The Seminoles are coming off a tough series loss to the top team in the country in which they had a shot to win the series if not sweep. The Noles are still in great shape as they currently have a four and half game lead in the Atlantic division and still control their own destiny with regards to a national seed. Minnesota and Florida State are one of four non-conference matchups this weekend and this should provide the Seminoles with a good shot to get back on track. The Golden Gophers are an average Big Ten team which means they would be a below average ACC team, they have an RPI of 115 and are 2-7 against teams with a RPI of 100 or better. Thirteen of their wins have come against teams with a RPI of 201 or worse and they have only played one team that looks to be postseason bound, Nebraska who swept them.
Not a single starter for Minnesota has an on-base percentage greater than .400, Florida State has six players who do. As a team the Noles hit for far more power than the Gophers but since Minnesota doesn't strikeout with great frequency this is to be expected.
There is not an individual player for Minnesota that shows up on the conference leader boards for any stat, their lineup is not potent but they do have a few tough outs. Leadoff hitter Connor Schaefbauer (.284/.387/.372) is probably their most complete bat. The second baseman walks slightly more than he has struckout on the season and is an impressive 11 for 12 on the bases. Their power comes from shortstop Michael Handel who leads the team with 14 extra base hits including a team leading 3 homeruns.
DJ Stewart (.362/.475/.609) was just named to the USA Baseball Collegiate team this summer and couldn't be more deserving. The left fielder leads the ACC in batting average, on-base and slugging and his looking to continue his 64 consecutive games streak of reaching base via a walk, hit or hit by pitch.
Minnesota plays in an offensively challenged conference which makes their ERA look more impressive than what it is. The Gophers have yet to see an offensive as potent and disciplined as Florida State's, I would expect the Noles to take advantage of the extremely poor strikeout to walk ratio that the Minnesota staff has.
Florida State's pitching has been excellent as of late. In their last 70 plus innings they have allowed only 21 earned runs and have a 2.5 strikeout to walk ratio. That ratio is impressive since three of those eight games came against Virginia which walks at a high rate and is very tough to strike out.
The starting pitchers for Minnesota pitch pretty deep into games averaging over six innings per start which is extremely impressive. Against the toughest competition faced all season Crawford allowed 6 runs against Nebraska in 6.2 innings while Meyer fared much better allowing only 2 runs over 6.2 innings. Luke Weaver and Mike Compton are both coming off very solid starts against UVA, the two right handers combined for 13.1 innings allowing only 3 earned runs, striking out six and walking only one.
Sunday features two pitchers who began the season in the bullpen but have been forced into a starting role for one reason or another. Kunik is coming off a fantastic performance versus Penn State, the right hander struck out 9 in seven innings and allowed zero runs. We don't know for sure Strode is starting on Sunday but given the way he has pitched recently and the amount of left handed bats in the Gophers lineup I think he is the best choice. He has made three starts this season and has been excellent in them, allowing only 2 earned runs in 16 innings. The lefty showed his stuff again this past weekend as he shutdown Virginia making two appearances, striking out four over three innings.
All three games are on ESPN3, Dustin and Ariya will be at the park and have your coverage in the play by play threads.
Florida State is by far the better team and I predict them to sweep. Minnesota will come at this team with three right handed starters which allows the Noles to put their best lineup out there. Despite being down two starting pitchers the bullpen is strong enough to limit Minnesota from scoring big numbers.