March 22, 2012

Seminoles get right back to it vs. Wake Forest

After five grueling and successful days of baseball at Dick Howser Stadium, there was little rest for any weary Seminole players.

Although head coach Mike Martin remembers a time when college teams played eight games in nine days, the stretch his team currently is in the middle of completing, he admitted that it's been nearly two decades since that type of frequency has been an issue.

"It's an oddity, no question, to be playing this many games," Martin said.

So with a little less than 24 hours between the final out of Wednesday's game and wheels up on Thursday's flight to Winston-Salem, N.C., fourth-ranked Florida State (19-2, 6-0 ACC) got as much rest as it could.

Awaiting the 'Noles will be conference foe Wake Forest (16-7, 3-3), a squad that has endured an up-and-down first month of its season. After losing four of their first five to open the year, the Demon Deacons went on a 15-game winning streak that spanned three weeks. The winning run was then emphatically ended last weekend at N.C. State in the form of a sweep.

"Of course (playing) on the road is tough in the ACC," said coach Martin. "And they lost three ballgames, two of which were very close. We know that it's going to be a tremendous challenge."

Second baseman Devon Travis echoed his coach's sentiments.

"Tough," Travis described the weekend ahead. "Going to be a really tough weekend. They always play good baseball against us. They're going to be amped up and ready to go."

Friday night's series opener will bring the thought of revenge to the Seminole dugout, as Florida State faces Deacon ace Tim Cooney (3-2, 3.77 ERA) for the first time since the lefty shut the 'Noles down last season. In front of over 5,000 fans at Howser Stadium last March, Cooney tossed 7.2 innings of shutout baseball, more than enough in an 8-0 Wake Forest win.

"He carved us up," Martin said after the game.

The Seminoles will counter with their Friday night freshman Brandon Leibrandt (2-1, 4.03 ERA). Leibrandt's most recent start went just four innings in a series-opening win over Virginia last Saturday. His previous two times out, the freshman has allowed a combined five runs in 9.2 innings.

Saturday provides no surprises, as Florida State will send Mike Compton (4-0. 1.82 ERA) up against Deacon righty Justin Van Grouw (1-1, 4.50 ERA). In Sunday's win over Virginia, Compton's four game win streak was snapped after 6.2 innings and a no decision.

Sunday's game will provide an interesting storyline for both Florida State and Wake Forest. Following Peter Miller's struggles Monday night, coach Martin hinted there may be some changes made in the weekend rotation. That hint has turned into a "TBA" in the Sunday slot, one the Seminole coaching staff will fill over the weekend.

Wake Forest will start lefty Brian Holmes (4-0, 1.44 ERA), who in addition to his sparkling record and ERA has thrown a no-hitter this season. Holmes accomplished the feat March 4 against Marshall, as he struck out 10, walked one and hit three batters in a 5-1 win.

Friday's game begins at 6:00 p.m. EST, Saturday's first pitch is set for 4:00 p.m. EST and Sunday will begin at 1:00 p.m. EST.

Note: None of this weekend's games will be televised. Head to for streaming audio options or tune into 1270-AM (Friday) and 100.7-FM (Saturday, Sunday) in Tallahassee to catch the action on the radio.

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