March 7, 2013

FSU baseball opens up conference play vs. BC

After a 12-0 start to the season, No. 5 Florida State opens up Atlantic Coast Conference play this weekend in Tallahassee with a three-game series against Boston College beginning on Friday at 6 p.m. ET.

The Seminoles have cruised in the majority of their games so far in 2013, but head coach Mike Martin knows that will change with the start of conference play against the Eagles (3-8).

Boston College vs. Florida State

When: Fri. 6 p.m. ET, Sat. 6 p.m. ET,
Sun. 1 p.m. ET

Records: FSU 12-0, BC 3-8

Where: Dick Howser Stadium, Tallahassee, Fla.

TV: (Fri. and Sun. only)

"We know that now we're playing a bunch of teams that won't make mistakes maybe that some of these clubs we've played recently have made," Martin said. "We won't be given a lot of fourth and fifth outs… and that's the way it's going to be in the league too. We're not going to be given anything in the league."

While Martin's team wasn't challenged much by its mid-week opponent Presbyterian College, he still was pleased with what his club accomplished in the two-game series. After playing no mid-week games last week, FSU was able to get nine different pitchers at least an inning of work in the two games with the Blue Hose.

The innings will be critical for the Seminoles' young and veteran relievers moving forward.

"We got guys the necessary work, because that's crucial when you've had that week off that we had," Martin said. "They missed their work and it's good that we feel like our pitchers are now set and ready to go this weekend as we open conference play."

So far this season it's been the Seminoles' pitching that has lead the way with a team earned run average of 2.00, which ranks third in the league behind only Virginia (1.92) and North Carolina (1.86).

The team's four starting pitchers (Brandon Leibrandt, Scott Sitz, Peter Miller and Luke Weaver) have combined for 74 strikeouts and just 18 walks.

Despite scoring at least eight runs in eight of its 12 games, the FSU offense hasn't put up monster numbers early. The team average of .301 ranks fifth in the ACC and the 'Noles 10 homeruns are tied for the fourth most in the conference.

"Pitching and defense is what wins ball games, coach says that everyday," said freshman outfielder D.J. Stewart. "The hitting is going to be there, but pitching and defense we're doing a great job."

The offense has had a balanced attack early in the year. Certainly junior DH/outfielder Marcus Davis has led the way with a team-high .436 batting average, and a team-high 16 RBI and four homeruns. After Davis, four different players have double-digit RBIs, including Justin Gonzalez who is out indefinitely with a hip injury.

On Wednesday night Josh Delph became the third different Seminole to record four hits in a game. He thinks the fact that so many different guys have produced at the plate early year is why they'll be successful entering ACC play.

"We're seeing the ball good as a team," Delph said. "Laying off the bad pitches and swinging at good pitches. That's the recipe for success."

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