The Seminoles are coming off an impressive weekend where they swept a less than average Duke team on the road to begin ACC play. All in all it was a successful weekend for the Noles as the pitching staff really shined as a unit. In the preview I stated that for this team to have long term success the three young starters would have to improve their K:BB ratio which was a pathetic 1.29. They did just that albeit against a meager hitting Duke team as they combined for 16 strikeouts and only 6 walks. As a whole Noles' pitcher allowed five earned runs on only three extra base hits, striking out 26 and walking 6. This is the kind of control that is needed moving forward as the competition becomes much better. The Noles' offense also had a solid week averaging just under 7 runs a game and beating an excellent Friday pitcher. Currently the Seminoles sit at a record of 14-1 but their schedule is about to pick up as they face the Gators tonight and the Virginia Cavaliers this weekend. Inside we will have a quick preview of tonight's game.
The Florida Gators are undoubtedly the most talented team in the nation and warrant a #1 ranking in every single poll. Despite having more talent than the Seminoles in previous years they have struggled and are just 2-6 versus the Noles the past two seasons. Going into this year the Gators have a record seven preseason All Americans and have been phenomenal on both sides of the ball against one of the toughest schedules in the country.
Offensively they are just as potent if not better than the Seminoles as they currently have five players slugging .500 or better and a ridiculous 25 homeruns. They are led by super star catcher Mike Zunino whose slash line is currently .414/.462/.879 and has 7 homeruns himself. The Seminoles are led by Senior CF James Ramsey who has a .468/.643/.894 slash which is ridiculous in its own right. While power numbers are down for the Noles they are still excellent at getting on base and currently tied for fifth in the nation with 97 walks.
On paper the pitching staffs have both been great but you should probably keep in mind that UF has put up those numbers against the 7th toughest schedule while FSU has faced the
105th 93rd toughest schedule according to Warren Nolan. Where the Florida Gators really excel is their control, boasting a phenomenal K:BB ratio of 4.74 as the Seminoles post a pedestrian 2.21.
Tonight the Gators will turn to Freshman lefty Bobby Poyner who made his first collegiate start last Tuesday against FAU and was sharp in his four innings of work allowing only three hits while striking out three and walking none. Should Poyner get into trouble there are a stable of arms waiting to throw as the trio of Maddox, Gibson and Larson have allowed two runs in 37 innings of relief this season striking out 43 and walking only four.
For the Seminoles' freshman righty Luke Weaver his 2012 campaign doesn't get any easier tonight. His two starts against Jacksonville and UCF were rough ones as he allowed eight hits (3 for extra bases) and walked five giving up a total of ten earned runs. Good news for Florida State is that if Weaver gets into trouble early, Scott Sitz and Hunter Scantling should be ready and have had very good success against the Gators in the past. If the Noles have a lead late in the game they should feel comfortable handing the ball off to Robert Benincasa who has been lights out this season as he has struck out 14 and only walked one in his 10 innings of work.
As cliché as it is this game could easily go either way as I have predicted the Gators to beat Florida State just about every time they take the field. The game is not televised but can be watched for FREE online here and the game thread will be moderated by our very own mmmCheese.
See everyone back at 7PM and as always Go Noles!