Preview: Florida State
It doesn't get any easier for the Tigers this weekend.
There was a lot of head scratching from Auburn's back to back losses to Elon. A lot of head scratching that was just undeserved. As I said before, just because you've never heard of Elon, doesn't mean they are a nobody. Look at this way. Imagine if this was Auburn Basketball and we were playing Butler. You just look at the teams on name alone and you'll think Auburn will win hands down. Then you look at where the two programs are currently and have been recently. Suddenly it's not so black and white.
That little sidebar behind us, let's move on to the preview.
FSU comes in ranked #5. Currently sitting at 4-0 after taking care of the Hofta Flying Dutchmen/Pride/Fighting Chrebets; Yes, that's the same Hofstra that Auburn go so accustomed to playing early in past seasons. FSU won 9-3, 21-7, 3-2, and 10-4.
The stud star of FSU is 3B Stuart Tapley. Currently ranked #6 in Rivals Power Rankings, he's a 5-10, 204 Sophmore from Orlando and had a phenomenal freshman season; including having a 34 game errorless streak to close out the season, batting .383, oh and he did all this with less than 200 At Bats. Putting him in an elite class at FSU. All that Freshman success tranlated in PreSeason All American Honors and being named to the Brooks Wallace Award Watch list (with fellow teammates SS Jason Stidham and OF Tyler Holt. Currently he's hitting .385.
Speaking of hitting FSU has two everyday player hitting over .500. Tyler Holt (.571) and Mike McGee (.545). Not bad at all. They aren't a huge power threat (only 4 team HRs), but when they do get hits they make them count. Definitely the signs of a good team.
Oh and they return 18 letter winners from a team that went to the College World Series last year.
Historically the Tigers have struggled against the Seminoles. Auburn's in the middle of a 5 game losing streak to the 'noles. They've faced each other on 113 separate occasions with the Seminoles maintaining a 73-40-0 all-time advantage. Oh and current FSU coach Mike Martin, well he's only lost to Auburn six times as FSU head coach.
It will certainly be a challenge to win one game against FSU. Much less try to split a series. (If we somehow manage to win the series, then CJP should get an extension on the spot).
Redshirt Freshman Ty Kelley will start for the Tigers on Thursday. Making his Auburn debut. That means that the only Auburn pitchers we haven't seen yet will be Adam Purdy, Sean Ray, Miles Morton, and Kris West. Ray and West will probably used at somepoint, and Purdy is too good to keep stocked up on the bench (34th-round pick of the Minnesota Twins). So CJP policy of just throwing anything at them until something sticks looks like its going to hold true.
Your starters for the 4 game series (all times CST) look like this:
Thursday, February 26 - 5:00 p.m.
Florida State - RHP, Geoff Parker (1-0, 5.40 ERA) vs. Auburn - RHP, Ty Kelley (0-0)
Friday, February 27 - 3:00 p.m.
Florida State - LHP, Sean Gilmartin (1-0, 1.50) vs. Auburn - LHP, Grant Dayton (0-0, 1.29)
Saturday, February 28 - 3:00 p.m.
Florida State - LHP, John Gast (1-0,10.38) vs. Auburn - RHP, Jon Luke Jacobs (0-0, 2.70)
Sunday, March 1 - 1:00 p.m.
Florida State - RHP, Mike McGee (1-0, 0.0 ERA) vs. Auburn - RHP, Paul Burnside (0-0, 6.23)
Here are the official previews from FSU and from Auburn. It'd recommend the FSU preview as it has a short video of the players and coaching staff for FSU discussing the upcoming series.