Game Preview (Omaha Edition): FSU vs. LSU

Larry Novey

Florida State (45-21) vs. LSU (48-17)
2017 CWS Game 2
Location: TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, NE
Time: 8PM on Saturday June 17th
Television: ESPN

Pitching Matchup
(FSU) LHP Tyler Holton: 10-2 2.25 ERA in 112 innings pitched over 17 starts this season.
(LSU) RHP Alex Lange: 9-5 2.92 ERA in 111 innings pitched over 17 starts this season.

This is a battle of both teams aces as both Mike Martin and Paul Mainieri opted to go with their top starters in their first game in Omaha. Holton has been fantastic this season for Florida State shutting down some of the top teams in the country. He comes in to the College World Series with opposing hitters hitting at a dismal .171 clip off of him this year. Lange is also an elite college pitcher who was recently drafted by the Chicago Cubs 30th overall in the MLB Draft. Lange had a fantastic freshman season in Baton Rouge where he went 12-0 and posted a sub two ERA. Though not as dominant as he once1 was he comes into this showdown with FSU with respectable numbers on the year and a .233 batting average against mark. On paper it is apparent that this game could very easily turn into a pitcher’s duel as two of the top arms in the country are set to take the mound on Saturday night in Omaha.

Projected Lineups 

Florida State
SS Taylor Walls .276/8 HR/47 RBI
3B Dylan Busby .315/14 HR/62 RBI
LF Jackson Lueck .327/9 HR/54 RBI
DH Quincy Nieporte .305/10 HR/78 RBI
C Cal Raleigh .226/8 HR/37 RBI
1B Drew Mendoza .263/8 HR/31 RBI
2B Matt Henderson .265/0 HR/21 RBI
RF Steven Wells .233/1 HR/ 6 RBI
CF J.C. Flowers .239/2 HR/32 RBI

Florida State comes into Omaha with an offense that is red hot. The ‘Noles put up 7 and 19 in their two Super Regional games and look to continue to swing the bats well in Omaha. FSU is led by sophomore right fielder Jackson Lueck who was the MVP of the Super Regional after single handedly winning Game 1 for FSU by going 4-5 including a walk off single to win the game. FSU’s lineup is strong at the top but weakens as you move down the order which may cause some problems in Omaha. JC Flowers is especially cold in the nine hole, coming in on a streak of at bats in which he’s approximately 5 for his last 40. However, help may be on the way as Rhett Aplin, who was hitting .322 before requiring surgery, is going to be available in some capacity for FSU in Omaha. It seems that Aplin, at first, might be used as a pinch hitting option should FSU need some more offense in a certain situation.

SS Kramer Robertson .319/8 HR/43 RBI
2B Cole Freeman .327/2 HR/41 RBI
LF Antoine Duplantis .322/1 HR/57 RBI
RF Greg Deichmann .320/19 HR/72 RBI
CF Zach Watson .313/8 HR/35 RBI
DH Beau Jordan .277/3 HR/25 RBI
3B Josh Smith .289/4 HR/43 RBI
C Michael Papierski .260/8 HR/34 RBI
1B Jake Slaughter .256/2 HR/23 RBI

LSU is one of the strongest offensive teams in the nation and it jumps out at you on paper. Five of the Tiger’s nine starters are batting over .300 and none of them are batting below .250. They have more balance than FSU offensively and less of a dropoff is found at the bottom of their order. LSU’s Greg Deichmann is one of the premier hitters in the country as he shows ability to hit with power and contact as shown by his slash line that includes a .320 average to go along with a monstrous home run total of 19. FSU is going to have to neutralize LSU’s offense to get a win on Saturday and Tyler Holton will attempt to do just that.

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