The 5th Ranked Seminoles (16-8) will play their last regular season home series this weekend as they host a much improved North Carolina State (11-13) team. The ‘Noles are coming off a road trip at Boston College in which they swept Sunday's doubleheader after losing the first game of the series on Friday afternoon. Game 1 was more evidence that Sean Gilmartin continues to regress under the guidance of our inept pitching coach as he was once again hit hard against a top team. The Seminoles offense scored 7 runs off of two BC pitchers but it wasn't enough as FSU was defeated 10-7. Sunday was a doubleheader due to Saturday's washout and the Seminoles offense broke a tie ballgame in the top of the 9th inning to take a 2 run lead. Game 2 starting pitcher, Brian Busch went 5 innings giving up 4 earned and Geoff Parker and Mike McGee combined for 4 shutout innings as the ‘Noles won 6-4. The rubber game of the series featured freshman Scott Sitz pitch 6 innings allowing 3 earned which was more than enough for the Seminoles offense that hit 4 homeruns on the day en route to an 11-6 victory.
The North Carolina Wolfpack is arguably the most improved team in the ACC as they currently sit at 11 conference wins after only having 10 all of last season. The Pack comes into Tallahassee after two weeks of playing extremely well, last weekend they destroyed Towson University in 3 games outscoring them 41-10. The weekend before saw them taking the series against ACC power Georgia Tech which included touching up 1st round draft pick Deck McGuire.
This is a big series for both the ‘Noles and ‘Pack, a series victory for FSU would keep hope alive for a national seed while a series victory would keep NCST in the hunt for an ACC Tournament seed. Inside we will preview the both offenses and pitching staffs.
Florida State and North Carolina State feature middle of the pack pitching staffs as neither squad does anything overly impressive nor do they feature a stud starting pitcher.
Friday May 14th - 6 PM - Tallahassee, FL - Radio: 1270 the Team/94.3 FM - GameTracker
Two weeks in a row now the ‘Noles will see a pitcher that has better numbers than their respective Friday starter in Sean Gilmartin. Righthander Jake Buchanan gets the start for the Wolfpack, in his last ACC start against the Yellow Jackets he struck out 13 and walked 1.
Saturday May 15th - 6:30 PM - Tallahassee, FL - Radio: 100.7 FM - TV: Sun Sports - GameTracker
The goal for Brian Busch should be the same as it has been in previous games, make sure the game is close before turning the game over to your bullpen. Cory Mazzoni does nothing special and the Noles should be able to take advantage of that.
Sunday May 16th- 1 PM - Tallahassee, FL - Radio: 100.7 FM - GameTracker
Freshman Scott Sitz had a good outing last weekend against Boston College after a terrible one against Miami. The NCST offense is somewhere in between BC and UM so if can limit the damage to 4 or 5 runs allowed in 5 or 6 innings the Noles have a good shot of winning. Alex Sogard isn't confirmed for Sunday but if he does pitch the ‘Noles should be able to take advantage of his poor K:BB ratio and his inability to limit extra base hits.
The above chart should paint a clear picture of a team that has progressed and regressed offensively. For the Wolfpack they have made pretty remarkable improvements in their offense. Key players to watch for NCST are leadoff hitter Kyle Wilson (.329/.443/.411), Harold Riggins (.311/.440/.574) and their power hitter Chris Schaeffer (.325/.413/.649).
Tyler Holt (.374/.500/.846) and Mike McGee (.351/.442/.628) continue to be offensive leaders in what is more than likely their last season as a ‘Nole. Stephen Cardullo had a solid series against BC and for the ‘Noles to make any kind of run his bat is sorely needed.
One huge advantage for the ‘Noles this weekend is the run game. Florida State should and will take advantage of NC State this weekend, the ‘Pack are a bad base running team and they know it having only 27 attempts on the season so I wouldn't expect them to test FSU as the Brunelle/Lopez combo in 2nd in the conference having thrown out 40% of runners. The ‘Noles on the other hand are extremely successful on the base paths (83%) and will probably run often against a State team that has been run on 55 times with 47 being successful for a putrid 15% caught stealing rate.
For Florida State to have a legitimate shot of a obtaining a National seed I feel they need to go 5 - 1 from here on out and given that they are traveling to Clemson next week a sweep this weekend would be necessary. FSU would have to play better than they have all season for that scenario to come true and there is nothing that leads me to believe it will happen. That being said, Go Noles!