The atmosphere at the Florida State softball games are ones that you have to see to appreciate.
Fans fill the seats, stand along the walkways, sit on the berm on the left-field line, along the left-field fence and even on the top level of the parking garage across the street.
FSU coach Lonni Alameda hears it from her extended family – the softball team’s Dugout Club as well as the soccer team and coach Mark Krikorian.
“They’re exciting,” Alameda said. “I can tell you we even have Coach Krikorian texting us as a staff saying ‘Wow. What about that Oklahoma game and Wisconsin?’ There’s our neighbor that is totally all in for softball just like we are for soccer. It’s a sport that grabbed a lot of people. It’s a great time of year.
“I think there is a huge softball family here in Tallahassee that loves Florida State. I think people really love softball.”
FSU is looking to make its fourth trip to the Women’s College World Series since 2014. The Seminoles open up a best-of-three Super Regional against Oklahoma State on Thursday.
The teams haven’t faced off since 2017. But the softball community is close and Oklahoma State coach Kenny Gajewski — who is a former Florida assistant — has enjoyed talking with Alameda, exchanging ideas about how they build their programs.
“I’ve been watching Lonni for a long time, and Travis (Wilson), and the whole staff,” Gajewski said. “I really respect what these guys do, and I’ve respected it for a lot of years. I like the way they run their program. I’ve stole a few ideas from her – she’s always been gracious to talk to me about different ways to do things. I like Lonni a lot.”
Here’s what you need to know ahead of the series:
FSU (54-8) vs. Oklahoma State (42-14)
Times/TV: Thursday at 7 p.m. (ESPN), Friday at 7 p.m. (ESPN), Saturday at noon (if necessary, ESPN)
FSU hitting leaders: Sydney Sherrill (.420, 16 HR, 59 RBI), Dani Morgan (.391, 14 HR, 58 RBI), Cali Harrod (.360, 15 HR, 41 RBI, 72 runs), Elizabeth Mason (.352, 11 HR, 55 RBI, 56 runs), Carsyn Gordon (.352, 15 HR, 41 RBI), Zoe Casas (.345, 4 HR, 31 RBI), Makinzy Herzog (.315, 3 HR, 25 RBI, 25 runs), Anna Shelnutt (.277, 10 HR, 34 RBI).
FSU pitching leaders: LHP Meghan King (29-5, 1.42 ERA, 216 strikeouts in 192.1 innings).
Oklahoma State hitting leaders: Chyenne Factor (.353, 8 HR, 38 RBI), Madi Sue Montgomery (.352, 6 HR, 45 RBI), Rylee Bayless (.335, 13 doubles, 53 runs), Samantha Show (.339, 18 HR, 54 RBI).
Oklahoma State pitching leaders: RHP Samantha Show (19-7, 2.35 ERA, 100 strikeouts in 167 innings)
Super Seminoles: FSU has reached the Super Regionals for a seventh straight season and the eighth time overall.
Rolling along: FSU has won nine straight NCAA postseason games, three in last weekend’s regional and six in the 2018 Women’s College World Series. Only 20 softball teams all-time have won nine straight games in the NCAA Tournament.
Last time FSU played Oklahoma State: In 2017, the Seminoles took a 4-1 at the 2017 Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic in California.
Noteworthy: FSU is 19-7 against 13 teams that made the field of 64 for the NCAA Tournament.