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College : : Story
Preview: Tallahassee Regional
Kendall Rogers        
Published: Thursday, June 02, 2011

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REGIONAL COVERAGE: SCHEDULE/RESULTS | REGIONAL BREAKDOWN | PAIRINGS MESSAGE BOARDS


The Road to Omaha has begun and 64 teams around the country are vying for the eight lucrative spots in the first College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb.

As part of our extensive NCAA postseason coverage, we take an in-depth look at each of the 16 NCAA Regionals.

THE TEAMS
Team Conference Record Berth Last NCAA appearance
1. Florida State ACC 42-17 At-large 2010
2. Central Florida Conference USA 38-21 At-large 2004
3. Alabama SEC 33-26 At-large 2010
4. Bethune-Cookman MEAC 36-23 Auto bid 2010
THE BREAKDOWN
The favorite: Florida State
1. Florida State

2. UCF

3. Alabama

4. Bethune-Cookman
The Seminoles have put together another solid campaign and hope to finish off the campaign with another trip to the College World Series. As usual, the pitching staff is the biggest question mark with this club entering the postseason. The 'Noles have a fabulous staff ace in left-hander Sean Gilmartin, but otherwise, at least in terms of the starting rotation, have been uneasy at times this spring. The Seminoles need to be consistent on the mound this weekend with Hunter Scantling (3.64 ERA) starting the opener against Bethune-Cookman. Offensively, the 'Noles aren't quite as productive overall as they've been in the past, but still have plenty of key cogs, including James Ramsey (.350), Jayce Boyd (.333), Mike McGee (.333), Devon Travis (.330) and Rafael Lopez (.314).
The dark-horse contender: Alabama
The Crimson Tide has had some consistency issues this season, but is a very solid club when they're clicking on all cylinders. The Tide has a weekend rotation with much upside, and it includes ace Nathan Kilcrease (3.16), Adam Morgan (4.14) and Jonathan Smart (2.48). Kilcrease has been fantastic this spring, while Smart has blossomed and Morgan is a prospect that sometimes can be shaky on the bump. Offensively, the Crimson Tide leaves something to be desired with just a .273 average, but leading hitter Taylor Dugas (.345) and fellow cogs Jared Reaves (.336) and Brock Bennett (.335) hope to have productive weekends. The Tide won the Atlanta Regional last season, so they'll know what to expect.
Best hitter: OF James Ramsey, Florida State
It was difficult to turn down UCF's D.J. Hicks or Alabama's Taylor Dugas in this department, but Ramsey is having the better overall season at the plate. Ramsey is hitting a team-high .350 with 17 doubles, three doubles, 10 home runs and 62 RBIs. He also is slugging .587 and has a solid .432 OBP. It's also worth noting Ramsey is 11-for-14 in stolen bases, while he has struck out 48 times and walked on 29 occasions. Ramsey leads the Seminoles in total bases by a substantial margin with a total of 131.
Best pitcher: LHP Sean Gilmartin, Florida State
The Seminoles haven't been great on the mound this season, but Gilmartin certainly has been the exception. The outstanding starting pitcher has been very consistent. He has started 15 games, is 11-1 and has an impressive 1.52 ERA in 106 1/3 innings. He also has struck out 116 and walked only 18 while opponents are hitting him at a .193 clip. Gilmartin also has tossed one complete game to aid the Seminoles' cause.
Best prospect: Sean Gilmartin, Florida State
There are few stories on the field in college baseball better than Gilmartin. He showed such promise as a freshman two seasons ago, but took a huge step back last season with a poor campaign that ended with a 9-8 record and a 5.24 ERA. After regrouping in the offseason, Gilmartin has put together the most impressive campaign of his career. As a result, he's expected to be drafted next week in either the sandwich or second rounds.
The buzz
Florida State has several key cogs it needs to be productive this weekend, but perhaps no one outside of Sean Gilmartin must be better than two-way star Mike McGee. McGee has been the heart and soul of the program for the past year and is having another solid campaign. At the plate, McGee is hitting .333 with 10 home runs and 51 RBIs. On the mound, he has appeared in 16 games and made five starts and has a 4.33 ERA in 35 1/3 innings ... UCF definitely has the potential to make some noise this weekend. The Knights dropped a series to Florida State (in Tallahassee) just a few weeks ago. They have an outstanding reliever in Nick Cicio (2.32), while starting pitchers Brian Adkins (4.28), Ben Lively (4.74) and Danny Winkler (5.05) must rise to the occasion to experience success this weekend. The Knights are in fantastic shape at the plate. They're hitting .305 and have several talented hitters to work with, including Hicks, Jonathan Griffin, Beau Taylor, Ronnie Richardson, Travis Shreve and Erik Hempe ... If you're not familiar with Alabama outfielder Taylor Dugas, chances are great you will be by the end of the weekend. The talented veteran is having another solid campaign and serves as the spark plug for the Crimson Tide. He's hitting a team-high .345 with 19 doubles, four triples, six home runs and 28 RBIs. He's also slugging .547 and has an impressive .458. He typifies the attitude of this Alabama club. Tough, gritty and talented for the most part ... The Wildcats once again are very well coached with Mervyl Melendez leading the charge, but the chips definitely are stacked against them this weekend with some tough competition on the slate. However, the Wildcats have one of the nation's top draft prospects in catcher Pete O'Brien. O'Brien is having another productive campaign, hitting .309 with 14 doubles, a triple, 13 home runs and 68 RBIs. He's also slugging .556 and has a .386 OBP.

Kendall Rogers is the college baseball editor for Perfect Game USA and has covered the sport for over 10 seasons. He can be reached at kendall@perfectgame.org

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