The folks over at scalpem.com have put together a preview to help us get to know the Seminoles a bit better.
You can check out our preview on their site here.
FSU Baseball Primer For The Horned Frogs Fan
by Bill Kristoph, ScalpEm.com Owner
Led by Head Coach Mike Martin, the Seminoles went 47-18 in 2010, which by FSU standards is a pretty typical season. The Noles started off the year with big bats and lots of runs, scoring in the double digits in 9 of their first 10 games. The big offense allowed them to hide a mediocre pitching staff until conference play started. The Noles managed only an 18-12 regular season ACC record that included an end of the year slump and a sweep by the Clemson Tigers. The downturn had Seminole fans throwing in the towel on playoff chances for 2010.
However, out of nowhere FSU got hot and won the ACC Championship thanks to a big win over #1 Virginia, and a miracle comeback by Boston College over Miami in pool play. They then defeated N.C. State for the title. After that, FSU swept through the Norwich, CT regional as a #1 seed on the road and then survived a tough series in Tallahassee against the Vanderbilt Commodores to advance to Omaha. It's been an unlikely season for a team that lacks a traditional superstar to lead them.
Who To Watch
I'm not sure who will start against the Horned Frogs, but Sean Gilmartin is the Seminoles "Ace" if they have one in 2010. "Gilly" had an outstanding freshman campaign, but regressed in 2010. He's the Friday starter, but he only turned in a 9-7 record on the season. The #2 guy for FSU is Brian Busch (potentially the starter against TCU), a big lefty that's been hot lately. Out of the bullpen, look for Daniel Bennett a righty submariner who is solid and closer Mike McGee who will patrol left field when he's not closing out a game.
While not spectacular, the FSU defense generally gets the job done. Mike McGee is solid in left as is James Ramsey in right. Tyler Holt, the wound-up / intense centerfielder has a big range and makes great plays look routine. Around the infield, true freshman Jayce Boyd has improved at 1B but still lacks some bag presence. At 2B, Devon Travis is a good glove. SS is Stephen Cardullo, who, frankly, is only in there for his streaky bat. Sherman Johnson stabilized 3B this year for FSU thankfully and has a solid arm. Behind the plate is usually Rafael Lopez who throws out less than half of runners attempting to steal a base.
The biggest bright spot for the Noles is their penchant for lots of runs, where they averaged over 7 runs per game. Be wary of lead off hitter Tyler Holt, if he has a big day the Noles do very, very well. You'll also have to dodge his numerous hand claps, fist pumps and chest pumps. He leads or is close to the top in most offensive categories and he gets on base nearly 47% of the time. Sherman Johnson has been all everything throughout the playoffs, pay attention to him behind Holt. Also don't be fooled by #3 hitter Mike McGee. He's a clutch hitter, a gamer and hit a walk off home run in Game 1 of the Super Regional. Down in the order you'll find Jayce Boyd (usually at #7, but for the life of me I don't know why) who had to learn 1B this year (he played 3B in high school) because his bat is so good Mike Martin & Co. wanted to get him into the lineup. Everyone else is varying degrees of streaky. When they're all hot the Noles score a ton of runs.