This will be the 7th straight year that the Seminoles have hosted a Super Regional, advancing to the College World Series 3 of the last 6 times. Florida State swept through regionals in dominating fashion and look to be playing the best baseball of all the remaining 16 teams.
The Indiana Hoosiers are making their first Super Regional appearance in school history after going undefeated as a host in their regional. Indiana becomes the first Big Ten institution to reach a Super Regional since Michigan went to Oregon State in 2007
This is just the 3rd time Indiana has ever made the postseason and did so by winning the Big Ten which is the rated 6th in RPI according to Warren Nolan. The Hoosiers had an opening game scare against Valparasio as they scored 4 runs in the bottom of the ninth inning which included a walk-off homerun for a 5-4 victory. From there they had little trouble dispensing of Austin Peay defeating them 15-6 and 6-1 in the final two games. Now for a quick look at the Hoosiers.
First thing I can say about this Indiana lineup is that they pass the look test. Watching them sporadically over this past weekend most of players 1-7 are big and strong which is why it is no surprise that they hit with large amount of power. A slugging percentage at .450 with an on-base percentage approaching .400 is extremely impressive and well above league average but the Hoosiers don't walk all that much and against a team that throws lots of strikes they could struggle.
Another thing that I noticed is how consistent Indiana is regardless of who and where they play, almost identical stats home and away caught me a little off guard because of the dimensions of their new ballpark. One-third of their entire schedule was played against teams in the top 50 RPI and even the numbers there are well above league average and impressive in their own.
Much like Florida State the lineup is very balanced, it features 4 right-handed hitters, 4 left-handed hitters and a switch hitter. This would lead me to believe that despite the results of this past weekend left-handed pitcher Brandon Leibrandt would get the game 2 start. On paper this is a really good looking line up, we also said the same thing about Troy this past weekend and the Noles staff held them to just 4 runs over the course of 2 games.
The Hoosier pitching staff allowed only 6 earned runs in 3 games during their regional run. They totaled an unimpressive 25 strikeouts to 10 walks in those games and allowed a total 25 hits. The staff as a whole does not consist a whole lot of power arms with an average strikeout rate but they do keep their walks down which will be crucial against one of the most disciplined teams in the country.
The rotation will more than likely set up with LHP Joey Denato going in game 1, RHP Aaron Slegers in game 2 and then the Hoosiers will have to choose between lefties Coursen or Hart for game 3 if necessary. We will feature much more on their staff with later previews.
The majority off bullpen arms for Indiana are right-handed, this is something that Florida State can take advantage of should a left-handed starter struggle early. Five relief pitchers have thrown at least 20 innings for the Hoosiers and feel pretty confident handing the ball over to their closer. Ryan Halstead has 11 saves on the season and was perfect in regionals which including a 3.1 inning stint in the final game.
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. 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.
One positive for Indiana is that they are used to playing on the road, including regionals the Hoosiers played just 22 home games this season. For reference the Seminoles just played their 38th on Sunday. Due to the weather many Northern schools start the first month of the season on the road playing Southern teams, of Indiana's first 15 games 11 were played in the state of Florida. However, playing in February and March is entirely different than playing in the heat of the day on a June afternoon in Tallahassee. With 3 days games this week the Hoosiers could have some issues, Savannah State players commented on how the heat fatigued them, that game started at 5 in the evening.
As I am finishing this article Indiana natives are waking up to a cool 54 degrees with moderate humidity while in Tallahassee it is 8 AM and already 72 degrees with 99% humidity. This weekend's forecast features highs in the 90's with a heat index topping 95 and virtually no wind to speak of, there really is nothing that can prepare the Hoosiers for the type of weather they are going to face this weekend.
Not only will the Indiana have to deal with the weather the crowds at Dick Howser Stadium are some of the best in the country and support their team like no other. Last year's supers were electric and played a big part in the success the Seminoles had and the lack of success that Stanford had. Florida State matches up well against an Indiana Hoosiers team that played a pretty soft schedule (60 SOS) as the competition in the Big Ten is poor. They can pound their chest all they want about beating Florida earlier in the year but as it played out that was not all that impressive of a feat.
SCHEDULE AND TICKETS
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)
Tournament books are $40.00 for reserved seats and $30.00 for general admission seats. These are good for every game of the tournament.
All-Tournament books for the 2013 NCAA Baseball Tallahassee Super Regional will go on sale via the Internet at www.seminoles.com beginning Tuesday, June 4. Tickets will also be available by phone at 888-FSU-Nole and at the Seminole Athletics Ticket Office between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. starting Tuesday.
Single game reserved tickets are $18 and general admission tickets are $14 for adults and $8 for youth (5-18) and participating school students. Single game tickets will go on sale to the public at 5 pm on Friday, June 7.
More breakdown and a deeper look at both teams later in the week.