Game day is finally here and at noon today the Seminoles will take their first step in an attempt to return to Omaha for the second straight year. All theis week we have previewed Indiana so if you've missed anything or want to freshen up visit the link.
You would be hard pressed to find a better pitcher than Luke Weaver over the last month as he is truly one of the best pitchers in the country this season. In his last start against Troy in regional Weaver threw one of the best games I have ever witnessed, professional or amateur. The sophomore went 8 innings, striking out 14, walking 0 and allowing over 4 hits, a repeat of that is unlikely with the talent in the Indiana lineup but the way Weaver has pitched lately a strong outing should be expected.
The Hoosiers will counter with Joey Denato who has had an impressive season too, albeit against much weaker competition. The junior is coming off a start that feature mixed results, 9 strikeouts and 2 walks over six innings is impressive but he also allowed 6 hits, two for double and one 3-run homerun. Denato walks a lot of batters and allows a lot of hits, if this Florida State offense hits like they did last week the lefty could be in for a short outing.
The bullpen was practically flawless over the regional weekend. The ideal situation for FSU us to have a starter make it through 6 innings, then hand it over to Gage Smith and Billy Strode (LHP). If the Robby Coles is handed the lead it is pretty much a sure bet that the Noles are headed towards a victory, Florida State is 43-1 when leading after 8 innings.
Scott Effross is a work horse as he averages slightly more than 2 innings per relief appearance. I am not sure how Efross gets it done as his K rate is pretty low and he limits the amount of hits allowed but he appears to be very solid out of the pen. Florida State would like to avoid closer Ryan Halstead at all costs, he is a true strikeout pitcher and the only arm on the staff with a K rate above 8 and a low walk rate. Luke Harrison is another arm the Hoosiers heavily rely and he has one of the best strikeout to walk ratios on the team.
Here are your starting lineups for today's game.
Josh Delph returning to the lineup has paid huge dividends already with his ability to work the count and get on base. There might not be a hotter player in college baseball right now than Freshman All-American DJ Stewart, who went 7 for 11 in regionals and reached base 10 times, driving in 5 runs and scoring 6 times. The bottom of the lineup has been some cause of concern down the stretch but fans hope that Alfonso can continue his hitting as he was on base 5 times in the last two games of the regionals.
This Indiana lineup looks extremely formidable, its not all that often you see 3rd Team All American who hits .400 and bats 6th in the lineup. Catcher Kyle Schwarber earned 2nd Team All American and his slugging a gaudy .665 with a team leading 17 homeruns on the season. His excellent plate discipline makes him the most difficult out in the lineup. This bottom of the order can also be exploited due to thei weaker bats, keeping Justin Cureton off base is crucial as he has been successful in stealing bases 21 of 28 times this year.
DEFENSE AND BASERUNNING
Similar to Florida State the Hoosiers have had their issues with defense on the season with a fielding percentage at .965 which is pretty bad. The left side of their infield has a combined 36 errors and the Hoosiers committed 5 errors in their regional series that led to 4 unearned runs. Florida State comes into this game fielding .967 with a total of 34 errors from the left side of the infield. In their regional the Noles only had 4 errors, 1 came from Casey Smit who was playing out of position at 2B late in a game with a large lead. The other was on a catcher's interference from McGee, none of the errors led to any unearned runs.
Equally as bad is their baserunning, the odd thing about the Hoosiers is despite their inefficiency at it, 66-110 (60.6%), the still run, a lot. That is 40 more attempts than the Noles this season. Florida State appeared to be a little more aggressive on the basepaths last weekend but are still not a good running team, 43-70 for 61 percent. They will pick their spots as the IU catcher has only thrown out 18% of runners all year, half of McGee and his 36% success rate at throwing out base stealers.
SCHEDULE AND TICKETS
Like last week Florida State has set up a one stop shop for all your information needs but here is some general information.
Saturday, June 8, 2013
Game 1: Indiana vs. Florida State - 12:00 p.m. (ESPNU)
Sunday, June 9, 2013
Game 2: Florida State vs. Indiana - 1:00 p.m. (ESPNU)
Monday, June 10, 2013
Game 3: Florida State vs. Indiana (if necessary) - 1:00 p.m. (ESPN2)
All games will be televised by ESPN and will feature the broadcast crew of Doug Glanville and Mike Morgan.
There is not one part of the game where Indiana is better than Florida State. Defense and baserunning is probably a wash with the edge going to the Seminoles in starting pitching, bullpen, offense and coaching. It seems like the sexy pick is the upset pick Indiana, to me that is a safe way to go because if they lose you can say they should of, FSU was the better team. There is a reason a Big Ten school hasn't made it to a regional in 5 years, last year everyone though Purdue would make some noise. The Boilermakers dominated the conference, had the best offense and pitching in the Big Ten, then lost to Kentucky as a regional host. All the advantages go to Florida State and I think they take this thing in two games and head to Omaha for the 22nd time in school history.