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Opponent Preview: Florida State

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Meet the Seminoles... The most complete opponent the Wolfpack has faced this year

2019 Florida State Baseball Season Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

Who’s the Pack playing?

Opponent: Florida State

Mascot: Seminoles | School Location: Sabre Headquarters, FL | Conference: ACC

2021 Record: 28-19 (19-14, 2nd Atlantic) | 2021 RPI Rank: 48

2020 Record: 12-5 (1-2, T-4th Atlantic) | 2020 RPI Rank: 18

2019 Record: 42-23 (17-13, 3rd Atlantic) | 2019 RPI Rank: 33


When? Where? How do I watch?

Location: Doak Field at Dail Park (Raleigh, NC)

Game Time(s): Thur, May 20 @ 6:30pm | Fri, May 21 @ 6:30pm | Sat, May 22 @ 1:00pm

TV: ACC Network Extra / WatchESPN (Friday | Saturday | Sunday)

Radio: TuneIn App, GoPack (Friday | Saturday | Sunday)

Live Stats: Sidearm Stats


Tell me about this team

Florida State is one hell of a baseball program. I don’t have to tell you that. Heck, even the most casual of college baseball fans knows that. That’s what happens when you have a legendary coach like Mike Martin, Sr., lead the program for four decades. For a taste of just how dominant those teams were: Over the last 20 seasons under Martin, Sr, FSU finished outside of the RPI Top 20 just twice... and one of those teams went to the College World Series. Also, that 20-year run just mentioned, that featured a total of 6 CWS appearances, wasn’t even as good as the first 20 years of his FSU tenure when his teams went to Omaha 11 times.

But this was a dominant program even before Martin, Sr. Florida State and baseball is like peas and carrots. Now (well, last year), Mike Martin, Jr. takes over at the helm. While nobody in their right mind can expect Martin, Jr. to replicate the success of his father, the team he has put together this year has plenty of pieces in place to take them to the place - Omaha - where his father became so well acquainted.

This Florida State team features a pitching staff that is the best in the ACC. The starting rotation is legit and the bullpen runs ten deep easy. If that wasn’t enough, they have a solid mix of right- and left-handed options, keeping them from being overly susceptible to certain lineups. Overall, the FSU pitching staff leads the ACC (in conference play) in ERA, opponent batting average, strikeouts, K:BB ratio, home runs allowed, and shutouts. Yaaay....

Offensively, the Seminoles are a bit of a mixed bag. They are one of the bottom teams in the ACC in batting average in conference play, but 2nd in HR (NC State is 1st). Surprisingly, despite the high home run totals, FSU is just 10th in the ACC in slugging percentage, although they do rank 4th in on-base percentage thanks to far-and-away leading the conference in walks (184... 2nd place has 139) and the willingness to wear pitches.

While not being exceptional defensively, FSU is tied for 4th in the ACC in team fielding percentage. They are also fantastic at keeping opponents at bay on the base paths, throwing out 10-of-22 attempted base stealers this year in conference play.

The weakness of this team is a lineup that struggles to go nine deep. That said, the on-base abilities this team has displayed coupled with the power bats is a scary enough. With this pitching staff, if the bats get hot, this is a team that could coast to Omaha.


Who’s on the mound for these guys?

Thursday: LHP Bryce Hubbart (rFR)

Friday: RHP Conor Grady (rJR)

Saturday: LHP Parker Messick (rFR)


Key Players:

Offense

C Matheu Nelson (rSO) - .319/.438/.773, 14 2B, 20 HR, 43 R, 59 RBI, 28 BB, 49 K, 3-5 SB. Tied for that national lead in HR. 39th round pick (Phillies, 2018) draft pick out of high school. Has been a solid college player the last two years, but this year has vaulted into a top 5 round draft guy.

LF Elijah Cabell (rSO) - .287/.425/.628, 2 2B, 14 HR, 24 R, 36 RBI, 28 BB, 64 K, 2-3 SB. Huge pop in the bat. Tied for 5th in the ACC with 10 HR in conference play. The knock against him is (obviously) the huge strikeout numbers. 14th round pick (Brewers, 2018) out of high school.

1B Tyler Martin (rFR) - .289/.465/.358, 5 2B, 2 HR, 46 R, 21 RBI, 43 BB, 20 K, 12 HBP, 5-7 SB. Leadoff hitter and absolute on-base machine who was a 2020 Freshman All-American. Son of FSU head coach Mike Martin, Jr. Not a lot of pop in the bat or speed with the feet, but - as you’d expect - an advanced approach at the plate.

3B Logan Lacey (rJR) - .297/.373/.462, 11 2B, 5 HR, 30 R, 26 RBI, 14 BB, 33 K, 3-3 SB. Two-hole hitter. Former JUCO transfer who was a two-way player at that level. Hitting .263/.333/.430 in ACC play. Has hits in 10 of his last 11 games (.363 BA in that stretch).

Pitching

LHP Parker Messick (rFR) - 6-2, 2.78 ERA, 74.1 IP, 59 H, 22 BB, 109 K. Stocky left-hander who somehow flew under the radar coming out of high school, but is no secret to anyone now. Low 90’s fastball, but a high spin rate that puts some serious movement on it which gives it rise and arm-side run. Has gone at least 5.0 IP in every start since Feb 26.

LHP Bryce Hubbart (rFR) - 6-4, 3.26 ERA, 60.2 IP, 44 H, 22 BB, 86 K. Similar pitch mix to Messick - with similar movement on his FB - but albeit from a more slender frame. Has a really good curve. Fast motion on the mound. Struggled with control last year; that hasn’t been the case via walks this year, but he has plunked 10 batters.

RHP Conor Grady (rJR) - 5-2, 3.84 ERA, 61.0 IP, 56 H, 17 BB, 82 K. In his career has been more of an off-speed, good-not-great pitcher, but this year has hit his stride. He’s a high-80’s/low-90’s FB guy. Has only worked through the 6th inning twice this year.

RHP Jack Anderson (rSO) - 2-0, 4 SV, 2.39 ERA, 37.2 IP, 25 H, 5 BB, 43 K. A guy NC State was decently high on coming out of high school, when he was a 36th round pick (Yankees, 2018). Lightly used as a freshman in 2019 before becoming a top bullpen arm last year and the closer this year.

LHP Clayton Kwiatkowski (rSR) - 1-2, 0 SV, 2.25 ERA, 20.0 IP, 15 H, 8 BB, 31 K. One of those dudes that feels like he’s been at FSU forever now. Like Grady, a good-not-great player who has hit another level this year. Has only allowed a run to score in 4 of 18 appearances this year, and has only allowed more than one run to score in one of those outings.

RHP Davis Hare (rJR) - 1-1, 3 SV, 2.78 ERA, 22.2 IP, 20 H, 12 BB, 27 K. Just an old JUCO guy from Guyton (GA). Low-to-mid-90’s FB with a splitter that can be devastating. 3rd on the team in appearances. Also swings the bat for the ‘Noles (.306/.324/.528).

LHP Jonah Scolaro (rJR) - 0-2, 0 SV, 2.61 ERA, 20.2 IP, 17 H, 10 BB, 21 K. A Freshman All-American in 2018 when he was the team’s closer. Hasn’t been able to find that level of success since, but is still a solid reliever. Best as a match-up reliever to maximize his breaking pitches.

RHP Chase Haney (rSR) - 3-1, 1 SV, 5.40 ERA, 25.0 IP, 28 H, 7 BB, 29 K. Team captain and wears the #11 jersey to honor former FSU head coach Mike Martin, which is fitting since Haney was a freshman on Martin’s first FSU team. Sidearm pitcher that is frustrating as hell.


Quick! Fun Facts!

This game will feature five highly ranked 2021 MLB Draft prospects:

  • NC State
  • C Luca Tresh - #69 (nicccce)
  • SS Jose Torres - #72
  • CF Tyler McDonough - #111
  • Florida State
  • C Matheu Nelson - #90
  • RF Robby Martin - #96

FSU has four alumni who have played at the MLB level in 2021 (1B John Nogowski, STL; C Buster Posey, SFG; OF D.J. Stewart, BAL; RHP Luke Weaver, ARI).

All-time, NC State is 33-72 versus Florida State. The two teams split their four meetings in 2019, with the Wolfpack taking two of three in the regular season series and the Seminoles winnings the ACC Tournament match-up between the two.


Prediction

This is a match-up of power on power. NC State has the deeper lineup, but Florida State has the deeper pitching staff.

Outcome: The Seminoles take two of three