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 Tigers do well -- and not as well -- as well as what challenges they pose to Florida State.
#3 Seed - Auburn Tigers (35-24, 13-17 SEC)
This year marks the first time Auburn has made a regional since 2010 but it's head coach Sunny Golloway, in his second year at Auburn, is making his 15th trip to an NCAA Regional in the last 17 years. The Tigers were one of a few SEC teams fighting for a regional berth entering the tournament. Auburn did win four SEC series this season but of those four opponents not one went to a regional. They opened with a win against Kentucky but would lose the next two games to LSU and Florida. Despite being the third seed in the Tallahassee Regional, Auburn just might be the weakest of the four teams.
The Tigers offense scores almost two full runs less than the other three teams in the regional and it is fair to say that the Auburn lineup is not one that stacks up with any of its opponents this weekend. As a team, the Tigers strike out twice as much as they walk which would be acceptable if they were able to hit for power. Auburn ranks 174th in slugging percentage and there are 235 teams that have hit more home-runs than they have. The Mercer center fielder has 17 home-runs on the season – just as many as Auburn has as a team.
Their leadoff hitter Anfernee Grier leads the team in extra base hits and, despite his high strikeout numbers, he still does a good job of getting on base. Cleanup hitter Daniel Robert is the only other hitter than has an OPS of .800 and is one of three players who has hit three home-runs this season. There is a solid mix of left- and right-handed bats throughout the lineup which could pose an issue for opposing coaches handling their relief staff.
|2015 SEASON STATISTICS - PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP|
|% - Conf. Player of the Year *- 1st Team All Conf. # - 2nd Team All Conf. $ -All Conf. Freshmen|
Auburn's pitching staff was average in their conference, which is respectable given the superstars that are featured on many opponents lineup. The Tigers team strikeouts per nine was just under league average (8.02 K/9) while their walks per nine and hits per nine was almost identical to league average.
Friday pitcher Cole Lipscomb has been excellent this season and has the numbers to support it. Of all the starters in the regional he has the fourth best K/9 and of the three pitchers ahead of them his strikeout to walk ratio is better than two of them. It is not far-fetched to believe that the ace could face Florida State as head coach Sunny Galloway has not named a game one starter and hinted that it could be Lipscomb, McCord or even the injured Keegan Thompson. It is worth noting that the majority of innings pitched out of the Tigers bullpen comes from right-handed pitching. There are only two left-handed arms that come out of the pen; they have made 37 appearances but only pitched 35.1 innings.
|2015 SEASON STATISTICS - PITCHERS OF NOTE WITH SEASON TOTALS IN BOLD|
|Lipscomb, Cole #||RHP||15||11||87.0||2.38||1.08||7.24||8.69||2.48||3.50||3.02||0.278||0.215||0.602|
|% - 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 Tigers have a fielding percentage of .973, good for a 56th place 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 Tigers defense is better having committed 25 fewer errors.
To make this offense even worse is the fact that they are an awful base running team. A 60% success rate on 94 attempts is bad and not what you need to do when you have such a low on-base percentage. Auburn has a tough task against them in game one facing a pitcher that could go in the first day of MLB draft. As mentioned earlier, despite their third seed ranking the Tigers might be the least complete team in the regional.