January 27, 2000 - by
No. 6 Baseball Opens Season Friday

Jan. 27, 2000

Florida State, ranked No. 6 in Collegiate Baseball, opens the 2000 season
with a three-game home series with Western Kentucky on Friday, January 28.

  • The Seminoles are led by preseason All-Americans Marshall McDougall and Jon
    McDonald. McDougall, who led the nation in hits and RBI last season,
    returns at second base and will hit third in the order. McDonald leads a
    talented pitching staff and will start on the mound Friday.

  • FSU ranked
    third nationally in 1999 with a team ERA of 3.18. Blair Varnes, a freshman
    All-American last season, opens as the No. 2 starter and JUCO transfer Mike
    Ziegler is scheduled to complete the weekend rotation on Sunday.

  • Sophomore
    Chris Hart, slated to take over as the starting catcher, injured his
    hamstring at practice Wednesday and is listed as day-to-day. If he does
    not start, sophomore Blair McCaleb will get the nod at catcher.

  • John-Ford
    Griffin, who led the team with a .436 average in 1999, will open at
    designated hitter against Western Kentucky due to a shoulder injury.
    Griffin will be the everyday starter in right when he gets back to 100%.

  • Mike Futrell, Karl Jernigan and Chris Smith are scheduled to start in the
    outfield Friday. Jernigan will have an expanded role this year as he will
    be used as a reliever in addition to his duties in center field.

  • Senior
    John Halliday (.298, 10 HR) is expected to return to the lineup in March
    after he recovers from an injury that has kept him out of action during the
    fall and early spring.

  • The Seminoles lost RHP Nick Stocks, RF Matt Diaz
    and 3B Kevin Cash early to professional baseball from a team that advanced
    to the CWS title game.

  • If Friday’s game is rained out, a doubleheader (two
    nine inning games) will be played Saturday at 12:00 noon.


About Western Kentucky
Western Kentucky returns four starters from a squad that finished 38-24 in
1999. Clyde Keller, who pitched at FSU from 1988-89, is an assistant coach
for the Hilltoppers. RHP Brian Houdek (7-4, 4.00 ERA), RHP Ryan Hutchison
(10-4, 3.51) and RHP Josh Novotney (8-4, 3.78) are the scheduled starters
for WKU.


The Series
FSU leads the all-time series 9-1, which dates back to 1978. The two teams
last met in 1990, with the Seminoles taking a three-game series in
Tallahassee to open the season by scores of 6-3, 6-4 and 6-4. Western
Kentucky’s last win came in 1985, when the Hilltoppers beat the Tribe 10-6
on March 12 in Dick Howser Stadium.


Radio and Television
Friday’s contest with Western Kentucky will be televised by the Sunshine
Network live at 3:30 p.m. with Gene Deckerhoff (play-by-play) and Link
Jarrett (color) providing the commentary. All three games will be carried
live on Sports Radio 1270 (WNLS-AM). Lee Bowen and Jim Crosby begin
coverage 15 minutes prior to game time. Broadcasts are also available via
the internet at www.wnls.com.

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