June 5, 2006
SETTING THE STAGE
Florida State is once again one win away from advancing to a record eighth straight Super Regional. With a win tonight, FSU will join Miami as the only two schools to play in every Super Regional. Last night’s loss to Georgia ended FSU’s six game win streak in NCAA Regional play and six game win streak in Regional games played on the road. FSU has not had the best success when winning its first two Regional games and then losing the third. In Florida State’s postseason history the Seminoles have won the first two games and then lost the third game of a Regional nine times and FSU has made it out of those nine Regionals on just three occasions. The last time Florida State started 2-0 and then lost the third game was in 2004 versus UCF. That year FSU did comeback and advance to Super Regionals. Since 1980 though, FSU has won the first two games followed by losing the third twice at a road Regional and the Seminoles did not win either one of those Regionals (190 and 1981). On the positive side, the Seminoles have fared very well when facing a team three times in a Regional. This will be the 11th time FSU has faced the same team three times in a Regional and Florida State has gone 2-1 versus that team seven of the 10 times. The last time the Seminoles lost two of three games to a team in a regional was 1997 when FSU lost 2 of 3 to Auburn. Of the three times FSU lost 2 of 3 to a team in a Regional, two came to SEC teams. In 1997 it was Auburn and in 1990 Mississippi State took 2 of 3. The only other time FSU lost 2 of 3 was in 1956 versus Duke in it’s first-ever NCAA Tournament.
THREE GAMES VS. ONE TEAM
2004 UCF 2-1
2003 South Alabama 2-1
2000 UCF 2-1
1997 Auburn 1-2
1992 W. Carolina 2-1
1990 Miss. State 1-2
1987 South Alabama 2-1
1963 Wake Forest 2-1
1957 Duke 2-1
1956 Duke 1-2
Florida State has been living off the big hit as of late. That is one of the things that was so surprising about Sunday’s game with UGA. For just the third time in 64 games FSU was held without an extra base hit. The last time FSU was held without an extra base hit was May 14 in an 11-2 loss to Clemson. The only other time that happened was April 12 in 10-1 win over Jacksonville. Since that Clemson game, FSU had recorded 46 extra base hits in the 11 games leading up to last night. The Seminoles were averaging better than four extra base hits a game in that span and had 24 doubles, three triples and 19 homers.
LOOK FOR LUKE
If Florida State is able to keep tonight’s game close, they will undoubtedly turn to ace closer Luke Tucker and it might not just be in the eighth or ninth. In the first 18 appearances of Tucker’s FSU career he never recorded more than an inning of work, six of his last eight appearances though have all been at more than an inning. In the first 35 games of the year, Tucker averaged 0.91 innings per appearance but in the last 29 games that number has almost doubled to 1.79. Tucker’s longest outing as a Seminole came May 6 versus Wake Forest when he threw 3 2/3 and did not allow a run or a hit. There is good reason that Tucker’s work has increased. He enters tonight’s game with a 1.27 ERA and a .124 opponent batting average. If he had enough innings to qualify, Tucker would lead the nation in ERA. He has given up just one extra base hit (a double) in 105 at bats and his K:BB ratio is nearing 4:1. Tucker has been a strikeout machine averaging 14.38 per nine innings. In his last appearance versus Georgia Tucker went two innings but did not record a K. It ended a streak of 10 straight games with a strikeout and it was just the second time in his last 19 appearances that the junior did not fan a batter and only the fourth time all year. If FSU does have to dip into its bullpen early, Tucker is not the only option for a long relief stint. Despite throwing just a 1/3 of an inning in the regional, Brent Marsh is coming of one of the longest stints of his career when he threw 5 2/3 at the ACC Championships in a win over NC State. He did not allow a run in that outing and Marsh has now thrown 10 innings in his last four outings. Before those four games, Marsh had thrown just 10 2/3 innings in his previous 11 appearances.
TV OR NOT TV
Florida State has had its struggles in televised games in 2006. The Seminoles will enter tonight’s game 4-8 this season on TV and 3-6 in games televised by SUN Sports. Before Saturday’s win over Georgia on SUN Sports, FSU had lost six straight games that were televised. Things have been even worse for FSU when they play for TV on the road. Florida State is 1-4 in televised road games with the win versus Georgia being the only victory away from home for FSU in a TV game.
WHAT WE’RE DOING WELL IN THE REGIONAL
Florida State is hitting .321 and slugging .538 in the Athens Regional.
Seminole pitchers have a 2.67 ERA this weekend.
Opponents are hitting just .200 against FSU.
Nobody has stolen a base against Florida State in the Regional.
Seminole pitchers have a K:BB ratio of almost 2:1 (21:11).
Florida State is hitting .352 with runners on and .378 with runners in scoring position.
Opponents are hitting just .208 with runners in scoring position.
FSU is hitting .364 with two outs in an inning and holding opponents to a .161 average in that situation.
The Seminoles are getting off to great starts outscoring opponents 7-0 in the first.
FSU has not allowed a run in the first, second or third innings of this Regional.
The Seminoles have at least eight hits in each of their three games.
WITH A WIN
Florida State will advance to its eighth straight Super Regional.
FSU will have won 45 games for 27 straight seasons dating back to 1980.
The Seminoles will have won its first-ever postseason series over Georgia.
Florida State will have won its first postseason tournament at an SEC school since 1975. FSU came out of the Starkville Regional that year. Since then the Seminoles have lost a Regional at Mississippi State (1990) and Super Regionals at Georgia (2001), at Arkansas (2004) and at Florida (2005).
FSU will have won its first road Regional since 1996 at Stanford.
Florida State will have won its first game on a Monday all year.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
Tonight’s start for Mark Sauls will be the 46th of his career moving him into a tie for eighth on the all-time starts list at FSU.
With one more steal Shane Robinson will reach 100 becoming the first Seminoles to ever reach that mark.
With one more homerun, Shane Robinson will have more homers in 2006 (8) than he had in his first two seasons combined (7).
With one more double Shane Robinson will have 59 doubles in his career moving him into a tie for seventh place all-time at FSU with Jose Marzan.
Robinson has 293 career hits, which ranks him seventh all-time at FSU. It is one hit more than John-Ford Griffin had in his FSU career.
With one more run scored, Shane Robinson will move into a tie for number one in the nation in that category.