Alex Krutchik, Correspondent (@AlexKrutchikFS on Twitter)
TALLAHASSEE, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.net) – For the 41st consecutive year, the Florida State Seminoles find themselves in the NCAA Baseball Tournament. And once again, the road for five of the 64 teams in the field will run through Tallahassee.
The Seminoles (43-17, 20-13) are getting hot at the right time. They are fresh off of another ACC Tournament title–their second in three years. Their finish to the season earned them a No. 7 national seed.
Starting on the mound Friday night will be Cole Sands (7-3, 4.46 ERA). The junior from Tallahassee took on the role of ace after Tyler Holton suffered a season ending arm injury on opening day. Sands exited a game against Duke back in early April with shoulder tightness, and was relegated to a Sunday starting role when he returned on May 7. However, coach Mike Martin is handing him the reigns to start yet another postseason run for the Seminoles.
Drew Mendoza is the hottest FSU hitter coming into the tournament. In the ACC tournament, he went 5-for-12 with 5 RBI and 4 runs. As a whole, FSU’s offense has been a huge strength. They are No. 18 in the nation in runs scored (406) and No. 1 in walks (381).
Here is how the rest of the competition looks as a whole for this regional:
Florida State (43-17, 20-13)
Team Batting Avg.: .268
Team ERA: 3.94
Record vs. Top-25 (According to USA Today): 10-9
Big Wins: @ No. 8 UNC (2 out-of 3), @ No. 11 Clemson (ACC Semi), vs. No. 19 NC State (2 out-of 3)
Mississippi State (31-26, 15-15)
Team Batting Avg.: .278
Team ERA: 4.25
Record vs Top-25 (According to USA Today): 11-5
Big Wins: Vs. No. 5 Ole Miss (2 out-of 3), vs. No. 1 Florida (sweep), vs. No. 3 Arkansas (sweep)
Oklahoma (36-23, 14-10)
Team Batting Avg.: .273
Team ERA: 3.84
Record vs Top-25 (According to USA Today): 3-5
Big Wins: Vs. No. 32 Baylor (sweep), @ No. 44 UCF (2 out-of 3)
Samford (36-24, 16-8)
Team Batting Avg.: .269
Team ERA: 3.48
Record vs Top-25 (According to USA Today): 1-1
Big Wins: @No. 44 UCF, vs. No. 14 Auburn
The Seminoles kick off their postseason against Samford at 7 p.m. The winner of this regional will face the winner of the Clemson regional, which could potentially be Clemson, St. John’s, Vanderbilt, and Morehead State.