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Seminoles and Wolfpack in Series Deciding Game

After splitting the first two games of the series these two teams battle for the series, division lead and a national seed. Coverage begins tonight at 7PM on ESPNU

Melina Vastola-US PRESSWIRE

It has been a great series so far if you are a Florida State fan as the Noles are still in position to take the series and upper hand in post-season seeding.

It was a tight game and Luke Weaver did out pitch Carlos Rodon but the Pack caught all the breaks in a 3-1 win.

Leibrandt continues to pitch better and better as the season progresses and looks a lot like he did last season when he was a Freshman All-American. The Florida State bats went off yesterday in a 12-3 route.

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Scott Sitz finished off a great weekend for FSU starters against UCF as he was the third one to go 7 plus innings. In his last 2 starts he has struck out 14, walked only 1 and allowed 1 run on 7 hits.

The Wolfpack have had multiple pitchers in the Sunday role this season and a few different ones as of late. So they made the smart move and went with a left-handed pitcher with a high K-rate. Stone did start on Tuesday against UNCW and went 4 innings on 75 pitches, prior to that his last start came against GT on April 21st where he managed to last only 2 innings, allowing 4 runs on 3 hits and 3 walks.

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Looking closer at these two pitchers it is important to note that Scott Sitz has not performed as well as his minuscule ERA would indicate and Brad Stone has not pitched as bad as his inflated ERA would indicate. Both of these pitchers are extremely hittable as evident by their high H/9 numbers, where Sitz has the edge is his lower walk rate. Brad Stone has pitched past the 5th inning in only 4 of his starts while Sitz has pitched past the 5th in all of but 2 starts.

The Noles offense showed that they can be effective against left-handed pitching as they reached base 13 times against Carlos Rodon. In yesterday's FSU hitters plated 4 runs on 7 hits in the 2.1 innings of relief that lefties threw against them. Florida State's offense is much better than NC State's and given the rest that their bullpen has they are the favorite tonight.

With regards to this game being "the" deciding factor for a national seed, I just don't think that is the case. Florida State's body of work is far too great for a national seed to come down to one game. Even if the Seminoles are too lose tonight they still have four games left, 3 against Clemson who has a top 15 RPI and 1 against North Carolina who has already secured a national seed. There are 3 teams that are already locks, LSU, UNC and Vandy are in, with the following teams fighting for the last five.

Virginia (42-8, RPI 3) - 18-7 against top 50 RPI, swept FSU and plays UNC this weekend, as long as they don't lose all 3 they more than likely earn a spot.

Cal State Fullerton (41-8, RPI 9) - At this point I would say they are deserving, 11-4 against top 50 RPI teams and still have 2 series against top 100 RPI teams plus the NCAA wants West Coast representation, especially in California.

Oregon State (41-8, RPI 6) - Some analysts think that both OSU and Oregon are locks to be a national seed and I don't agree. OSU is 5-5 vs top 50 RPI and has plays it's next 4 games against Oregon.

Oregon (40-11, RPI 8) - Having Oregon and Oregon State as a national seed is probably what the NCAA wants to avoid for many reasons. Oregon is 5-8 vs top 50 this season with their next 4 against OSU. Having those two teams split their series is probably the worst possible scenario, OSU taking at least 3 of 4 would be optimal.

North Carolina State (39-12, RPI 7) - The Wolfpack have been on a tear in the 2nd half of the season and just split a series against UNC, luckily for them it was only two games. They are 18-9 vs top 50 RPI and a series win over FSU tonight and what should be a series win against Duke next weekend would make NCST a deserving candidate. For reasons similar to Oregon the NCAA would like to avoid two national seeds in the Raleigh area.

Florida State (41-10, RPI 5) - Being swept by UVA hurts and not playing UNC this year doesn't help either. They are 14-10 vs top 50 and a win tonight against NCST more than likely gets them a national seed barring any meltdown next weekend. The NCAA wants a host in the state of Florida and the Noles the only chance for that so that is a glimmer of hope that they can hold onto in the event that tonight doesn't go their way.

Tonight's game starts at 7PM, weather should be awesome and we will have your play-by play right here.

Go Noles!