For the 32nd time in FSU Baseball history, the Seminoles will host a Regional in Tallahassee this upcoming weekend. As you probably know by now, College of Charleston, Auburn, and Mercer have been placed in the Tallahassee Regional. Below is a look at what the Cougars do well -- and not as well -- as well as what challenges they pose to Florida State.
#2 Seed - College of Charleston Cougars (41-13, 21-3 CAA)
The College of Charleston Cougars were quite possibly one win away from hosting a regional of their own as they lost in the championship game of the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament to UNC Wilmington after spending a large portion of the season as a projected regional host. Despite having to go on the road for their regional, this is a well-rounded baseball team that is not to be overlooked. They are the epitome of a mid-major threat akin to Butler of college basketball in recent seasons.
The Cougars reach base often with a team batting average of .309, good for 8th-best in the nation. Compare this to FSU's team batting average at .257 which sits over 50 points lower. Seven of CoC's nine regular starters have an average over .300. The efficient hitting extends beyond just singles as the Cougars are 4th in the nation with 68 home runs and 10th in the nation with 127 doubles. The extra-base-hits are balanced across the lineup as three different players, Blake Butler, Carl Wise, and Bradley Jones, all have ten plus home runs and two more players have nine. Additionally, CoC has shown decent plate discipline throughout the season, striking out 348 times over 56 games which equates to 6.21 Ks per game, not an excellent number but vastly better than FSU's 8.62 Ks per game.
|COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON COUGARS|
|2015 SEASON STATISTICS - PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP|
|Brown, Ryan $||LF||L||56||56||274||13||2||5||14||17||82.4%||8.0%||13.1%||0.326||0.422||0.467||0.889||0.340||0.141|
|Pastorius, Alex #||RF||R||53||46||230||8||2||9||5||8||62.5%||20.4%||12.2%||0.258||0.369||0.468||0.837||0.291||0.210|
|Wise, Carl *||3B||R||56||56||267||18||3||11||3||3||100.0%||13.5%||10.1%||0.319||0.390||0.568||0.957||0.328||0.249|
|Butler, Blake *||2B||R||56||56||259||14||2||12||4||8||50.0%||12.0%||8.9%||0.338||0.405||0.575||0.980||0.346||0.237|
|Pappas, Nick #||1B||L||56||56||258||27||2||9||3||4||75.0%||21.3%||6.6%||0.330||0.384||0.579||0.963||0.395||0.249|
|Jones, Bradley #||DH||R||53||45||193||13||2||10||4||4||100.0%||24.9%||10.9%||0.315||0.396||0.595||0.991||0.387||0.280|
|Roper, Erven #||C||L||56||55||222||13||0||3||2||5||40.0%||13.1%||5.9%||0.302||0.367||0.412||0.779||0.339||0.111|
|% - Conf. Player of the Year *- 1st Team All Conf. # - 2nd Team All Conf. $ -All Conf. Freshmen|
The Seminoles have likely caught a break that they are not facing College of Charleston in the opening game of the regional as the ace of the Cougar pitching staff is among the nation's best. Taylor Clarke leads the NCAA with 13 wins in 15 starts and has allowed just 16 earned runs in 107.1 innings (1.34 ERA, 8th in the nation). Clarke is also second in the NCAA with 136 strikeouts. Despite the fact that FSU is unlikely to face Clarke, the other two weekend starters for the Cougars are still very respectable. Brandon Glazer, CoC's #2 starter and likely opposing pitcher on Saturday should Charleston beat Auburn and FSU beat Mercer in their opening games, possesses a 10-1 record this season with a 2.68 ERA, having allowed 24 earned runs in 80.2 innings of work.
Their third starter, Nathan Helvey, had also had an impressive season, going 7-4 with a 2.78 ERA. After their starters, all of whom have sub-3 ERAs, the mid-week pitchers as well as the relievers have struggled for the Cougars, allowing a combined 127 runs over 244.1 innings of work, equating to a 4.68 ERA. It would seem that one of the keys to victory over CoC is to chase their starter early by forcing long at-bats, something that the Seminole batters do quite well.
|COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON COUGARS|
|2015 SEASON STATISTICS - PITCHERS OF NOTE WITH SEASON TOTALS IN BOLD|
|Clarke, Taylor % *||RHP||16||15||107.3||1.34||0.76||5.70||11.40||1.17||9.71||2.17||0.257||0.178||0.493|
|Glazer, Brandon *||RHP||20||12||80.7||2.68||1.07||8.59||5.13||1.00||5.11||3.80||0.268||0.245||0.647|
|Love, Carter # $||RHP||22||0||37.3||2.17||1.13||9.16||7.47||0.96||7.75||2.32||0.319||0.255||0.615|
|% - Conf. Pitcher of the Year *- 1st Team All Conf. # - 2nd Team All Conf. $ -All Conf. Freshmen|
Defense and Baserunning
Fielding percentage is obviously not the best measure of a team's defense but it can help us gauge it when compared to the ~300 teams that compete. The Cougars have a fielding percentage of .966, good for a 166 ranking. Comparatively the Noles have .963 fielding percentage which comes in at 196th in the country, if you have followed Florida State this season you would know that this defense is not a strength and one of the worst in years. It would be safe to assume that Charleston's defense is not that much better despite 2B Brandon Blake winning Conference Defensive Player of the Year.
Outside of leadoff hitter Ryan Brown's success the Cougars are not a threat on the base paths. One reason is that they haven't attempted that many as a team (65) and another is that they are not all that successful at 70.8% on the season.
College of Charleston is a serious threat to win the regional, they have a light's out ace that gives them a large advantage in their first game and a solid number two pitcher that be an issue for Florida State should they face each other. The lineup that the Cougars put out there is concerning, if the Seminoles arms continue to throw like they did in last week's tournament they can keep them in check. It was mentioned earlier, Charleston is probably one win away or a slightly better ball park away from being a regional host which makes the Tallahassee regional one of the more difficult ones.