Florida State Preview

As if opening with Cal State Fullerton wasn't enough to spice the start of the 2002 season, Stanford baseball travels to #6 Florida State this weekend. Like the Card, the Seminoles return a lot of veteran talent from last year's squad. JJ breaks down the rosters and matchups of this huge series.

STANFORD (2-1) at FLORIDA STATE (6-1)

Fri - 12:30pm
Sat - 11:00am
Sun - 10:00am

all times are Pacific

The top ranked Stanford Cardinal baseball team heads out on their first road trip of the season this weekend when they travel to Tallahassee to take on the 6th ranked Florida State Seminoles.  The Cardinal, who are the unanimous #1 ranked team in the country to start the season, took two-of-three games from #15 Cal State Fullerton this past weekend.  Carlos Quentin picked up right where he left off last season when he belted a three-run homer in his first at-bat of the year as the Cardinal took the opening contest 7-4.  On Saturday, Ryan Garko and Jason Cooper went a combined 8-for-8 in the third and fourth spots of the lineup and Brian Hall drove in a career-high six runs to lead Stanford to a 17-1 trouncing of the Titans.  The Cardinal though were unable to complete the sweep as Fullerton came back on Sunday to win 6-3 despite another home run from Quentin.

This is a big series for the Cardinal as they make their longest road trip of the season.  They've had trouble beating Florida State outside of Sunken Diamond.  Back in 1999, the teams met three times in Omaha with Florida State winning two of them to knock the Cardinal out of the tournament.  Then in 2000, the teams hooked up in a series in Tallahassee with the Seminoles taking two-of-three from Stanford.  Florida State made a statement in that series when they defeated the then-#1 ranked Cardinal 13-1 in the series finale.  Finally last year, the Cardinal got some revenge when they swept the Seminoles in a three-game series at Sunken Diamond.  Even though it's very early in the season, a series win in Tallahassee makes an impression on the tournament committee and could give this team a big boost in confidence as they continue on this season.

Probable Starting Lineup:
C - Ryan Garko (6-for-12, 1 HR, 3 RBI)
* Hit .423 in the second half of last season and picked up right where he left off with a 6-for-12 performance to start 2002.

1B - Arik VanZandt (4-for-10, 0 HR, 1 RBI)
* Swung the bat well in opening weekend combined with usual outstanding defense.

2B - Chris O'Riordan (2-for-12, 0 HR, 2 RBI)
* Team MVP in 2001 struggled last weekend with only two hits in 12 at-bats.

3B - Andy Topham (4-for-11, 0 HR, 1 RBI)
* Struggled in FSU series last year going just 1-for-11.

SS - Scott Dragicevich (6-for-12, 0 HR, 2 RBI)
* Has gone 2-for-4 in each of the first three games this season.

LF - Carlos Quentin (2-for-8, 2 HR, 5 RBI)
* Both hits this year have been home runs, slugging percentage is at 1.000.

CF - Sam Fuld (4-for-14, 0 HR, 1 RBI)
* Went 3-for-4 in opening game, but only 1-for-10 in the final two games of the CSF series.

RF - Brian Hall (4-for-13, 1 HR, 7 RBI)
* Had memorable game last Saturday against Fullerton going 3-for-5 with a double, homer, and six RBI.

DH - Jason Cooper (7-for-12, 0 HR, 4 RBI)
* Leading hitter after first weekend with seven hits (all singles).

Starting Pitching Rotation :
Friday - Jeremy Guthrie (RHP; 1-0, 3.00 ERA, 6 IP, 0 BB, 9 SO)
* Last year versus FSU: 7 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 8 SO

Saturday - Tim Cunningham (LHP; 1-0, 1.50 ERA, 6 IP, 1 BB, 3 SO)
* Traditionally a fast starter to begin the year as he went 4-0 with a 1.53 ERA in first five outings last season.

Sunday - TBA
* Freshman Mark Jecmen got the start on Sunday last weekend, but could not get out of the second inning giving up four runs.

Primary Relief Pitchers :
RHP - J.D. Willcox (6 saves in 2001)
* Pitched 2 2/3 innings of scoreless relief in his first outing of 2002.

Others : Ryan McCally (0-0, 0.00, 1 SV), Drew Ehrlich (0-0, 0.00, 1 SV), John Hudgins (0-0, 2.08), and Dan Rich (0-0, 27.00).

Florida State Seminoles

The 6th ranked Florida State Seminoles got an early start to the 2002 season with a seven-game road trip to the Hawaii islands.  Two weekends ago they swept a three-game series from lowly Hawaii-Hilo scoring 35 runs in the process.  Last weekend, they took 3-of-4 games from Hawaii.  After dropping the opening contest in heartbreaking fashion in the bottom of ninth inning, the Seminoles rebounded to win the final three games, 8-5, 7-4, and, 12-1.  They hit .344 as a team on the road trip while averaging nine runs per game.   On the pitching side, they held their opponents to a paltry .233 average while compiling a 2.82 team ERA.

This is a veteran Seminole baseball team with seven starting position players and their entire starting rotation returning from a team that fell just one game shy of Omaha last year.  With all these players coming back plus a very talented freshman class it's no wonder that Seminoles are considered one of the elite in college baseball this season.  Their top hitter is first baseman Ryan Barthelemy.  The senior clean-up hitter hit .343 last year with a team leading 14 homers.  He's opened up this season with a bang going 15-for-27 with five doubles, a homer, and 12 RBI on their trip to Hawaii.  Other top players include centerfielder Nick Rogers who hit .351 last year and has already belted two homers this season.  Another player to watch is right fielder/DH Mike Futrell.  Futrell was a solid player last season for the Seminoles hitting .345 with eight homers and 56 RBI and will be counted on this year to be a main power hitter.  Florida State was dealt a blow last weekend when starting shortstop Stephen Drew broke a bone in his foot.  Drew, who was hitting .346 in the young season, will not play this weekend.  The Seminoles starting rotation of Blair Varnes, Matt Lynch, and Robby Read is one of the top rotations in the country.  They combined to go 25-8 last year while Varnes is now in his fourth season in the starting rotation.

Probable Starting Lineup :
C - Tony Richie (8-for-27, 0 HR, 4 RBI)
* Freshman All-American last season, threw out 35% of attempted base stealers in 2001.

1B - Ryan Barthelemy (15-for-27, 1 HR, 12 RBI)
* Slugging percentage is at .926, on-base percentage at .586, while batting average is a sizzling .556.

2B - Bryan Zech (4-for-16, 1 HR, 5 RBI)
* Struggled last year in the field making 21 errors in 57 games.

3B - Kevin Richmond (8-for-22, 0 HR, 6 RBI)
* True-Freshman, hit .364 during road trip to the islands.

SS - Jeff Probst (5-for-23, 0 HR, 4 RBI)
* Starting at short for the injured Drew, has struggled to a .217 start this season.

LF - Tony McQuade (9-for-23, 1 HR, 4 RBI)
* Had only 27 at-bats last year as a frosh, already with 23 this season.

CF - Nick Rogers (9-for-28, 2 HR, 11 RBI)
* Moved from right to center field this season, hits third in the lineup.

RF - Richie Smith (7-for-18, 0 HR, 4 RBI)
* Went only 12-for-58 last year in a limited role, emerging as a top hitter on this year's club.

DH - Mike Futrell (6-for-21, 1 HR, 4 RBI)
* A top offensive threat, should hit toward the middle of the lineup.

Probable Starting Rotation :
Friday - Blair Varnes (RHP; 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 7 IP, 1 BB, 3 SO)
* Went 9-1 with a 3.61 ERA last season, walking only 27 in 115 innings.

Saturday - Matt Lynch (LHP; 2-0, 0.00 ERA, 12 IP, 2 BB, 8 SO)
* Went 3-2 with a 1.59 ERA this past summer in the Cape Cod League.

Sunday - Robby Read (R


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