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Courtesy: B-CU Athletics
Michelle Banuelos-Smith
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Softball Opens 2013 At Florida State

Courtesy:           Release: 02/08/2013

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Bethune-Cookman's quest for a fourth Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference championship begins this weekend at the Panhandle Invitational and includes a game with nationally-ranked Florida State.

THE WEEKEND: The Wildcats (30-31 last season) open Saturday at 10 a.m. against North Florida. B-CU faces Jacksonville at 2 p.m. On Sunday, the Wildcats have another 10 a.m. game with UNF before concluding the weekend with a 1 p.m. showdown with the host Seminoles.

B-CU UPDATE: The Wildcats were predicted to win the MEAC's Southern Division, the conference announced Friday. Seniors Michelle Banuelos-Smith and Aurelia Gamch were named to the preseason all-conference team.

B-CU AND THE ACC: This is the second time in three years the Wildcats have met an Atlantic Coast Conference team on opening weekend. B-CU faced North Carolina at the Jacksonville Invitational.

WHO'S BACK: Banuelos-Smith and Gamch lead 10 returning Wildcats, including pitcher Shanel Tolbert, whose 30 victories were 14th best in the nation last season, 3B Kelsey Rodney, leadoff hitter Calesha Shelley and outfielder Shamaria Engram. Simone Ceasar returns to the line-up after a one-year absence.

ABOUT UNF:  The Ospreys were 27-28 in 2012. Junior Mariah Reynolds returns after leading the team with a .302 average.  

ABOUT JACKSONVILLE:The Dolphins reached the 30-win plateau for the third straight year in 2012. Senior Sarah led the Dolphins with 40 RBI and eight homers.

ABOUT FLORIDA STATE: Florida State returns 15 letter winners from its 2012 team that went 47-16 and played in the NCAA tournament, including all of its pitching staff and starting infielders. Senior second baseman Tiffani Brown represented the Seminoles on the NFCA Southeast Region Team last season and returns with Top 10 career marks in triples and stolen bases.

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