The Stetson softball team will hit the road this weekend for the first time in 2013 as the Hatters will play three neutral site games at the UCF Holiday Inn Select tournament in Orlando, Fla.
Stetson (1-3) will square-off against a familiar opponent, South Carolina, on Friday at 6:30 p.m. The Gamecocks went a perfect 4-0 in last weekend's Stetson Lead-Off Classic in DeLand, including 15-7 and 14-4 victories over the Hatters. South Carolina scored a total of 52 runs during the season-opening tournament and batted .426 as a team.
"I am excited (to play them again)," senior Chelsea Whalley said. "It will be interesting to see if they are that hot two weekends in a row. It's rare you see two teams play each other in back-to-back weeks, but in this third game we want to take charge and really come out aggressive."
On Saturday, Stetson will face two opponents for the first-time ever. The Hatters will play Texas-Arlington of the Western Athletic Conference at 11 a.m. followed by a contest against Buffalo of the Mid-American Conference at 4 p.m.
Stetson is hoping to build off its 6-1 win over Michigan State in the final game of the Lead-Off Classic. The Hatters collected a season-high eight hits against the Spartans while junior Meredith Owen tossed a complete game victory in the circle.
Whalley and sophomore Demi Meza earned all-tournament team honors for the Hatters. Whalley tripled, hit a grand slam and drove in five runs against South Carolina on Friday, while Meza was 5-for-10 (.500) on the weekend with three home runs and six RBI.
"She's stopping her stride," head coach Frank Griffin said about Meza after the games on Saturday. "Her stride was making her duck, and when she ducks her eyes goes down, the bat goes down, and she pops up. She still did it some (Saturday) but she's starting to make good progress."
After committing seven errors and allowing 34 runs in the first four games, the Hatters will be looking to tighten up defensively this weekend.
"We want to work on our communication and have more confidence in our abilities defensively," Whalley said. "We felt like at the plate we did a good job of attacking. We played some pretty big teams, and I don't think many people would complain about seven runs against South Carolina. We just didn't have that same confidence and aggression on defense."
An audio broadcast will be available for all three games on HatterVision. Please note due to the number of games in the tournament start times will likely be fluid throughout the weekend. For the latest updates, follow @StetsonSoftball on twitter or sign-up for the Hat-Alerts text messaging service.