The first two games that the Seminoles and Gators played were very good, competitive and tight. Florida State was victorious in game one with a 4-1 win and squeaked by late in game two with a 2-1 final score. Since that last game in late March the Noles dropped their first series of the year at Virginia Tech but rebounded with a midweek win against FGCU and a series win at rival Miami.
The Gators season continues to be disappointing and any postseason aspirations would take a miracle finish. In UF's defense their schedule has been absolutely ruthless, it clearly has been the toughest in the country with no let up in the future as they take on South Carolina this weekend. Florida might have their best chance of beating FSU tonight as the Noles biggest advantage in this series is no longer available.
In their only conference series win this season the Gators offense showed signs of life against a quality pitching staff that is Ole MIss. In the three game set UF hitters combined for a .276/.354/.418 slash line with 8 doubles and 2 homeruns which resulted in almost 5 runs per game. However the offense reverted back to its old ways last weekend in Starksville and hopefully for the Noles that continues tonight.
The Florida State offense has been challenged in recent weeks but still has netted positive results. In the 7 game span since their last meeting the Noles have uncharacteristically struck out more than they have walked. In those games batters struck out 52 times to only 33 walks but have still over 9 hits per game with a total of 16 extra base hits.
In the past three seasons all of the games between these two opponents with the exception of one have been close, low scoring affairs that have been mostly dominated by good pitching.
Luke Weaver and company held the Gators to one run in each of the first two games but the righty has been promoted to the weekend rotation leaving recently demoted Peter Miller to make the start tonight. At only four innings per outing Miller proved he couldn't cut it over the weekend but still needs to show that he can be an effective starter and avoid another move to the bullpen. If effective tonight Miller should stay where he is, if not there are other options that need to be further explored.
As of 2PM Florida has yet to announce a starter. Danny Young who started the first game and also pitched in relief in the second game started over the weekend so he is probably unavailable. The last time these two played freshman Tucker Simpson lasted only 3 innings, given that he didn't pitch this weekend he is a likely candidate. Regardless of who starts the Gators bullpen has been very good in relief and I'm not sure why that would be any different this game.
Dick Howser Stadium should be packed as first pitch is scheduled for 6PM and can be seen on ESPN3.