NoleGameday

Series Preview: College of Charleston Cougars

When: February 26-28

Where: Dick Howser Stadium; Tallahassee, FL

Friday Match-up: Mike Compton (1-0 1.80ERA) vs. Nathan Helvey (0-0 0.00ERA)

Saturday Match-up: Drew Carlton (1-0 0.00ERA) vs. Bailey Ober (0-0 6.23ERA)

Sunday Match-up: Cole Sands (1-0 0.00ERA) vs. Hayden McCutcheon (1-0 0.00ERA)

Player to Watch FSU: OF Gage West

Player to Watch CC: IF Dupree Hart

 

Florida State had no problem dispatching Rhode Island over the weekend, taking all three games of the series and scoring a total of 50 runs. The Seminoles will have a much tougher challenge as College of Charleston travels to Tallahassee for a late-February series. The Cougars are coming off of a series win, taking two of three, against Nebraska. This series is also a rematch of last year’s NCAA Tallahassee Regional in which FSU took both games to sweep the Cougars.

Florida State is looking to ride the momentum of their offensive explosion last weekend. College of Charleston will be throwing three right-handed pitchers this weekend so Coach Mike Martin will be looking to load the lineup with left-handed and switch-hitting platoons. Gage West and Jackson Lueck, two of the corner outfield platoon players, are two players that will be key in this series. West, who is coming off a series in which he went 5-7 HR 6RBI, will be in line to see many at-bats this weekend. If last Sunday’s game is any indication, West will be batting in an RBI spot in the lineup, as he hit 5th in the order against the only right-handed starting pitcher of the series. Coach Martin mentioned how he was impressed by the freshman Lueck handled his first series and to look for Lueck getting playing time going forward. According to Coach Martin, “Jackson Lueck did a good job as a freshman in his first weekend. He has a very high upside, he can run he can throw, he can hit, and he can hit for power. Being a switch hitter he brings a lot of help to our ball club.”Coach Martin went on to say that Lueck should see playing time this series because of the fact he is a switch hitter and can face right-handed pitchers.

“Yesterday the guys really showed me what they’re about, they came out to practice, it was one day after scoring 23 runs.” Coach Martin said. “There was no let up in their habits, they really showed me a professional approach to the game. That made me and the entire staff to be very, very pleased to be a part of what we see is the opportunity to get better every day.”

Coach Martin has confirmed that the same starters who took the mound last weekend will also be the starting pitchers this weekend. So it will be Mike Compton on Friday, Drew Carlton on Saturday, and Cole Sands on Sunday. One story line to watch this weekend for FSU pitching will be how freshman Tyler Holton is used. Holton is the presumed mid-week starter so Coach Martin may not want to use him as much. The catch with limiting Holton’s usage is that Holton was undoubtedly the Seminoles best reliever over the weekend. Look for Holton to be used on Friday if need be and only sparingly on Saturday and Sunday.

Closer Tyler Warmouth will also be in line to see more high-leverage innings this series. Warmouth, who struck out three in one inning of relief in his only appearance last weekend, will be the first Seminole reliever to get the opportunity to secure the ninth inning job and will face much better hitters this weekend. Warmouth along with Matthew Kinney, the Voyles brothers, and even Cobi Johnson seem in line to get the bulk of the late inning work coming out of the bullpen this season.

The player to watch for College of Charleston is freshman infielder Dupree Hart. Hart batted 6-10 with 9RBI and a .714 OBP over the weekend to earn the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) Freshman of the Week. Hart was a highly coveted two-sport star coming out of high school, earning the title of 2015 South Carolina Mr. Baseball while also being a finalist for 2015 South Carolina Mr. Football. Hart played second base during the Nebraska series and was the Preseason Freshman of the Year for the CAA.

The top draft prospect for College of Charleston is sophomore right-hander Bailey Ober. Ober, the 2014 NCBWA Freshman of the Year and CAA Rookie of the Year, missed all of last season with Tommy John surgery and is still a tad rusty coming back from injury as he allowed 3ER on 7H in just 4.1IP during his season debut last Saturday. Ober’s fastball touches the low 90’s and has an impressive change-up to complement his fastball. Ober is eligible to be drafted this summer and is expected to be.

Florida State is hoping that they can keep the momentum from last weekend rolling into this weekend. For the Seminoles it starts and ends with the offensive production. If the offense even reaches half of the production they did last weekend they should have no issues facing the Cougars, if not the Seminoles could find themselves in three close, contested baseball games for the first time this season.

Vinnie Cervino

Lead Baseball Writer, Perpetually Pessimistic Sport Fan, Proprietor of My Own Delusions and Fallacies, 80 Grade Takes. Twitter @cervino_vinnie.



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