March 3, 2011
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The fifth-ranked Florida State baseball team, fresh off its Tuesday night win over No. 1 Florida at Tampa’s Steinbrenner Field, heads north for its first true road games this season. The Seminoles (8-0) visit Georgia (2-5) for a three-game weekend series which opens Friday at Foley Field (6:30 p.m.). It will mark the fourth consecutive season – and the fifth time in six years – the two programs have met:
In a series that dates to 1951, FSU holds the all-time lead at 34-24…the Seminoles are 14-12 against the Bulldogs at Foley Field;
Florida State Hall of Fame coach Mike Martin, in his 32nd season at the helm, has a 9-9 career record against Georgia;
The Seminoles are currently working on a five-game winning streak against the Bulldogs; the longest streak by either team over the course of the rivalry.
Returning to Athens
The Seminoles make their first trip to Athens since the 2006 NCAA Regional, where the Bulldogs used a 3-2 victory in Sunday’s deciding game to capture the title. It marked the sixth consecutive game between the teams on the Georgia campus – all postseason encounters. The Bulldogs went 4-2 in that stretch, which began with their 2001 NCAA Super Regional victory over the Seminoles in a third and deciding game.
Only recently re-acquainted
Since 2001, Florida State and Georgia have met 12 times on the baseball diamond, including seven meetings in NCAA postseason play. In 2008 the `Noles and `Dawgs met in a two-game series in Tallahassee – the first regular season get-together between the clubs since 1987. FSU played host to Georgia in a three-game set last season, posting a series sweep, and now returns the favor. Having already met a dozen times in the new millennium, the Seminoles and Bulldogs have played twice as many games in the past 10 years than they did in the previous 30 years.
Quick starts the recent norm
While the baseball season more closely resembles a marathon as compared to a sprint, the 8-0 Seminoles have become accustomed to getting out of the blocks quickly in recent years. The 2010 squad jumped out to a 12-0 start to begin the season – including a three-game sweep of Georgia – marking the third time in the last four years an FSU team has rattled off a dozen wins (or more) before suffering its first defeat. The Seminoles were also 12-0 in 2008; one year after the 2007 squad established a new school record by winning its first 23 games. Florida State has opened a season with 12 consecutive wins on six previous occasions – 1972, 1975 (15-0), 2007, 2008 and 2010 – with the final four coming under coach Mike Martin’s watch.
A little poll vaulting
With four wins last week the Seminoles continued their climb in the national polls. FSU made its biggest leap in the Collegiate Baseball poll, jumping to No. 5 from 11. The `Noles also checked in at No. 5 this in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association poll, up from No. 8. After checking in at No. 11 in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches preseason poll, FSU vaulted to No. 6 in this week’s first regular season ranking. Surprisingly, the `Noles slipped one spot to No. 11 in the Baseball America top 25.
McGee flirting with FSU first
Florida State senior standout Mike McGee, who currently leads the team with two homers and 11 RBI, has an opportunity to do something in 2011 that no other Seminole has accomplished in the previous 63 seasons – lead the team in home runs and RBI for three consecutive seasons. McGee is one of just four players to string together back-to-back seasons as the leader in those categories, joining Doug Mientkiewicz (1994-95), Frank Fazzini (1984-85) and Mike Fuentes (1979-80). Fazzini came the closest to pulling off the trifecta, when he finished second in RBI in 1983 – just four shy of the team lead.