Florida State Looks For 22nd CWS Visit

Florida State will host Indiana in this weekend's Tallahassee Super Regional.
Florida State will host Indiana in this weekend’s Tallahassee Super Regional.

The ACC/Big Ten Challenge may be a basketball thing, but it will come to fruition in this weekend’s Super Regionals as well. Florida State will host the Indiana Hoosiers in a best-of-three series, with the winner advancing to the College World Series.

Both teams dominated their respective regionals. Florida State outscored its opponents 32-4, while Indiana settled for a more modest aggregate of 26-11. However, the program histories could not be more different.

Indiana is making its third NCAA Tournament appearance and first Super Regional showing. Indiana was eliminated in the Midwest Regional in 1996 and the Louisville Regional in 2009. This will also be the first Super Regional in four tournament appearances for Hoosier coach Tracy Smith, who spent nine years at Miami (OH) before taking the Indiana job in 2006.

Meanwhile, the Seminoles have consistently been one of the best teams in the nation under Mike Martin since 1980. Florida State has been in the NCAA Tournament every season under Martin, and this marks the sixth straight Super Regional appearance. A win in this weekend’s series would give Martin 16 College World Series appearances, although the Seminoles are still searching for that elusive first national championship.

Indiana sophomore Aaron Slegers won Big Ten Pitcher of the Year to lead the Hoosier staff. The 6’10” right-hander logged a 9-1 record with a 1.94 earned run average, striking out 53 batters after pitching just 7 1/3 innings last year. Big Ten All-Freshman teamer Will Coursen-Carr has a 1.80 ERA and a 4-0 record in ten starts, while Joey DeNato is 9-2 with a 2.65 ERA.

The Seminoles also have a strong staff to match up with Indiana. Scott Sitz and Luke Weaver lead the way, both with ERAs below 2.00. Sitz is 10-1 in 2013, while Weaver has struck out 114 batters and allowed just 11 extra base hits this year.

It is worth noting that DeNato and Coursen-Carr are both left-handed pitchers. Florida State is 16-7 against left-handed starters and 31-8 against right-handers. Four of the Seminoles’ top five hitters are left-handed swingers, including sluggers DJ Stewart and Marcus Davis.

Stewart is .363 with 25 doubles (tied for fifth in the nation) to lead the Florida State offense. The freshman is riding a 15-game hitting streak and is second on the team in walks (36), indicative of FSU’s discipline. The Seminoles are third in the nation in free passes (345), placing them eighth in Division I in on base percentage (.409).

Davis, along with right-handed catcher Stephen McGee, lead the Seminoles in home runs, with nine long balls each. Davis has driven in 61 runs this season, while McGee boasts a .523 slugging percentage.

Although they don’t get on base as frequently as Florida State, the Hoosiers have three hitters batting above .350. Dustin DeMuth is 12th in Division I in batting average (.396), and also has 11 stolen bases. Kyle Schwarber is eighth in the nation in slugging percentage (.665), with 10 doubles and 17 home runs, and Scott Donley is batting .357 with 15 doubles.

With the sweep of the Tallahassee Regional, Florida State is now 35-3 at home this season. On the road, Indiana is 15-9, with a 5-7 away record against Top 50 RPI squads. It’s a solid mark as the visiting club for Indiana, but wins at Dick Howser Stadium have been few and far between for Seminole opponents.

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