LSU vs FSU matchups to watch in NCAA Super Regional

Kristian Garic
June 07, 2019 - 8:04 pm
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The Tigers are two wins away from making their sixth NCAA College World Series  appearance under Coach Paul Mainieiri.  Florida State is a worthy opponent looking to pull off another upset on the road, like they did last week against Georgia, the No.4 national seed.  The Seminoles are playing inspired baseball for their skipper Mike Martin, who’s retiring at season’s end.  LSU is starting to live up to the lofty preseason No.1 billing.  Let’s take a look at the matchup:

LSU:  Record: 40-24, Postseason:  3-0                                                                    

FSU:  Record:  39-21, Postseason:  3-0

Florida State was one of the last five teams to make the NCAA Baseball Tournament.  The Noles are 13-9 against teams that made the tournament.  They are 3 and 2 against SEC teams.  While FSU hasn’t had their typical season, they are still very dangerous.  FSU can really mash at the plate.

FSU offense:  Last week in the Regional in Athens, the Seminoles slugged 10 home runs, scoring 35 runs in four games.  This team’s orientation is offense.  Mike Salvatore, Robby Martin and Drew Mendoza are the top three hitters in the Seminoles lineup.  Salvatore leads the team in batting average (.341).  Mendoza leads FSU with 16 home runs.  As a team the Seminoles hit 79 dingers. 

It’s kind of a feast or famine offense, FSU has struck out 561 times.  That’s an extremely high number.  This is a match up that favors LSU.  In Baton Rouge at Alex Box stadium it’s difficult for power hitting teams to thrive.  Teams that can hit for average typically do well, if you rely on the long ball in the spacious Box, those deep fly balls turn into long outs. 

LSU offense: The Tigers have really come alive at the plate over the last 12 games.   Catcher Saul Garza caught fire hitting over .400 over that span.  As a team the Tigers are hitting .274 with six players hitting above .280.   With the emergence of Garza and Brandt Broussard stacked between guys like Antoine Duplantis, Zach Watson and Josh Smith the lineup has no soft spot.  Earlier in the season the bottom of the order had little production, but since May 12th the bottom of the order is almost matching the top of the order in production.  That’s a dangerous combination. 

FSU pitching:  CJ Van Eyk is the ace on the mound for the Seminoles posting a 10 and 3 record with a 3.71 ERA (Earned Run Average).  Van Eyk is a power pitcher who can rack up strikeouts in a hurry.  This guy is an SEC caliber pitcher with disgusting stuff on the mound.  As a team Florida State has a 4.61 ERA.  Pitching is not the strength of this FSU team.  They prefer to get in high scoring games and win with their bats. 

LSU pitching:  Freshman Cole Henry and Landon Marceaux appear to be fully back, after battling arm issues that held both of them out of several starts in the middle of the season.  Marceaux and Henry looked pretty dominant in their last two outings.  The bullpen is set up even better for a best of three series against FSU.  If LSU can win game one of the Super Regional and force a decisive game two, the Tigers have everything going their way in terms of pitching.  If Marceaux starts in the first game and gets LSU a solid seven innings, that would leave it up to the bullpen to get six outs with plenty of arms to choose from between Zack Hess, Devin Fontenot or Todd Peterson.  In game two, Henry will likely start on the mound with the same game plan.  This is a matchup that favors the Tigers.

FSU defense: This is clearly the weakest part of the Seminoles team.  FSU is fielding just .767; committing 78 errors.  That’s eye popping!  If you kick the ball around against LSU, you are going to pay a big price.  LSU is 12 and 6 against teams that commit one error in a game.  The Tigers are 20-6 against teams that commit two or more errors in a game.  So, when a team commits two or more errors, the Tigers are unbeaten at 8-0.  Get the point?  LSU is going to try and apply as much pressure to a leaky FSU defense during the best of three series.

LSU defense:  Unlike Florida State, the Tigers are stellar in the field on defense.  LSU has a fielding percentage of .883 with just 54 errors.  At the end of this series look at the box score to see how many errors each team committed and you will likely know the outcome of the game without looking at any other stat.  It’s like the turnover margin differential in football.  

My take:  Florida State is a fine team.  Worthy and capable of beating LSU.  However, the way LSU is playing right now, I don’t see that happening.  The Seminoles will score runs, but can they go run for run with LSU?  I don’t think so, because at some point they might commit an error or a pitcher might go haywire.  I get it.  The Noles are fighting to send their skipper out on a winning note and a trip to Omaha.  Emotions can only carry a team for so long.  Florida State is playing with emotion.  The Tigers are playing with supreme confidence.  I’ll take the confident team over the emotional team any day of the week.  If LSU continues to play like they have over the last 12 games, I think LSU is headed to Omaha for a shot at the school’s seventh national title.

You can hear the NCAA Super Regional:  LSU vs FSU on WWL (105.3FM & the BIG 870AM) - Saturday pre-game 1:30/first pitch 2pm.  Join Kristian Garic for a “Road to Omaha” special after LSU’s post-game.  The Tigers play Sunday at 5pm/pre-game 4:30.  Join Kristian and Jeff Palermo for our Game #2 Preview from 3 to 4:30.   Tiger fans - call in and talk to Kristian after that matchup, he’ll be on till 11pm.  

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