Jan. 27, 2011
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – On the eve of the first day of practice, the Florida State baseball team checked in with a pair of lofty national rankings, befitting a team with seven returning position players and a pair of weekend starters from last season’s 48-20, College World Series squad.
The Seminoles checked in at No. 11 in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll and No. 12 in the Baseball America Top 25 rankings. That’s down a couple spots from last season’s No. 6 finish in both polls, but up from their No. 13 preseason ranking by Collegiate Baseball, released last month.
“I think it’s a clear example that the expectations for our program are high because of the outstanding young men we have returning,” said FSU coach Mike Martin, whose 32nd season at the helm of the Seminoles begins in earnest with Friday’s first day of practice. “The fact that you have the No. 1 starter and your entire infield returning, except your shortstop, and you lose your centerfielder.
“We’re just excited that the season is ready to get going with spring training starting. It’s setting up to be a very exciting year for Seminole baseball.”
The Seminoles return two-year staff ace, junior left-hander Sean Gilmartin, and All-American outfielder and closer Mike McGee from a strong 2010 squad that won ACC, NCAA Regional and Super Regional titles.
While Florida State enters the 2011 campaign as the defending Atlantic Coast Conference champion, the Seminoles will have plenty of competition within the league. Five ACC teams appear in the USA Today/ESPN Top 25, while four earned a spot in the Baseball America rankings.
Clemson checks in as the top-rated ACC team in both polls (No. 5 ESPN/USA Today; No. 10 Baseball America), while the Seminoles are the league’s second-highest ranked program. Virginia (No. 14/No. 15) and Miami (No. 18/No. 24) earned spots in both the USA Today/ESPN and Baseball America polls, while Georgia Tech checked in at No. 19 in the coaches poll, as well.
The Seminoles will play a total of 13 games against teams ranked in the preseason polls, including four against in-state rival Florida, which checked in at No. 1 in the Baseball America rankings and No. 3 in the USA Today/ESPN poll. FSU has a single home game with the Gators on April 12, but neutral site meetings on March 1 in Tampa and March 29 in Jacksonville.
Clemson is the only ranked team scheduled for a three-game series in Tallahassee, although North Carolina and UCF – both of which received votes in the USA Today/ESPN poll – visit Dick Howser Stadium at Mike Martin Field for three-game sets. Two ACC road opponents, Virginia Tech and NC State, also received votes.
Florida State opens its season Feb. 18 at home against VMI and tickets to Seminole baseball can be purchased through Seminoles.com.