#4 Seminoles Sweep Terrapins and Gain Ground in the ACC

The Florida State Seminoles invited the Maryland Terrapins into Tallahassee this weekend and swept them in a relatively easy fashion.  FSU received help from the #1 Virginia as they took 2 of 3 from the Clemson Tigers.  The ‘Noles (6-3) now only sit 1 game behind the Tigers (7-2) as they face UF for the third time this year and then host Virginia Tech this weekend.

As expected Game 1 was a pitching duel with Sean Gilmartin getting the better of Brett Harman.  The Terps' ace pitched 7 1/3 solid innings allowing only 1 earned run while striking out 9 and walking 3.  Gilmartin also shined by allowing only 1 earned run in 7 1/3 while striking out 7 and walking 0 throwing an impressive 68% strikes.  Outside the 2 runs handed to the Seminoles in the first and the homerun by Tapley in the 8th the offense struggled to string together hits all night.  Mike McGee game in to close his 3rd game of the year, the same Mike McGee that started 13 games and pitched 69 innings for the ‘Noles last year seems to have been relegated to the closer role while FSU is still in search for a viable #3 starter.  Final - FSU 4-1.

Game 2 of the series saw FSU offense capitalize on weak Maryland pitching.  The Terps got on top first with 1 run in the top of the 1st but FSU countered with 3 in the bottom and continiud to pour it on and by the end of the 5th they were up 10-1.  John Gast pitched 5 solid innings for the ‘Noles but ran into a bit of trouble in the top of the 6th after allowing 3 straight singles to lead off the inning.  Credit is due to Mike Martin in that situation as he did allow Gast the opportunity to pitch out of the trouble but after allowing a double he pulled him in favor of Daniel Bennet who went on to pitch 2 2/3 innings of effective relief.  Final - FSU 12-5

Junior centerfielder Tyler Holt was the star of Game 3 hitting for a ‘Natural Cycle' which is quite a rare feat in baseball having only happened 14 times in the history of MLB.  The Seminoles crushed starting pitcher Sander Beck scoring 8 runs on 10 hits in 4 2/3 innings despite 7 of the the 14 outs he recorded coming via the strike out as it was quite clear the ‘Noles hitters were up there to do one thing, try and hit the ball out of the park.   Just when you think you have Mike Martin figured out he throws you a Barry Zito curve and starts Hunter Scantling.  The 6'8" sophomore managed to keep the ball down recording 7 ground ball outs in 5 good innings of work leaving with a 10-3 lead.  Tyler Everett has been absolutely shut down this season and is a proven commodity out of the bullpen yet Mike Martin still feels the need to tax the young pitcher's arm unnecessarily.  After throwing 4+ innings on Tuesday in a meaningless game against Stetson #11 pitched him another 4 innings in this game despite the large lead and when there were other options in the bullpen.  Everett is now up to 24 innings pitched this season after pitching 37 in 2009 and  30 1/3 in 2008.  Final - FSU 9-5.

Inside we will  have a brief preview of tonight's game as well as some other baseball notes.

#4 Florida State Seminoles vs. #8 Florida Gators 

Tuesday March 30th - 7 PM - Jacksonville, FL - Radio: 1270 AM/94.3 FM  - TV: Sun Sports - GameTracker

This is the third time this season the two arch rivals have squared off, FSU winning the first game 10-5 and UF winning the second game 8-5.  The Gators are coming off a tough weekend road trip that saw them lose 2 of 3 games to Ole Miss and are still without freshman stud Tommy Toledo who took a line drive off his face a couple weeks back and is still out indefinitely (hoping for a speedy recovery for the former Alonso standout). 

Pitching Preview:

Brian Busch, the Seminoles best option out of the bullpen saw zero action this past weekend in preparation for Geoff Parker's start against the Gators.  In his past 3 starts Parker is averaging just 4 innings per and is fortunate that the Seminoles offense are averaging 10+ runs in those 3 starts.  Unless there is a repeat of the first game against the Gators do not expect Parker to pitch well and do expect to see Busch pitch meaningful innings out of the pen. 

When it come to Gator pitcher there are ones the ‘Noles light up and then there are ones that they are completely shutdown. 

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The Gators have yet to name their starter for Tuesday but it looks like the potential to see Hudson Randal or Anthony DeScalafani might be slim.  In a 13-5 blowout loss this past Saturday DeScalafani threw 67 pitches in 3 innings of relief while Randall started the game lasting only 1 inning and throwing 35 pitches.  The best guess at this point is that UF will spot start a reliever in a similar fashion to the ‘Noles starting Scantling.

Offensive Preview:

It has been talked about before the UF offense is talented and will be excellent but is still inexperienced giving FSU an advantage.  This game should play out very similar to the first two, the bullpen that can limit the opposing team to the least amount of runs should win. 

Just for fun I wanted to see what would be the optimal lineup FSU could put out there after 3 weeks worth of ACC stats using CHONE, a common MLB prediction tool.  Here is the lineup that FSU has put out in the last couple of games:

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Given the above lineup FSU's offense is predicted to score 5.658 runs per game which through 9 ACC games equating to 50.9 total runs.  In actuality FSU has score 54 runs per game thus far in ACC play or 6.000 runs per game.  The predictions are based off of MLB stats so I would imagine that the prediction is not too far off from actuality, not bad considering all the outs we've squandered with needless sacrifice bunting.

Here are run projections based on the optimal lineup that FSU can put out there:

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Baseball Musings Lineup Analysis

The above table is not perfect and should be used merely as a tool and not a rule of thumb.   The predictor doesn't take into account team speed which is why Tapley leading off is not ideal plus the sample size might still be a bit small and I think there is a greater margin for error with lineups in college than the pros.  There are some interesting points though, in case you haven't notice Ramsey moved from the #2 spot to out cleanup hitter within the past week and Cardullo has moved up to the 2 hole.  Given their production thus far it doesn't seem like the ideal spot.

Other Baseball News:

Holt Named ACC Player of the Week  - Holt became the first Seminole since 2004 to hit for the cycle.

Brooks Wallace Watch List - Stephen Cardullo named to the list for the second year in a row.

Mike Martin Quote of the Week: When asked if he expects that kind of outing out of Gilmartin everytime he responded.

"You never expect a guy to go 8 innings, at Florida State we hope we can get 6 or 7 out of our starters, we don't have complete games to many times.

Glad he doesn't see that as a problem.

Go Noles!

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