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Baton Rouge Super Regional Preview

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Two iconic coaches and programs meet, but only one can make it to Omaha.

NCAA Baseball: College World Series-Florida State vs LSU Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

I’m a big Mike Martin fan, I have been my whole life. I grew up the son of a coach so my heroes growing up were other college baseball coaches. And Mike’s been at it for so many years and has over 2,000 career wins. He’s a real gentlemen, I’ve just always liked Mike. We’ve had a few games I’ve been able to coach against him...It’s going to be so exciting. I think it’s an epic matchup. Florida State and LSU, two of the bluebloods of college baseball in a Super Regional....to me, it’s a great honor to coach against him in what could potentially be his last game. I think the world of Mike and his contributions to college baseball are so numerous you can’t even begin to count them. — Paul Mainieri

You COULD make an argument for Ole Miss-Arkansas, but this is THE matchup of Supers Weekend. Mike Martin, in his final ride after 40 years at the wheel of Florida State’s search for a title, will play his final Super Regional in Alex Box Stadium, one of the great cathedrals of the sport.

Of course, it’s been a decade since the Tigers were crowned in Omaha, and since then the Baton Rouge faithful have grown just as hungry.

What’s more powerful, a team hellbent on giving their iconic head coach the ride off into the sunset he deserves or a talented roster just finding its stride and playing with the confidence that elite teams possess?

At A Glance

Record: 39-21

Conference: 17-13

Non-Conference: 22-8

Conference Finish: 3rd Atlantic, 1-1 Tournament

RPI*: 50

RPI 50*: 9-11

RPI 25*: 4-6

SOS*: 73

*as of end of conference tournament

The Seminoles had a pretty decent mixed bag of a season honestly. After clearing their first three non-conference “hurdles” pretty easily, Florida State dropped their second series of the year to NC State. They beat Notre Dame before dropping a stunner to Boston College and barely avoided a sweep in Miami.

They got off the mat and swept Clemson then beat Virginia, Wake Forest, and Pitt. After a conference break to sweep Richmond, the Noles dropped their finale against Louisville.

Wake Forest got their revenge on the Seminoles before FSU did the same to NC State. Because the ACC Pool Play is a good idea in theory but not in execution, that was it for FSU.

Florida State was sent to the Athens Regional as a three seed, where they steamrolled through FAU and Georgia twice. The Seminoles outscored their opponents 35-11 en route to a 3-0 regional championship.

At The Plate

Mike Salvatore: .341/.549/.430, 84 H, 22 2B, 4 3B, 7 HR, 50 RBI, 35 BB, 28 SO

Robby Martin: .340/.487/.419, 67 H, 17 2B, 4 HR, 54 RBI, 28 BB, 49 SO

Drew Mendoza: .320/.631/.482, 66 H, 12 2B, 2 3B, 16 HR, 55 RBI, 65 BB, 67 SO

JC Flowers: .278/.528/.378, 60 H, 11 2B, 2 3B, 13 HR, 53 RBI, 29 BB, 42 SO

Let’s just say that Drew Mendoza is giving new meaning to “Mendoza Line”. Above you see the three Seminoles hitting above the vaunted .300 mark and a traditional power hitter like that you still have to respect.

The good news is that Florida State strikes out. A lot. Both Mendoza and Flowers have to pay the iron price for their power, with 60+ strikeouts apiece. But it’s not just them. The Seminoles have totaled 561 strikeouts at the plate, a staggering number compared to LSU’s 468.

Saturday night we saw Cole Henry, Todd Peterson, and Zack Hess pitch and combine for 10 strikeouts. I think if all goes according to plan, we’ll see the same combo used again in game one to take advantage of the swing and miss in FSU’s lineup.

Just like Arizona State last week, expect home runs, because they’re going to come. I’d be surprised if Florida State leaves this weekend without three more home runs added to their tally. It just matters where and then they come, and how many runners are on base when they happen.

On The Mound

Probable Starters

CJ Van Eyk: 3.71 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 87.1 IP, 3.11 K/BB (115/37), .222 BAA

Drew Parrish: 5.07 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 81.2, 3.86 K/BB (112/29), .246 BAA

Conor Grady: 3.64 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 59.1 IP, 2.79 K/BB (67/24) .220 BAA

Bullpen

JC Flowers: 1.52 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 23.2 IP, 2.20 K/BB (22/10), .180 BAA, 11 SV

Chase Haney: 2.84 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 31.2 IP, 3.56 K/BB (32/9), .197 BAA, SV

Shane Dohan: 3.64 ERA, 1.83 WHIP, 51.2 IP, 1.48 K/BB (71/48), .242 BAA, 11 GS

Clayton Kwiatkowski: 4.00 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 36 IP, K/BB (40/16), .260 BAA

Florida State’s starters are kind of a mixed bag. They don’t issue a lot of walks and really rack up the Ks, but at the same time they give up a ton of contact. Drew Parrish by himself is a microcosm of this. He has a great K/BB with over 100 Ks but he has given up 15 home runs, one more than Hess. Given that he’ll be playing in Alex Box in June, I’ll say he’s not done giving up homers unless he can get it together in a hurry.

Van Eyk is a solid dude, and LSU will pretty much have to throw Henry against him. Speaking of Henry, it appears as if Conor Grady has been their version of Cole Henry, an arm that the Noles turned to midway through the season that has come up huge for them.

JC Flowers, yes the same JC Flowers, is the established closer and he has flourished in that role. And he’s not the only solid arm in the Noles’ bullpen either. LSU’s offense will have to earn their runs this weekend, there’s no other way around it.

Prediction

I really struggle with this one. Sitting here staring at my screen, I can’t just see any one obvious answer. So I’m going to work through it and show my work.

-Game 1: Starters haven’t been announced, but I’m betting it will be Henry vs. Van Eyk. This one is the most toss-up game out of the three, but as previously stated I think Mainieri will try to capitalize on the swing and miss in FSU’s lineup with Henry-Peterson-Hess. Whether that works or not remains to be seen, but I’ll buy stock in it working. LSU wins 5-3.

-Game 2: FSU throws Grady and LSU goes with Marceaux. Grady stays hot and wins a pitcher’s dual with a few solo shots mixed in, 3-2.

-Game 3: LSU touches up Parrish and Eric Walker/Trent Veitmeier/Devin Fontenot hold the line well enough to send the Tigers to Omaha with a 9-5 victory and 2-1 Series Win.