweep against Presbyterian College (1-0, 4-0) at the JU Softball Complex on Feb. 20…sophomore Sarah Sigrest (2-0) fanned eight batters and allowed just two hits to get the game one win…in game two, freshman Olivia Kline (2-0) retired the final 17 batters after giving up her only hit of the game to get her first collegiate shutout…she also recorded an RBI hit, while Kelly added a two-run double…on Feb. 21, seniors Brittany Abbott and Ashley Iveson helped lead the Dolphins to a 1-0 win over the Blue Hose…Abbott pitched 1.2 scoreless frames before giving way to Iveson (2-1), who fanned 11 batters and allowed just one hit in the final 5.1 innings to help give JU the sweep.

Fresh starts
The Dolphins have come out of the gates strong to start the 2010 campaign.

JU has posted a 7-1 record through the first eight games, which ranks as the best start in school history. The start passes the 5-3 mark to open the 2004 season and the 4-4 record in the first eight games to start the 2008 campaign - Lehotak’s second season at the helm. Last season, the Dolphins begin the year 1-7 in the first week of games.

During this good start, JU has batted .298 (61-205), while outscoring its opposition 33-15. The Dolphins pitching staff has been equally impressive by recording five shutouts, including three straight against Presbyterian College (2/20-21). The staff has also recorded 45 strikeouts and held opponents to a .173 batting average.

Junior Katie Kelly has paced the Dolphins offensively after batting .381 (8-21) with five RBI. She has a hit in her last seven games and has scored a team-best seven times. Sophomore Amanda Schmidt has followed suit with a .375 clip (9-24), eight RBI and two home runs.

In the circle, three different Dolphins have at least two victories in the first eight games. Senior Ashley Iveson has recorded a team-high 19 strikeouts, while freshman Olivia Kline has not given up a run in the last 10.1 innings of work.

With the hot start, the Dolphins ventured in to more uncharted territory as they received votes in the Ultimate Collegiate Softball Poll on Feb. 23.