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Florida State baseball clashes with Notre Dame in weekend series

The Seminoles and the Fighting Irish will play three games in a series with major implications on the ACC Atlantic standings.

Cal Raleigh
Cal Raleigh
Larry Novey

The tenth-ranked Florida State baseball team looks to continue its rebound from a 1-3 record a week ago when the Notre Dame Fighting Irish head to Tallahassee for a three-game set beginning Friday.

Both FSU and ND enters this weekend on winning streaks. Florida State has won two straight, both coming earlier this week against Stetson, while Notre Dame has a substantially larger winning streak of seven games, including wins over Michigan and Michigan State as well as a weekend sweep of Boston College. In fact, the Irish have won 15 of their last 17 games, improving their 2016 record to 23-12 (9-7 in ACC) after a 1-5 start in conference play. ND's 9-7 ACC record puts the Irish two games behind FSU (25-11, 10-4 in ACC) in the ACC Atlantic standings. As such, the implications that this weekend's series has on seeding for the ACC Tournament cannot be understated.

On paper, Florida State looks like the superior offensive team in just about every measurable category. FSU owns a top-50 team batting average nationally (.296) while ND ranks 115th in the country with a .281 batting average. The Seminoles also have more home runs (27 to Notre Dame's 21), doubles (82-62), runs (285-201), and base on balls (205-161). However, the Fighting Irish do hold a significant advantage in one major category: fielding percentage. ND possesses a .978 fielding percentage, second in the ACC behind only Miami, while Florida State continues to struggle defensively with a .969 fielding percentage, eighth-best in the conference.

The majority of the Irish's production comes from a select few people as five ND players have combined for 106 of their 184 runs. Among the team's leaders are Ricky Sanchez, who leads the regular starters with a .341 batting average, Matt Vierling, who is among the team leaders in home runs (5) and runs batted in (23), and Cavan Biggio, son of MLB hall of famer Craig Biggio, who sports a .315 average and has drawn 39 walks this year, second-most in the ACC and more than any single Seminole batter.

On the mound, there is little discrepancy between the output of the Seminoles and the Irish. Florida State holds a slight edge in earned run average (FSU's 3.48 compared to ND's 3.95) and has more strikeouts per nine innings (8.7 to 7.2), marginally fewer walks per nine (3.64 to 3.92), and a lower WHIP (the Seminoles allow 1.3 walks/hits per inning while Notre Dame allows 1.4).

In Friday's matchup, FSU will throw redshirt senior Mike Compton (4-2, 3.86 ERA) against ND's Peter Solomon (3-3, 3.82). Saturday will see the Seminoles' Drew Carlton (4-2, 3.57) face off with southpaw Sean Guenther (3-3, 3.88) for the Fighting Irish. Sunday's series finale will bring Florida State freshman Cole Sands (3-4, 4.81) to the hill, going against an unannounced starter for Notre Dame, with Ryan Smoyer (3-3, 3.40) looking like the most likely candidate to get the start.

Perhaps the most-telling statistic entering this weekend is Notre Dame's difference in record at home compared to on the road. The Irish are an impressive 12-2 in the friendly confines of their home stadium this year. However, they have struggled consistently in true road games this year, sitting at 6-7 on the year entering Friday's game. If Florida State is able to take advantage of Notre Dame's road woes, it will go a long way towards undoing the damage inflicted by the team's 1-3 record last week.

First pitch for Friday and Saturday is scheduled for 6 PM and Sunday's start is slated for 1 PM. All three games will be broadcast on ESPN with radio coverage being streamed online at as well as on 106.1 FM for those in Tallahassee. If you are unable to watch/listen to any of the games this weekend, Tomahawk Nation will be in attendance, providing updates in the comments section at the bottom of the page.