Peter Miller jogs off the field after having the best start of his career. - Ryan Syrkus
For the second weekend in a row the Florida State Seminoles (7-0) host a Big East team. After dispensing with USF (2-5) quite easily last week they have the Villanova Wildcats (1-3), a team with far less talent and success than South Florida.
A very abbreviated preview this weekend as Florida State faces an opponent that they should have very minimal issues defeating three times. The Seminoles took off the entire week so if there is any rust it might take a few times through the order to get things going. But Villanova is a bad team and unless something freakish happens Florida State should move to 10-0.
Florida State's bats have not disappointed early in the season as they currently lead the conference in on-base percentage at .464 and are in a tie for third with Georgia Tech in slugging at .514, trailing only Virginia and NC State. The star for Florida State this season has been JUCO transfer Marcus Davis who recently earned Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week and ACC Co-Player of the Week. Davis hit .615 (8-for-13) in the four games as ﬁve of his eight hits went for extra bases with three home runs and two doubles. On the season Davis is slugging a ridiculous 1.136, that's 172 points higher the the next highest hitter in the conference. Third baseman Jose Brizuela has also picked it up in his sophomore season and is currently 2nd in the ACC with a .617 on-base percentage, that number is aided by a league leading 11 walks.
Villanova is a
bad terrible offensive team, they are near the bottom of the conference in every category. The Wildcats strike out twice as much as they walk, rank in the bottom four in on-base percentage and have a putrid .276 slugging percentage, that is only six extra base hits on the season (5 doubles and 1 triple in 4 games). A player to watch for Villanova is Tyler Sciacca (.529/.579/.706) who has been the Wildcats best hitter through four games.
Seminoles' fans were treated to excellent starts last weekend and similar results should be expected come Sunday evening. If you haven't read Ryan's article with Scott Sitz earlier in the week I suggest you should, if he really has turned the corner and pitched his way into a weekend starter that can be counted on, expectations for this team go way up. Attention should also be paid on Sunday as Peter Miller tries to prove that his best start of his career last week was no fluke and that he belongs in the weekend rotation. Areas of improvement for the Noles needs to come in the area of walks. They are currently 11th in the ACC with 3.86 BB/9, Florida State pitchers do not strikeout enough batters for that number to be justified. So far in the young season it has not hurt the Noles but as the level of competition rises that number better lower.
As a team the Wildcats have an ERA of 5.40 and rank last in BAA at .324 while walking more than 3 batters per nine innings pitched and only a K/9 rate of 7.2. Friday starter Pat Young and Sunday starter Josh Harris have pitched well to start the season, allowing on 6 ER in 18.1 combined innings through 3 starts. The bullpen and defense has really let down Villanova as 18% of the runs scored against them have been of the unearned variety.
PREDICTIONS, NEWS AND COVERAGE:
Again Florida State should have no problems this weekend. Villanova was predicted to finish last in the Big East this season and the Noles have no business losing to a team of that caliber.
Senior SS Justin Gonzalez will more than likely sit out this weekend with a injured hip. This is just precautionary as the Noles can beat the Wildcats without him. A weekday start versus Presbyterian could happen, if not he should be ready to go as the Noles open up ACC play against Boston College.
Florida State rivals Miami and Florida square off this weekend in Gainesville. The Hurricanes are off to a great start of the season, currently undefeated at 9-0 have played well moving into the Top 25 ranks of some polls. Things couldn't be going worse for the Gators right now, they sit at 3-6, losers of five in a row and this is at the hands of far less talented teams. To make matters worse the play of UF could improve but with the schedule they have ahead of them they could still be under .500 half way through the season.
Have a great weekend everybody and as always Go Noles!