For the second time in three weeks, the eyes of college baseball will be focused on Doak Field.Â No need to get cute with this one (but that doesn’t mean I won’t eventually at some point…but business first) as this is just as big of a series as the UNC-CH series was two weeks ago.
FSU (40-9, 16-8 ACC) comes to town this weekend nursing a half game lead over the Pack (38-11, 15-8 ACC) for the Atlantic Division lead.Â The winner of this series will not only have a big time inside track on the ACC’s Atlantic Division flag (and the implications which that will have as far as ACC Tourney seeding), but will also have a big time inside track on getting a national seed for the upcoming NCAA Tournament.
Currently, UNC-CH (1), UVa (3), FSU (5) and NCSU (7) are all ranked in the top 8 in RPI, as well as the top ten of all the college baseball polls (in varying orders, so we won’t muddy up the waters with that right now…plus it saves me from having to repeatedly say Carolina is #1).
The general consensus is that the ACC will receive 3 national seeds, with UNC-CH and UVa being pretty much locked in barring catasrophes.Â And while UNC-CH and UVa face off next weekend to end the regular season, neither is likely to do enough damage to the other’s RPI numbers to bump either from national seed status.
So, assuming UVa handles Duke at home and UNC-CH does their impersonation of General Sherman in Atlanta when they visit the Jackets this weekend (hehe…get it?), it’s pretty much a two team race for the last national seed out of the ACC.
FSU is obviously a stiff opponent, but there is one stat that might figure into play big time with this series so I wanted to point it out before we get to the “other” numbers:Â While the Seminoles have lost only nine times this season, seven of those losses have come on the road where they have been only average at 9-7.Â Conversely, the Pack holds a home record of 24-6 and have lost at home only twice since Trea Turner’s return from injury.
And we mustn’t forget about Clemson (34-15, 17-10 ACC) either, currently tied with the Pack a half game back of FSU.Â Though the Tiggs play Ga. Southern out of conference this weekend and are thus unlikely to be able to up their RPI numbers enough to garner a national seed all things considered, they do still close out the season next week @FSU and could sneak past both the Pack and FSU for the Atlantic Division flag if things fall correctly.
So, the Atlantic Division currently looks like this….
- 1. FSU (16-8) – ACC Games Remaining: @NCSU (x3), vs Clemson (x3)
- t2. NCSU (15-8) – ACC Games Remaining: vs FSU (x3), @Duke (x3)
- t2. Clemson (17-10) – ACC Games Remaining: @FSU (x3)
With a 2 game deficit in the loss column and a trip to Tallahassee (where FSU is 30-2), Clemson has their work cut out for them no matter how you slice it and is highly unlikely to be able to jump past both FSU and NCSU, but it COULD happen.
On the other hand, if the Pack can handle FSU this weekend then only a trip to Durham will stand between them and a division crown and a likely national seed.Â Incidentally, those games will be played at the DBAP, where Duke is 9-7.Â That being said, 3 of their wins there came against BC, while five others came against Towson, NC Central, Quinnipiac, Charlotte and Davidson.Â Duke is 1-5 in “non-BC” conference games played at the DBAP (0-3 vs VT, 1-2 vs UMd).
Bottom line: Take 2 of 3 from FSU this weekend and I like our chances (Plus the three games at the DBAP will be a nice little warmup for the ACC Tourney there the following week).
Now, as if you weren’t already confused enough, let’s look at some boring stats…
40-9 (16-8 ACC, 1st Atlantic, Rank #9, RPI #5)
2012: 50-17 (24-6 ACC, 1st Atlantic, CWS Semis – Lost (x2) to eventual Nat’l Champ Arizona)
At The Plate
As a team, FSU bats a solid .290, good enough for 4th best in the ACC (Pack = .285, 6th).Â They’re 3rd in the league in runs scored (345, 7.0 per game; Pack = 325, 6.6, 6th).
The ‘Noles are tops in the league with 115 doubles on the season, and like the Pack they have just enough power to be dangerous if not overpowering (Both teams have 25 HR on the season, t6th ACC).
With very disciplined hitters, the ‘Noles lead the league in drawing walks (281; Pack = 205, 7th) and are third best at avoiding the strikeout (273; Pack = 291, 5th best).Â Their impressive team onbase% of .415 is good enough for 2nd best in the ACC (UNC-CH, .426) and 4th best nationally.
They don’t run well however, having stolen only 35 bags on 59 attempts on the season (11th, only BC is worse), while the Pack still leads the league in steals (95) and attempts (117, t1st).
Jose Brizuela (#53, Soph, 3B) leads the team with a .331 avg.Â He also has 3 HR on the season, has knocked in 37, and has scored 31 times.Â He’s 2nd best on the team at drawing walks and his on base% is 2nd best as well.
With 7 HRs apiece, Stephen McGee (#9, Jr, C) and Marcus Davis (#24, Jr, DH/OF/1B) co-lead the ‘Noles’ team in round trippers.
McGee, who does a little bit of everything at the plate, also has 40 RBI (3rd), 40 runs scored (2nd) and 14 doubles (3rd).Â His .529 slgpct. leads the team, and he is far and away the best on the team at drawing walks (41).
Davis leads the team in runs scored with 49, is 2nd best with 43 RBIs, and is also 2nd on the team in both doubles (17)Â and slgpcts (.517).Â His 5 steals on the season (7 attempts) co-leads.
DJ Stewart (#8, Frosh, LF/CF) is more than capable at the plate.Â His 46 RBIs leads the ‘Noles and he’s hitting .317 on the season (2nd) with 4 HRs (3rd) and a slgpct of .509 (3rd).Â He also leads the team with 18 doubles and co-leads with Davis with 5 steals on 8 attempts.
In The Field
FSU’s pitching staff is very good to say the least.Â Their team ERA (2.63) is 2nd in the ACC (UNC-CH, 2.32) and 12th in the nation.Â They’ve given up the third fewest runs on the season (175, 3.57/game; Pack = 4th, 196, 4.0) and have only given up 11 HRs on the season, tops in the league.
They have a solid WHIP of 1.22 (5th ACC, 31st NCAA; Pack = 1.19, 3rd, 18th).
While the exact order may shuffle as FSU tries to line up their rotation for post-season and with the odd Saturday thru Monday series, these are the three guys I expect the Pack will be facing this weekend:
Luke Weaver (#7, Soph, RHP) – 5-1, 1.98 ERA, 63.2 IP, 4 HRs, .204 against avg, 74 Ks, 13 BBs
Brandon Leibrandt (#37, Soph, LHP) – 7-4, 3.68 ERA, 66.0 IP, 5 HRs, .259 against avg, 62 Ks, 25 BBs
Scott Sitz (#26, Sr, RHP) – 8-1, 1.41 ERA, 70.1 IP, 1 HR, .250 against avg, 57 Ks, 17 BBs
The ‘Noles are solid defensively with a team fldpct of .964, though third baseman Brizuela can be a liability at times with 20 errors in 132 chances (.848).Â With the Pack’s right-handed dominant batting order and speed, this could become pertinent.
Pack Hosts FSU for Top 10 Showdown This Weekend (GoPack.com)
FSU Baseball Home (Seminoles.com)
Weekend Preview: May 10-12 (BaseballAmerica.com)
Around The Nation
â€¢ The marquee series of the weekend features a pair of top 10 teams battling for the ACC Atlantic Division title and national seed position. No. 9 Florida State visits No. 5 North Carolina State, and both teams are red-hot. The Seminoles have won nine straight games, while the Wolfpack has won five straight and 20 of its last 21. The Seminoles (16-8) hold a half-game lead over the â€˜Pack (15-8) in the standings, but N.C. State has the advantage of being at home, where it is 24-6 this season. The Seminoles are just 9-7 on the road this year, with series losses at Virginia Tech and Virginia. The team that wins this series has the inside track on a second or third national seed out of the ACC.
College Stock Report: Week 12 (BaseballAmerica.com)
SECURE TEAMS: North Carolina, Vanderbilt, Louisiana State
ON THE BUBBLE (IN): Virginia, Cal State Fullerton, Oregon State, North Carolina State, Oregon
ON THE BUBBLE (OUT): Florida State, Indiana
No change from last week. Weâ€™ll continue to give N.C. State the edge over Florida State based on the assumption that the Wolfpack wins its home series against the Seminoles this weekend. If Florida State wins that series in Raleigh, move the â€˜Noles into the national seed column, and move the â€˜Pack out.
2013 NCAA Regional Projections (May 8th) (CollegeBaseballDaily.com)
- 1. NC State (8)
- 2. Coastal Carolina
- 3. *Western Carolina
- 4. *Charlotte
Ginger Poulson giving us at least a little bit of respect this week so I guess now she’s cute and smart(er)
Games Schedule – TV Coverage
- 5/11 Saturday, Noon – RSN/FSN, ESPN3
- 5/12 Sunday, 3pm – ESPN3
- 5/12 Monday, 7pm – ESPNU, ESPN3
Those of you who have read these previews before (all 2 of you ) know that I usually take a guess at the pitching matchups in this section as well, and am usually pretty good at it if I do say so myself.Â Therefore, in order to not screw up my at least slightly better than decent track record thus far I’m not even going to try to take a guess this time around.Â Both teams will be trying to get things set for post-season and the odd weekend schedule kinda fouls things up as well.
My best guess is that Rodon will go on Sunday (and admit it, that’s all 99% of State fans care about anyway) but even that I’m not willing to stake a bet to.
OK, fine.Â Ogburn vs Weaver, Rodon vs Leibrandt and Jernigan vs Sitz are my guesses.
I’ll update the post with the actual matchups when they’re announced officially.
***UPDATE:Â OK, I won’t be a pu**y and delete my incorrect predictions.Â I’ve been wrong before…occasionally.Â At least I got FSU’s rotation correct, though I kinda missed ours badly.
FWIW, here are the weekend’s official pitching matchups:
- Sat – Rodon vs Weaver
- Sun – Obgurn vs Leibrandt
- Mon – Stone vs Sitz
|(As Of May 9)|
Elsewhere this weekend:
Duke @ UVa
Miami @ Wake
UNC-CH @ GT
Marist @ VT
Ga. Southern @ Clemson
Off: Maryland and BC
And a quick shout out to the Wolfpack Softball team.Â Seeded #2 in the ACC Tourney, the Pack’s ladies pounded #7 seed UVa yesterday by a final score of 7-0 in their opening round game.
ACC Pitcher of the Year Emily Weiman went the distance, giving up only 3 hits for her 29th win of the season, her 7th shutout.
Renada Davis went 3 for 3 on the day with 2 HRs to reach 26 on the season.Â She had 5 RBIs total, scored 3 times and stole a base for good measure.
The ladies face #6 seed VT, who got by #3 seed UMd on Thursday, at 1pm on Friday.Â The game is televised on the RSN/FSN and is available on ESPN3 as well.
And you’d already know all of that if you had “liked” us on facebook like I’ve been asking you to.