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There's nothing like a little home-cooking to cure what ails ya. Whether it be cold bats, fielding woes, or even the flu - sleeping in your own bed tends to make everything all right. FSU returned to half-renovated Dick Howser Stadium with a sweep over the overmatched, outpowered, and outgunned Evansville Purple Aces by a combined score of 38-6. Click here to read this week's report from Drew.

There's nothing like a little home-cooking to cure what ails ya. Whether it be cold bats, fielding woes, or even the flu - sleeping in your own bed tends to make everything all right. The Seminole Baseball team returned home from two straight weekends on the road to christen the half-renovated Dick Howser Stadium with a sweep over the overmatched, outpowered, and outgunned Evansville Purple Aces by a combined score of 38-6.

You've got to admire the Aces for one thing, they braved the 14-hour bus ride, the nights spent at the infamous Collegiate Inn, and a match up that was bound to leave them demoralized, just for the honor of playing the number two team in the country. While this weekend obviously wasn't a good barometer for FSU, the Seminoles did play very good overall baseball, committing only two errors, lowering their ERA to a minuscule 2.18, while raising their batting average to a still low, but much improved .284. The power outage even seemed to correct itself, with the Noles blasting seven homeruns in the series including four on Sunday with very damp air weighing down the ball.


Chris Hart, with timely hits and solid play at second, may have stolen the job from Zech.
Aside from rightfielder Blake Balkcom still on the disabled list, Florida State had to deal with a new starter at second base in Chris Hart who took over starting duties for Bryan Zech who missed the series due to academic troubles. I've been a pretty big critic of Hart's in the past; however he really played well against Evansville. Not only did he play errorless ball in the field, he showed some range that I frankly didn't think he had due to the horrific broken leg he suffered in 2000 against the Florida Gators. Hart did well at the plate too, raising his average from .200 up to .368 against the Purple Aces.

Marc LaMacchia is going to get another week off to rest his tender elbow. The official diagnosis is tendonitis, but I can't help but wonder if there's more to it. It just seems like an awfully long time to rest a pitcher with nothing seriously wrong. Maybe I'm just being a worrywart though. At any rate, Trent Peterson reentered the weekend rotation with a strong five-inning performance on Sunday. In fact, all three starters had excellent outings. Mark Sauls showed on Saturday that he's not just your ordinary freshman hurler. His control is unlike any freshman I've ever seen at FSU. In 13.1 innings so far, Sauls has walked just three batters while striking out 13. If Mark can keep up a 4-1 ratio, those predictions of him being the next Paul Wilson might come true.


Tony Richie now leads the team with three homeruns and twelve RBIs.
One thing to keep in mind though, FSU hasn't really been tested yet this season. VMI isn't very good, Evansville is a downright awful team, and even Stanford certainly isn't up to their normal standards, at least as this point. The Cardinal finally raised their record above .500 with a sweep over Fresno State - but I don't know how much stock to put into that at the moment, as the other FSU's record now rests at 1-6.

Looking down the road a bit at future Seminole opponents, Miami and Florida split their series in Gainesville with the final game being rained out. The Canes took game one on Friday with a 9-2 rout when young Gator pitching staff gave up seven runs in the final two innings. Florida came back in Saturday's game with a 5-3 win before the rains came on Sunday. Charleston Southern has gotten off to a rough 1-4 start, but has been competitive in all but one contest. Their one win came at the expense of #8 South Carolina and they took the Gators to the limit before losing in the tenth inning last week. The Buccaneers might not be the ordinary February whipping-boy that FSU fans are used to playing.


Stephen Drew didn't really need the construction hat to play at Howser this weekend.
Aside from a few minor but expected problems like parking, drainage, general fan-confusion, and fans wandering into off-limit and unsafe areas, Howser stadium held up well to the first home-series of the year. Members of the FSU Athletic Administration including Charlie Carr, Dr. Greg Phillips, and Bernie Waxman all worked diligently to clean up pooled water, fix small problems, and helped to greet over 7500 fans to Howser Stadium this past weekend.

Fans didn't seem to mind the inconvenience too much, as most everyone seemed to rave about their new chair-back seats. One of the major problems with the stadium probably wasn't even noticed by 95% of the fans, but for those 5%, it was pretty frustrating. Fans across the grandstand who had seats on the first row had problems watching the game because the front railing is perfectly eye-level to most people sitting in those seats. I've heard steps will be taken to lower that top bar, but no timetable exists for the fix.

A little bit of a reminder to those heading to Howser for next weekend's games against Appalachian State. No outside food or drinks, and no umbrellas are allowed in the stadium. While these rules have technically always been in effect, the security folks seem serious about enforcing them, at least for the time being. Something else to keep in mind that there is now a north gate to enter the stadium by in the left-field corner.

Fans that already have their tickets can use that gate to enter and exit the stadium. It's extremely useful for those who park in the softball/soccer lots for baseball games. Those lots are also a whole lot easier to leave from after the games than the overcrowded Circus parking lot with only one way in or out.


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