Super Regional Preview

Florida State coach Mike Martin has admitted several times this season that this year's edition of baseball Seminoles isn't the most gifted group that he has guided.

However, they may possess something of greater importance.

"I've never had a tighter-knit group of guys," said Martin, a 26-year veteran on the FSU bench.

In what was dubbed a rebuilding year in January, Florida State (53-18) still managed to advance to its seventh consecutive Super Regional berth with a trio of victories in regional play last weekend.

Martin's synergetic Seminoles will face a much stiffer challenge this weekend in Gainesville, where rival Florida will play host to the best-of-three series.

With McKeithen Stadium expecting one of the biggest crowds in school history and sure to foster a hostile atmosphere, that togetherness may just come in handy.

"I truly believe that it's what has gotten us his far," said reliever Kevin Lynch, one of just four seniors on the FSU roster. "It instills a lot of confidence."

Catcher Aaron Cheesman, leftfielder Gibbs Chapman and first baseman Danny Wardell – all starters – are the other elders.

"It starts with senior leadership," Martin said. "Those four guys have been great for us this season. Boy do they get across to the other guys what is expected of them both on the field and off."

The Seminoles will send one of the nation's hottest pitchers in Bryan Henry (9-2) to the mound in Friday's ESPN-televised opener. Michael Hyde gets the call Saturday, and FSU will likely turn to Mark Sauls if a Sunday game is needed.

Offensively, FSU hopes to start producing with more regularity after posting just 18 hits in three games last weekend, 11 of which game in the clinching rout against Auburn.

Mentally, they know what they're made of.

"There were a lot of new faces that first day and there's a huge difference between then and now," Lynch said. "Now, everyone knows each other's cell phone number and is ready to help each other out in any way possible - whether it's school or getting to park or whatever.

"I know that I have 24 other guys that are here for me."

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