Florida State Seminoles vs. Stony Brook Seawolves: Elimination Game Preview

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"There is nobody to look at, to point fingers at; I was very proud of the fight that we showed," said Martin. "It was just a game that they got back-to-back hits. Benny turns around and gets us out of the inning. Got a one-run ballgame, we got a runner at third. Credit Troupe, he made a couple of good pitches. It was just a good baseball game, you tip your hat to the other club."

This really was a game that could have gone either way and with Florida State's success in close games all season it was only a matter of time before they began to lose close ones. There really is no shame in losing to a team's of Arizona's caliber as they have a legitimate shot of winning the whole thing. The Seminoles must regroup and play much better than they did on Friday if they want to beat a very good Stony Brook team this evening, inside a preview of each team.

OFFENSE:

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"I was trying to tell everybody, 'They're probably the greatest four seed in the history of the tournament,' and you see what happened. They've got a great offensive lineup. A couple of things they do well is they don't strike out. They're very tough to strike out-not just Tissenbaum, the whole order puts the ball in play and puts pressure on your defense. They all run well, even if they don't steal 30 bases like Jankowski, they all get up the line well and bunt well. Because their numbers are so good, everyone's harping on that. Jankowki's obviously a big star, he's a sandwich pick. But what goes untold is they pitch to contact and they play great defense. There's three aspects to the game, and they're very good at all three.

There really isn't anything the Seawolves don't do well, they can hit for power which doesn't mean all that much in TD Ameritrade but they also do a great job of hitting to contact and spraying the ball all across the field. UCLA shut down this strong offense by keeping Jankowski and Cantwell off the bases as they went 1 for 8 in that game.

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"There's no question, Jankowski's a dangerous guy. He runs well, he's obviously got plus-plus speed. He's really progressed in the last 12 months-he's not the same player he was as a freshman or sophomore. I think the Cape helped him out a lot. He used to hit everything the other way, now he's pulling the ball a lot. He's either going to hit a double out of the box or he'll steal second base, or they'll move him over with the hit-and-run. He's an impact, impact guy. He's the one guy you want to keep off base. Carmona and Tissenbaum can hurt you, but those guys are a lot better hitters when they've got Jankowksi on base. He goes first to third so well. He puts so much pressure on defenses to be perfect. His speed is just unbelievable in the outfield, he catches up to balls that most guys don't. We hit some doubles in the gaps and all of a sudden he's underneath them

"Carmona hits the ball as hard as anybody. he's another guy that I've heard so much about, 'He's got no position.' I'm baffled that the scouts aren't talking about this kid higher than they are. He's a heck of a hitter, a switch-hitter with power from both sides of the plate-how many times do you see that? He doesn't have a lot of holes either, not a lot of swing-and-miss pitches you can go after with him. He's certainly a mistake hitter, when you put the ball across the middle of the plate, he can jump on it. You've got to keep the ball down and away or really, really in on him.

"The other guys are all very similar, contact guys who run well. Goldstein is a tremendous runner; he's going to be a good player when he gets older. Peragine again is a good runner, doesn't have as many stolen bases but gets big hits. Cantwell is one of my favorite players, like another coach in the field. Great catcher, good feel for the game, obviously got a hell of an arm. He just really catches the game. I know they put him in the 2-hole, and he's such a good leader on the field that I can see why Senk puts him there. Nivins, if he can get hot, he's the one guy that struggled a little bit down the stretch, and I don't think he had a lot of big hits in the regionals. But he's a good player, he usually has some power too, surprised his power numbers are down. Good player. Courtney is dangerous, because he sits over at first base and plays a good first base, but he hits down in the No. 9 spot, and he's got some lefthanded power. Probably the most dangerous No. 9 hitter around.

It is no secret by now that this Stony Brook offense is loaded with talent. Travis Jankowski went 44th overall to the Padres. Senior Pat Cantwell was picked in the third round by the Texas Rangers while juniors Maxx Tissenbaum (San Diego Padres) and William Carmona (Philadelphia Phillies) were taken in 11th round. They had six player play in Cape ball last summer and have proven that they can beat the best.

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"They have a system. If you talk to pro guys in the fall when they see Florida State, they say, 'They're not going to be very good this year,' and every year they win 50 games. That's the way they coach, and the kids buy into the system. It's a typical Florida State team: some decent talent, a good college player in Ramsey, but it's not like they're Stanford or Florida, having seven guys go off the board in the top five rounds. But that's a credit to their coaching staff."

Florida State's approach at the plate gives pitchers fits as we've seen recently, the disciplined approach wears down a pitcher and the first mistake they make the Seminoles capitalize. This offense has defeated some of the best pitchers in the country this season and there is no reason to think that success cant be continued.

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"They're a solid club that plays with a lot of swagger, and that comes from playing in that program and that coaching staff, and James Ramsey. He's an unbelievable person and leader, they all look up to him. He plays the game the right way, and they just feed off it. Ramsey's a plus defender in the outfield, probably an average thrower. He has unbelievable hand-eye coordination, he can get fooled but still gets the barrel on the ball. The one thing that will shock you is the dude can really fly. I got him a couple times 3.97 (seconds down the line to first base) on swings. The way his swing is, if he hits the ball on the ground, he's always kind of jail-breaking, but that's the way he swings all the time. As soon as you hang him a breaking ball, he hits the ball over that green monster down there at Florida State. He's just a tremendous player, and obviously he made the right decision to come back to school.

"Sherman Johnson is what they need for leadoff, a patient guy, will take a strike, try to get on. Travis is good, I think you can beat him with a fastball-he has a little bit of slider bat speed, but if he runs into one he can hit it into the gap. Gonzalez has some juice, he's scary because he hits in the bottom of the order and he can jump up on you. Boyd's power is to the opposite field, he's got those long arms and the leverage, he'll go the other way. You've got to get in there, because he wants to get extended. He wants you to throw him a breaking ball or a fastball away. He doesn't want any part of the ball in.

"McGee is solid, he's a solid player, but a below-average thrower. Their pitchers do a great job of controlling the running game, but if you can run and not get picked off, you can steal bags all day. If they match up with a team that can really run and get guys on, he's going to get exposed. I really like Delph; I think he's really going to hit over his career. He's an average player otherwise but I think he'll hit. Brizuela has some athleticism and spark to him; I think he'll be good too.

The Noles had a few players drafted as well most notably was James Ramsey in the first round to the Cardinals and Jayce Boyd to the Mets in the sixth. Devon Travis, Sherman Johnson and Justin Gonzalez were taken in the 13th round or later. There might not be a better lineup 1-4 in the country but after that is where the Noles might be vulnerable.

PITCHING:

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But their strength is the bullpen. The kid Campbell is outstanding, a 94 mph arm that kind of blossomed. He has a very good power slider too-that's his strikeout pitch. (Reliever) Frankie Vanderka is a carbon copy of McNitt. They're both 85-87, a lot of two-seamers, a lot of changeups. Their breaking balls are their third pitches, but they throw them for strikes. These guys are always in pitchers' counts, not a lot of hitters' counts. Johnson is about the same, only about 85-86 at best, but he's got great movement, unbelievable movement. He really, really goes after you too. (Righthander Joshua) Mason will come in and throw in a setup type of role. They're all the same type of guys, except for Campbell. You can clone all those guys.

Mason was the only reliever that pitched for the Seawolves on Friday, he threw only 24 pitches in 1.1 innings of work and I would imagine he would be available if needed today.

"After that, the other guys are just average until you get to Benincasa. I think he's really, really good. He's 89-92 with a plus breaking ball, and he can throw the breaking ball anytime he wants for a strike, and command of the breaking ball is really, really good. Gage Smith, the sidearmer, is good against righties. (Lefthander Brian) Busch and (righty Hunter) Scantling are serviceable. The one thing they do, and they've always done it at FSU, their guys out of the bullpen can throw strikes with the slider anytime they want. They'll bring Scanting in and it's slider, slider, slider, slider. Then Busch will come in and throw fastballs from a sidearm angle, and throw the breaking ball over the top. They're serviceable, not great, but got enough combinations.

Scantling threw 16 pitches in 1 innings of work on Friday while Smith and Benincasa were extended more than usual. Benincasa threw 44 pitches over 4 innings and Smith went 2.2 innings throwing 44 pitches as well. It will be all hands on deck for the Noles and while their best relievers might be available how effective they are would be in question.

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"Johnson has a little more movement than McNitt-those are their two best arms that are starters. But they're very similar guys, not overpowering guys...throws 85-87, a lot of two-seamers, a lot of changeups. Their breaking balls are their third pitches, but they throw them for strikes. These guys are always in pitchers' counts, not a lot of hitters' counts.

Brandon McNitt is coming off a great start against LSU where he pitched the first game that was suspended. In that start he threw 7 strong innings allowing only 1 run on 3 hits, as mentioned earlier he isn't overpowering striking out 3 and giving up 2 walks in 93 pitches.

Compton's numbers are really good, he's got enough, throws an 87-89 mph sinker, kind of a slinger with a decent slider.

Compton was not that sharp in his last start against Stanford as he went only 4 innings allowing 11 hits, an outing like this would be detrimental to Florida State's chances of winning.

SCHEDULE:

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WEATHER:

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CONCLUSIONS:

To beat them (Stony Brook), you need to pitch, pitch, pitch, and you'd better hit your spots, because if you leave balls up, they're going to get hit. Either that or you'd better be ready to come out and score a bunch of runs."

The Noles did what they could ill afford to do on Friday night, lose the ballgame while using all of their best pitchers. Florida State will now have to rely on pitchers who have struggled as of recent or an offensive explosion similar to that against Stanford if they want to play another game in Omaha.

See everyone back here tonight at 5PM for the game.

Go Noles!

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