A key to Florida State's successful run to its 21st College World Series appearance in 2012 was the team's ability to manufacture runs. For the third year in a row and fourth time in five years, the Seminoles led the nation in base-on-balls drawing 386. Three Seminoles finished the season ranked in the top five nationally in walks including national leader Sherman Johnson, James Ramsey (3rd) and Stephen McGee (5th). FSU also ranked in the top 10 nationally in doubles (5th), runs scored (7th), sacrifice flies (8th) and hit-by-pitches (9th). The Seminoles wrapped up the year with a team batting average of .281 which ranked fifth in the ACC.
Florida State will look to replace its top four hitters from last season after the departure of seniors James Ramsey and Sherman Johnson and juniors Jayce Boyd and Devon Travis. The quartet was responsible for more than 54 percent of the runs scored and hits manufactured and over 48 percent of the team's run production driving in a combined 201 runs. Looking to help fill that void will be senior captain Justin Gonzalez who will pace the Seminole offense in 2013 as the top returning hitter in runs scored (42), hits (54), home runs (9) and RBI (42).
In light of the bat restrictions set forth by the NCAA in 2011, which has had a dramatic effect on offensive numbers across the nation the last two years especially in the number of home runs hit, Florida State still managed to go yard 46 times in 2012 which ranked 26th nationally. Justin Gonzalez returns as the Seminoles' top home run hitter after the Miami, Fla., native clubbed a career-best nine home runs a season ago. Seth Miller tied a single-season school record in 2012 as all three of his home runs were grand slams. FSU hit seven grand slams as a team, one shy of the school record of eight set back in 1996. Out in Omaha at TD Ameritrade Park, in a stadium that does not give up the long ball, Florida State hit three home runs in four games, tying Arizona for the most home runs hit at the 2012 College World Series. The Seminoles and Wildcats were the only schools to hit more than one home run in the series.
As far as offensive production from 2012, Florida State returners account for 273 of 627 hits (43.5%), 195 of 459 runs (42.5%), 207 of 413 RBI (50.1%) and 33 of 63 stolen bases (52.4%).
Martin on the leaders on offense:
"James, Sherman, Devon and Jayce were not only great players but great leaders. We will miss them, but I like what I am seeing from the guys on this team so far during the offseason. But to say who will fill those roles left by the guys last year, the jury is still out. We like so many different guys that are new. We are anxious to see how this thing shapes up. We've got some guys that have been very impressive. I am just anxious to see how every single one of them develops."
Schedule and Tangibles
Florida State will face 13 teams on this year's schedule that recorded 30 or more wins a season ago. Seven schools earned a bid to participate in the 2012 NCAA Regional, while four teams finished the season ranked in the top 25.
FSU and Florida will square-off three times in 2013 as each team will host a game sandwiched with a meeting in Jacksonville at the Baseball Grounds on March 26. Also featured on this year's schedule is a late weekend non-conference showdown with UCF in Tallahassee, May 3-5. The Seminoles will renew their rivalry with USF in week two of the season as the Bulls travel to Tallahassee for a three-game series, February 22-24. The USF series will be part of a 15-game home stand that will take place inside the friendly confines of Dick Howser Stadium to kick-off the year.
The Seminoles, who have won six consecutive ACC Atlantic Division titles, will compete in a 30-game conference schedule playing all but one league school (North Carolina for the second year in a row). FSU will open its league schedule on Friday, March 8 in Tallahassee against Boston College.
With three seniors on this year's roster, Florida State boasts one of its smallest graduating classes since 2010 when the Seminoles matched that number with the likes of Stephen Cardullo, Ohmed Danesh and Mike Meschke. This year's class includes Justin Gonzalez and Scott Sitz, who have been with the program all four years, and Seth Miller, who joined the Seminoles as a sophomore in 2011 after transferring from Northwest Florida State College.
Senior shortstop Justin Gonzalez was named team captain in 2013 by head coach Mike Martin and will don the letter ‘C' on his jersey for the upcoming season. James Ramsey was the first student-athlete in program history to denote his captaincy by wearing the ‘C' on his jersey in 2012.
Martin on early home stand to open the 2013 season:
"To play the first 15 games at home is very important to us because of the youth of this club. We could very easily start two freshmen and two sophomores in the field and then on the mound have a senior, one junior and two sophomores. But this is all predicated on everyone remaining healthy."
Martin on the leadership of this year's team:
"(Justin) Gonzalez, Seth (Miller), (Stephen) McGee, (Jose) Brizuela, (Josh) Delph – they started in the College World Series. Those guys know what leadership is about. Our captain (Justin Gonzalez) will lead us in the clubhouse and on the field."
Martin on what excites him about this club:
"I like the fact that we have lot of players on this year's team that have experience playing in Omaha. They know what it takes to get there. I'm also excited to see where we are three months from now because I like what I see but I want to know what I am really seeing."