FSU-LSU Super Regional Preview

Haylee Blitch

FSU and LSU last met up in the 2017 College World Series, as LSU eliminated FSU with wins over the Noles in G1 and G3 of the CWS. Mike Martin will face off with 12th year HC Paul Mainieri. Mainieri has led the Tigers to 5 CWS, 1 runner up, and 1 national championship. Mainieri sits at 15th on the all-time wins list with 1415 wins. The Tigers and Noles are two of the most storied franchises in College Baseball history and it should be one of the best Super Regionals atmospheres in “The Box” this weekend. LSU will pack 12,000+ fans into the stadium, easily the most vaunted stadium any of the FSU players will have played in. FSU showed last weekend that they can win in enemy territory, even against some of the best pitching in the nation. The Noles went 3-0 and outscored their opponents 35-11, while LSU also went 3-0, outscoring their opponents 31-11. It should be a fun one in Baton Rouge this weekend.

Saturday, 3:00 PM, ESPN- FSU LHP Drew Parrish (5.07 ERA, 8-5) v. LSU RHP Cole Henry (3.51, 4-2)

Sunday, 6:00 PM, ESPN 2- LSU RHP Landon Marceuax (4.64 ERA, 5-2) v. FSU RHP CJ Van Eyk (3.71, 10-3)

*Monday, 8:30 PM, ESPN- FSU RHP Conor Grady (3.64 ERA, 9-5) v. LSU RHP Eric Walker (5.47 ERA, 5-4)

Best Hitter in Regional: FSU 3B Drew Mendoza- .320 AVG/.482 OBP/.631 SLG/59 Runs/16 HR’s/55 RBI

The 3rd round pick leads this regional in nearly every major offensive category. Mendo hits for power while also being patient and drawing lots of walks. FSU needs their big bat to produce this weekend to move on to Omaha. I won’t be surprised to see Mendoza put a few balls onto the short porch in RF at the Box. Mendoza has shown in his 3-year career that he’s at his best in the postseason. The Noles’ 3B will be ready to make some noise at the dish this weekend.

Best Starter in Regional: FSU RHP CJ Van Eyk- 3.71 ERA/87.1 IP/115 K’s/37 BB’s/.222 BAA/10-3 Record

Van Eyk leads the starters in this regional in almost every statistic except ERA, but he’s been fantastic of lately. The Noles have won Van Eyk’s last 8 starts, and they play better when he is on the mound. CJ brings the intensity to the hill that makes a whole team play harder and puts fear in the other team. The sophomore will run the ball into the upper 90’s at times, and if he throws strikes, he can be nearly unhittable.

Best Reliever in Regional: FSU RHP JC Flowers- 1.52 ERA/23.2 IP/22 K’s/10 BB’s/.188 BAA/11 saves

JC was drafted in the 4th round of the MLB draft as a reliever after just 1 year on the mound, that shows just how good he is. Flowers has only given up 4 runs all season long and has been nearly unhittable. The junior has made hitters look silly this season with his fastball-slider combination. If FSU can get to Flowers with the lead, it should be all but over.

Best Defender in Regional: LSU CF Zach Watson

Watson was drafted with the first pick of the 3rd round in this year’s draft, and a lot of it has to do with his defense. The junior covers all sorts of ground in the outfield and has only made 2 errors in 179 games in his 3-year career. Watson was named to the All-SEC Defensive team and the Gold Glove team in 2018.

Hitting: Advantage FSU

On the season, FSU has averaged 7 runs, in comparison to the Tigers 6.7 runs per game. The Noles offense is much more powerful than LSU’s, putting up 16 more HR’s in 4 fewer games. The Tigers’ offense is scrappy, but FSU has the ability to strike much quicker and put up runs at a rapid pace. The Noles offense showed that they can do it against SEC pitching last weekend, as they demolished 2 of the best pitchers in the nation. FSU has already proved them self against the SEC once in the postseason, and they should have similar production this weekend in Baton Rouge.

Starting Rotation: Advantage FSU

FSU has the advantage here due to experience and skill. LSU has 2 freshmen starting this weekend, while FSU has 2 sophomores and a junior. The Tigers have the statistical advantage in G1, but Drew Parrish’s experience will come into play. If Drew can stay away from the HR ball, he can put up a very good line on Saturday. On Sunday and Monday, FSU has a strong advantage in the SP category. Even if FSU drops G1, I still like their chances to take G2 and G3, with Van Eyk and Grady, who have 10 and 9 wins on the year, on the hill.

Bullpen: Advantage LSU

A lot of LSU’s best pitchers with the best stuff is in their pen. The Tigers boast 5 relievers with an ERA under 4.00, while FSU has 3. This has been a part of the team that plagued the Noles for most of the season, but they can put together good runs. FSU has the advantage at the closer position, but LSU has more depth and a bit more talent in the pen. FSU needs to get to the Tigers’ starters early.

Defense: Advantage LSU

The defense has been another part of FSU’s team that has plagued them all season long. On the season, LSU has a fielding percentage of .977, while FSU’s is a .963. FSU’s defense actually played pretty well in the Athens Regional, but LSU definitely has the advantage here. FSU has to stay away from the mental lapses on defense to have a chance in Baton Rouge this weekend.

Prediction: FSU in 3

FSU showed last weekend that they’re gonna score, no matter who is on the mound. FSU won’t face any starters this week that compares to Emerson Hancock or Cole Wilcox, so why shouldn’t we expect FSU’s offense to have multiple offensive outbursts again? If FSU can stay away from the errors and the mental lapses on the base paths, I really like their chances. It’s been the same all season, if FSU stays out of their own way, they’re gonna win. LSU is one of the most talented teams in the nation, but FSU matches up everywhere. FSU already proved they can win in a lethal environment. If FSU can get production from the bottom of their lineup (De Sedas, Smith, Becker) again, FSU’s chances are very good this weekend. At this point, FSU is just playing for more, for Coach Martin.

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