The #6 ranked Florida State Seminoles (12-6) are set to play a three game series this weekend against #14 ranked Miami Hurricanes (14-4) in Tallahassee. The ‘Noles are coming off of a series win last weekend at Duke and a midweek win on Wednesday against Charleston Southern. The Canes are riding high after a home sweep of the North Carolina Tarheels and weekday win against Bethune Cookman. In the last 5 years the Seminoles are 5-9 against the Hurricanes including a 2008 CWS loss that sent the ‘Noles home.
Miami in my opinion has flown under the radar much of the season, they were ranked #16 in the preseason poll and haven't moved far from that since. They have had a relatively easy ACC schedule so far but outside of Virginia six weeks ago so has Florida State. The ‘Noles will have their work cut out for them this weekend as the Hurricanes feature 3 solid weekend starters and the Seminoles are still struggling to find a viable Saturday and Sunday starter. Despite losing 3 of their best hitters from 2009 the Canes still have an offense that compares with FSU thanks in part to return of one of best players in the country and future 1st rounder Yasmani Grandal.
Inside we will breakdown pitching and see how the offenses matchup.
At this point in the season Miami statistically has the best pitching staff in the ACC but you have to take into account their opponents as NC State has been the best lineup they have seen all year. Miami still has series left against FSU, GT and Virginia and when all is said in done those numbers will probably look a little less impressive. Florida State is middle of the pack in most categories and if it wasn't for a stellar bullpen those numbers could be much worse.
Friday April 23rd - 6 PM - Tallahassee, FL - Radio: 1270 the Team/94.3 FM - GameTracker
Game 1 features Junior lefty Chris Hernandez, he is probably one of the 100 best prospects in the nation and will be spending next year in a MLB organization. Looking at the numbers he puts up similar numbers to Sophomore lefty Sean Gilmartin so it really is anybody's guess as to who has the advantage here. Like every other pitcher on the Miami staff this will be the strongest lineup they have faced this season so let's hope that FSU can take advantage.
Saturday April 24th- 1 PM - Tallahassee, FL - Radio: 100.7 FM - TV: FSN (Except in Tampa, Orlando and Gainesville) - GameTracker
Erickson is a Junior lefty that could give FSU some issues, his K:BB ratio indicates excellent control. Brian Busch, a lefty Sophomore is quite the opposite as he is plagued by his high number of walks. If he can limit his walks as he did in his only ACC start (1BB against MD) then he has a chance to be effective.
Sunday March 28th - 11 AM - Tallahassee, FL - 100.7 FM - GameTracker
Senior righty Jason Santana pitches Sunday, there isn't a team in the country that wouldn't be pleased with a Sunday starter that put up numbers even close to Santana. For the ‘Noles it will be untested Scott Sitz. The righty freshman had excellent outings against UNF and UF but both of those teams do not feature offenses like Stiz will see against Miami.
The winner of this series will probably be the team that has better bullpen performance. Florida State starters are averaging just over 4 2/3 innings per start while Miami starters are averaging just 5 2/3 innings per start.
As you can see both teams's bullpens have been pretty lights out.
As mentioned earlier Miami lost 3 of their top hitters from 2009 but have still been able to score runs against less than average pitching staffs. The Hurricanes' premiere hitter is catcher Yasmani Grandal, he is easily one of the best players in the nation and will be the first catcher taken in the draft whose name is not Bryce Harper. The one "fault" that Grandal has this season is his struggles against lefties. Through April 14th's games his slash line against lefties is .300/.417/.440 while he fares much better against righties, .493/.590/.890 (keep in mind those are season totals, not ACC only). It should go without saying but limiting base runners is essential as Miami has shown very similar power to Florida State.
The ‘Noles have benefitted off of terrible pitching the past few weeks which is why their overall numbers show vast improvement (slugging rose 40 points last week after the Duke series). Junior CF Tyler Holt has been on a tear lately posting ridiculous power numbers and with a healthily Stuart Tapley the Seminoles should be able score runs against the untested Miami staff.
I am not big on predicting a series outcome but if I had to go with my gut on this one I say the Seminoles drop 2 of 3 to the Hurricanes.