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No. 7 Florida State baseball vs. Duke: Game thread, preview, how to watch

The Seminoles have yet to lose a weekend series.

Syndication: Tallahassee Democrat Alicia Devine/Tallahassee Democrat / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Florida State baseball team (14-6, 4-2 ACC) will be back home this weekend for another ACC bout. The Seminoles will host the Duke Blue Devils (11-10, 2-4 ACC) for a three-game series at Dick Howser Stadium. FSU will look to stay hot, as the Noles have won six of their last seven. Tuesday night, the Seminoles defeated the UCF Knights after taking two of three from NC State this past weekend.

FSU leads the the head-to-head series over Duke 80-26. The teams met last in the 2021 ACC Tournament with Duke winning 12-1. The Blue Devils have struggled in a year where big things were expected, but it’s still early, and they could break out at any time. Duke started ACC play with two of the hottest teams in the conference (the North Carolina Tar Heels and Virginia Cavaliers), and while they didn’t win either series they were able to take one game on each weekend.

RJ Schreck is the headliner in the lineup, but he dealt with injuries early. However, the senior’s made up for lost time by hitting .340 and leading the team with five home runs, two of which came in one game against rival North Carolina. Chad Knight and Graham Pauley provide good protection for Schreck, as both hit better than .300 and possess .492 and .548 slugging percentages, respectively.

Friday night starter Marcus Johnson has all the tools you want in an ace, but has struggled to put everything together. The strikeouts are there (39 over 27.2 innings), and he’s not walking batters (just eight), but he’s given up 30 hits, with 16 of them going for extra bases. It feels like he’s almost got that form you’d expect with a pitcher of his pedigree, but at this point in the season he’s far enough away that he’s got a 4.55 ERA.

Saturday starter Luke Fox is in a similar position to Johnson, although Fox has struggled with his command, sporting a 20-13 K-BB ratio, but has compounded that by giving up 27 hits in 20 innings. However, the talent is there.

Sunday starter Billy Siedl has limited the damage more than Johnson and Fox, but has walked quite a few batters. Batters are hitting just .175 against him, and he’s helped keep teams quiet with his 30 Ks over 23.1 innings, but 14 walks have limited his effectiveness.

If Duke’s starting rotation doesn’t pitch to its ability, the Blue Devils will rely heavily on their bullpen. Jimmy Loper is their best arm, and the senior righty will be called on for a multi-inning save if Duke has the lead late. Josh Allen and John Natoli are a couple other big arms in the pen, and Natoli has yet to give up an earned run.

Duke is a decent fielding team, but isn’t great up the middle with freshman Alex Mooney sporting a .895 fielding percentage (although he’s made just one error in his last six games, so maybe he’s turning the corner).

Despite being just one game over .500 this Duke team is talented enough to challenge Florida State.

Friday: 4-0, FSU

It was another career night for a Florida State pitcher, this time Parker Messick. The left-hander tossed seven scoreless striking out a career-high 14, while allowing only four hits. FSU took the lead on a wild infield bounce in third from Jaime Ferrer before home run blasts from James Tibbs and Jackson Greene in the sixth. Jonah Scolaro would shut down the last two innings and FSU would take game one over the Duke Blue Devils, 4-0.

Saturday 3/26, 2:00 PM

Probable Starters: LHP Bryce Hubbart (4-1, 2.08 ERA) vs. LHP Luke Fox (1-2, 7.52 ERA)

How to watch: ACCNX

How to listen: 100.7 FM in Tallahassee

Sunday 3/27, 1:00 PM

Probable Starters: LHP Ross Dunn (1-0, 1.42 ERA) vs. RHP Billy Seidl (1-1, 3.86 ERA)

How to watch: ACCNX

How to listen: 100.7 FM in Tallahassee

Duke top performers

  • LF RJ Schreck: .340AVG/ .680 SLG/ 5 HR
  • DH Chad Knight: .333 AVG/ .492 SLG/ 10 RBI
  • 3B Pauley Graham: .310 AVG/ .548 SLG/ 4 HR
  • INF Luke Storm: .267 AVG/ .556 SLG/ 1.015 OPS

Tomahawk Nation will have updates in the game thread and on our Twitter.