Martin-led Florida State brings talent, confidence to Super Regional matchup with LSU
The Florida State Seminoles will enter Alex Box Stadium fresh off a stunning upset over the highly ranked Georgia Bulldogs in the Athens Regional last weekend.
This will be a compelling matchup, but one that favored LSU can certainly win. The No. 13 seeded Tigers have demonstrated the ability needed to make plays to win. Resiliency and toughness have shown through a trying season filled with injuries and slumps.
Florida State did not make it through a regional as a No. 3 seed in dominant fashion because they are undermanned. How much do you know about the Seminoles? Let’s take a look at LSU’s Super Regional opponent.
Ar 75 years young, ‘Noles head coach Mike Martin comes to Baton Rouge with 2,023 victories. He will be stepping down when the curtain drops on this season. At Florida State since 1975, Martin became their head coach in ’80 and posted consistent superb seasons. A national championship, however, has eluded him.
His last chance includes this likely lineup:
C Matheu Nelson
1B Carter Smith
2B Mike Salvatore
SS Nander De Sedas
3B Drew Mendoza
LF Tim Becker/Elijah Cabell
CF J.C. Flowers
RF Reese Albert
FSU has a .264 team batting average with 79 home runs.
Second baseman Mike Salvatore is the ringleader. The senior, named the Athens Regional’s Most Outstanding Player, has 135 total bases on the season with a .341 batting average, 84 hits, 50 RBI, 22 doubles, seven homers and four triples. Salvatore has only struck out 28 times out of 246 at bats.
Day two MLB Draft pick Drew Mendoza is a junior batting .320 16 homers and 55 RBIs. He has walked 65 times but also struck out 67. The 6-foot-5, 230 pound third baseman is a team captain who always looks for a pitch to drive.
J.C. Flowers, another day two draft choice as a right-handed pitcher, has a 1.52 ERA with 11 saves. The 6-3 junior is freakishly athletic as a two-way player for FSU. Flowers plays center field and hits .278 with 10 stolen bases but is productive with 13 bombs and 53 RBI.
A name Tigers fans will recognize is Elijah Cabell, who originally signed with LSU but enrolled at Florida State. He is batting .220 and struck out a team-high 88 times. Cabell takes an all-or-nothing approach at the plate, looking to tap into his big power.
Robby Martin, the freshman DH, has impressed with a .340 average with 54 RBIs. Martin is leaving plenty in the cupboard for the future with 19 first-year players on this year’s roster including freshmen at catcher (Matheu Mendoza) and shortstop Nander De Sedas. Right fielder Reese Albert is a sophomore is hitting .308 with 31 RBIs.
What will the Tiger hitters be facing on the mound? Florida State has four primary hurlers, and two are lefties who will challenge LSU’s left-handed heavy lineup.
Drew Parrish, a 5-11 junior, is a lefty with a 5.07 ERA (8-5 record) with 112 punch outs. He was selected by the Royals in the eighth round. When he’s on, Parrish is tough but the Tigers will have to punish mistakes since he’s allowed 15 homers on the season. Expect him to start the opener.
C.J. Van Eyk, a sophomore right-hander, could start either of the first two games in the best-of-three series. He has 10-3 record with a 3.71 ERA and 115 strikeouts.
Conor Grady, another sophomore righty, a mid relief guy but used heavily could start a potential game three or see action early in the series. He has a 3.64 ERA and 9-5 record and 67 K’s in 59 innings of work.
The other left-handed starting possibility is Shane Drohan, a 6-3 sophomore with 3-1 mark and a 3.66 ERA, has 71 strikeouts and only 21 walks in 51.2 innings. He has to figure prominently in the matchup.
Other pitching possibilities are RHP Chase Haney (2.84 ERA, .197 BAA) and LHP Clayton Kwiatkowski (4.00 ERA in 36 IP, 40 K’s). Yet another left-hander, sophomore Jonah Scolaro, has a 5.00 ERA in 45 innings but 46 punch outs.
Florida State has the talent to match up with LSU but their most dangerous strength may come from intangibles. Playing with house money as a lightly-regarded team and playing to keep their head coach’s coaching career alive makes the Seminoles a tough out. Of course, LSU expected nothing less in the Super Regionals.
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Born and raised in the New Orleans area, Rene Nadeau has been involved in sports ever since his earliest memories. Rene played basketball, wrestled, ran track, and was an All-District running back in football at John F. Kennedy High School. He went on to be a member of the LSU football program, developing a passion for the game in even…