Florida defeated the Seminoles when they visited Gainesville, but was beaten in their previous trip to Dick Howser Stadium as well as in the neutral field game in Jacksonville. With FSU the number four seed nationally, taking them down on their home field twice this weekend should be a tough test.
There could be a silver lining to what appears to be a very difficult draw for the Gators. Mike Martin's team has not experienced great postseason success this decade compared to most of his tenure. After a stretch that saw them go to the College World Series eleven times between 1986 and 2000, FSU has yet to return to Omaha. SEC teams in particular have given them trouble, as FSU's just 6-11 against the league in postseason since 2001. The last eight Seminole postseason losses have been to SEC teams. With archrival UF this year's candidate to crash the party in Tallahassee, there will be considerable pressure on this Seminoles team to end that string of disappointments.
FSU is 48-10 for the season, and features a powerful offense led by catcher Buster Posey. After Florida hitters get to face projected top ten MLB draft pick Shooter Hunt Friday, the pitching staff potentially will be getting a crack at the first draft choice overall when they go against Posey. The ACC player of the year is hitting .467 and has an on base percentage of .567 to go with 19 home runs and 73 runs batted in. He's even a relief pitcher at times too. As talented as Posey is, he's certainly not FSU's only weapon. First baseman Dennis Guinn has fifteen homers and a .627 slugging percentage. One potential trouble spot for FSU could be in centerfield, where Tyler Holt leads off and has stolen twelve bases this season. The freshman struggled in ACC tournament play, and may be wearing down a bit.
FSU's first two starters will be lefthander Matt Fairel and righty Geoff Parker. Fairel's been their number one guy most of the season, but will apparently pitch the second game according to Martin. Should Florida face Fairel Saturday, they'll be taking on a guy who's given up two earned runs or less in nine of his starts while striking out at least a half dozen batters eight times. If he goes to the bullpen against UF, Mike Martin would have to be tempted by the success of righthander Ryan Strauss. While picking up two wins in midweek starts, Strauss held UF to three earned runs in sixteen innings of work against them. Overall, FSU appears to have good bullpen depth to work with. Fielding has been an issue for FSU this season, as they've committed 85 errors so far. It has improved as the year's gone on, though.
UF doesn't look likely to get any help from Bucknell springing a shocker against FSU Friday night, so the odds are good they'll have to deal with the Seminoles at some point. When they do, we'll see if the experience gained from earlier matchups pays off in springing an upset.
FSU Scouting Report
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