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Opponent Preview: Florida State

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Meet the Seminoles... as talented a team as there is in the ACC

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

2022 Record: 11-5 (2-1, 2nd Atlantic) | 2022 RPI Rank: 11

2021 Record: 31-24 (20-16, 3rd Atlantic) | 2021 RPI Rank: 45

2020 Record: 12-5 (1-2, T-4th Atlantic) | 2020 RPI Rank: 17


When? Where? How do I watch?

Location: Dick Howser Stadium (Tallahassee, FL)

Game Time(s): Fri, Mar 18 @ 7:00pm | Sat, Mar 19 @ 2:00pm | Sun, Mar 20 @ 1:00pm

TV: ACCNX (Friday | Saturday | Sunday)

Radio: GoPack.com (Friday | Saturday | Sunday) / WKNC 88.1

Live Stats: Stat Broadcast


Tell me about this team

And in steps another Top 5 opponent for the Wolfpack...

Notre Dame is probably the best team on NC State’s schedule this year, but Florida State may well be the most talented. The Seminoles have always had more than their share of talent throughout the entirety of the baseball program’s history, and Mike Martin Jr. is keeping that going in his third year at the helm.

Unlike Notre Dame, which has a roster littered with college baseball veterans and experienced transfers, Florida State is much younger and featuring a roster that will entice a few more MLB scouts than you’ll see at a Fighting Irish game. This FSU team features four players in the Top 300 prospects for the 2022 draft (LHP Bryce Hubbart, LHP Parker Messick, SS Jordan Carrion, and 3B Brett Roberts) and four more players in the Top 100 college prospects for the 2023 draft (RHP Carson Montgomery, RHP Jackson Baumeister, LHP Ross Dunn, and LHP Wyatt Crowell). And that’s nothing to say of the Top 10 freshman class the Noles brought in.

The lineup is retooled and built on the backs of several key transfers: Roberts (Tennessee Tech) and a pair from rival schools in 1B Alex Toral (Miami) and SS Jordan Carrion (Florida). So far that retooling has worked incredibly well, seeing the team’s slash line improve from .241/.355/.417 last year to .295/.393/.485 this year. Plus the lineup will only get better when Tyler Martin, one of the team’s top hitters a year ago, returns from an injury that has kept him almost completely off the field so far. Mike Martin Jr, Tyler’s father, runs an offense that plays for the big inning, so you’re unlikely to see the Noles play much small ball or attempt many stolen bases, even if the athleticism is there to do the latter.

Even the defense has improved with retooling.

The pitching staff is almost all homegrown, with only a few supplemental JUCO arms to help in the bullpen. They have at least six guys who are likely Top 50 draft picks over the next three years, and likely all as starting pitchers. That’s ridiculous. The bullpen has a nice blend of experience and youth.


Who’s on the mound for these guys?

Friday: LHP Parker Messick (rSO)

Saturday: LHP Bryce Hubbart (rSO)

Sunday: LHP Ross Dunn (SO)


Key Players:

Offense

RF Jaime Ferrer (FR) - .361/.435/.607, 7 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 6 R, 10 RBI, 3 BB, 14 K, 5 HBP, 2-3 SB. Well-built freshman with big time potential. Obviously the bat has already adjusted well to the college level, and he has the tools to move behind the plate later on his career, too.

3B Brett Roberts (rSO) - .322/.431/.525, 4 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 11 R, 7 RBI, 11 BB, 14 K, 1 HBP, 2-4 SB. Transfer from Tennessee Tech where he was a Freshman All-American. The knock on Roberts coming into the season was his inability to draw walks. So far he’s answered that question and will shoot up draft boards if he can carry the same production into ACC play. Versatile defender.

CF Logan Lacey (rSR) - .303/.377/.561, 3 2B, 1 3B, 4 HR, 15 R, 17 RBI, 7 BB, 12 K, 2 HBP, 1-1 SB. Former JUCO transfer with really good athleticism. In an offense that pushed the issue more on the bases, he could tally a pretty good stolen base number. Kinda surprised he doesn’t get more love from a scouting perspective.

1B Alex Toral (rSR) - .273/.423/.600, 6 2B, 0 3B, 4 HR, 6 R, 18 RBI, 13 BB, 23 K, 2 HBP, 0-0 SB. Transfer from Miami where he crushed 37 home runs over four seasons, including 24 in 2019 alone. Not much speed, but he’s an on-base machine.

Pitching

LHP Parker Messick (rSO) - 2-1, 2.52 ERA, 25.0 IP, 13 H, 6 BB, 44 K. The 2021 ACC Pitcher of the Year. A strike thrower who tallies up strikeouts via location and pitch mix (he has a four-pitch repertoire) to keep hitters off-balanced and guessing rather than just trying to gas everyone up.

LHP Bryce Hubbart (rSO) - 4-0, 1.11 ERA, 24.1 IP, 12 H, 7 BB, 43 K. Actually regarded as a higher-end prospect than Messick because the fastball has more velo (mid-to-upper 90’s) and the mechanics are more sound. Absolutely destroyed the Cape Cod League last summer (31.0 IP, 14 H, 8 BB, 45 K), which jumped his draft stock.

LHP Ross Dunn (SO) - 1-0, 1.86 ERA, 19.1 IP, 9 H, 12 BB, 36 K. A different style lefty than Messick and Hubbart, Dunn is a power-arm who regularly pops fastballs in the upper 90’s. The only thing holding him back is his control. The stuff is real, though, and that combined with his build will have him as a high draft pick in 2023.

LHP Jonah Scolaro (rSR) - 1-1, 2 SV, 4.91 ERA, 11.0 IP, 12 H, 2 BB, 16 K. A 2018 Freshman All-American closer for the Noles who hadn’t pitched to that level over the last two seasons, but is back in the closer role this year and looking good. You’re probably thinking he’s a tall guy with big velo, but it’s the opposite. He’s a shorter guy who rarely touches 90 with his fastball, but has some wicked off-speed pitches.

RHP Conner Whittaker (FR) - 0-1, 0 SV, 3.68 ERA, 7.1 IP, 4 H, 2 BB, 8 K. Young arm who’s making an impact in the bullpen, and likely someone to move into the starting rotation next year when Hubbart and Messick are gone. Holding opponents to a .148 batting average.

RHP Davis Hare (rSR) - 0-0, 1 SV, 3.00 ERA, 3.0 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 5 K. Former JUCO transfer who is in his third year with FSU. Power arm with a mid-90’s fastball and a great slider to go with it. Kinda surprised to see he hasn’t pitched more this year.

LHP Wyatt Crowell (SO) - 0-0, 0 SV, 7.04 ERA, 7.2 IP, 10 H, 5 BB, 15 K. Leads the team in appearances with nine, so they love to run this dude out there - and you can see why with that strikeout total. Athletic kid.


Quick! Fun Facts!

Florida State has had 77 former players reach the MLB level, with seven of those players being at that level in the 2021 season: RHP Drew Carlton (DET), C Cal Raleigh (SEA), SS Taylor Walls (TB), 1B John Nogowski (STL, PIT), OF D.J. Stewart (BAL), RHP Luke Weaver (ARI), C Buster Posey (SF).

In keeping with the FSU alum coaching connection, last week it was Notre Dame head coach Link Jarrett who was a former FSU player. This week it’s our own NC State assistant coach Chris Hart who’s the former Seminole in the dugout.

FSU’s pitching staff leads the country in strikeouts per nine innings averaging 13.4 K/9.


Prediction

Ehhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh...

NC State’s going to be mixing up the weekend rotation for this series, putting LHP David Harrison in the Friday night spot and flipping RHP Sam Highfill to the Sunday spot. RHP Matt Willadsen will remain the Saturday starter.

FSU is a hard enough team to beat, much less trying to do so on the road.

Outcome: Seminoles take 2 of 3.