College : : Story
Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Tallahassee Regional preview

Kendall Rogers        


Team Conference Record Berth Last NCAA appearance
1. Florida State Atlantic Coast 44-15 At-large 2012
2. Alabama Southeastern 34-26 At-large 2011
3. Troy Sun Belt 40-18 At-large 2011
4. Savannah State Mid-Eastern 33-21 Automatic First
Florida State
1. Florida State
     2. Alabama      

3. Troy

4. Savannah St.
Florida State had a tough time in the ACC tournament last week, going 0-4 for the week, including a Monday loss to North Carolina. However, the Seminoles still earned one of the top eight national seeds. The NCAA Selection Committee didn't do this team any favors in terms of their NCAA Regional draw, though. FSU has a rather tough field, but is a complete club entering the weekend. FSU has a solid weekend rotation on the mound with right-handers Luke Weaver and Scott Sitz and left-handed hurler Brandon Leibrandt leading the charge. Weaver has been outstanding since moving from midweek starter to the rotation, sporting a 2.13 ERA in 84 1/3 innings, along with 100 strikeouts and 17 walks. Meanwhile, Sitz has a 1.73 ERA in 83 innings and Leibrandt has a 3.21 ERA in 84 innings. The Seminoles also have a solid bullpen with Gage Smith (2.39, 31 apps), Robby Coles (1.60, 28 apps), Billy Strode (2.31, 18 apps) and Jameis Winston and Bryant Holtmann leading the charge. FSU definitely is much better on the mound overall than people give them credit for. Offensively, the Seminoles enter the weekend with a .284 batting average, having one of the nation's more talented freshmen in DJ Stewart, who's hitting .348 with four homers and 51 RBIs. Meanwhile, also keep an eye on Jose Brizuela, who likely will be a man on a mission this weekend after being reinstated following a temporary suspension during the ACC tournament. Marcus Davis (.298/9/55) and Stephen McGee (.296/8/46) also can produce at a high level, while Jameis Winston is a terrific athlete with an outstanding arm in the outfield.
Alabama isn't our pick to win the Tallahassee Regional, but it wouldn't be such a shocker if Mitch Gaspard's club advanced to an NCAA Super Regional. Alabama has a talented pitching staff entering the postseason. Right-handed pitchers Charley Sullivan and Spencer Turnbull both have quality arms, especially Turnbull, that can shut down anyone. Sullivan has a 3.56 ERA in 91 innings, along with 75 strikeouts and 24 walks, while Turnbull, who was up to 95 at the SEC tournament last week, has a 3.75 ERA in 84 innings, along with 45 strikeouts and 36 walks. Jay Shaw (1.38, 14 apps) and Tucker Hawley (2.60, 19 apps) are a pair of talented relievers to watch, while the return of closer Ray Castillo is huge. Castillo missed the SEC tourney because of soreness, but has a 2.61 ERA with 11 saves in 41 1/3 innings. Offensively, the Crimson Tide leaves something to be desired with a .257 average entering the weekend. However, to say this club doesn't have some dangerous hitters would be inaccurate. 'Bama really likes physical outfielder Ben Moore, who's hitting .284 with four homers and 40 RBIs, while Brett Booth and Austen Smith each have power potential with six homers each this season. Meanwhile, keep an eye on freshman shortstop Mikey White. In addition to making terrific plays in the field, White is hitting a team-high .286 with two homers and 29 RBIs.
Troy very well could be an entertaining club to watch this weekend in Tallahassee. The Trojans are a very solid offensive club, entering the weekend with the best offense in the NCAA Regional field, hitting .295 with Logan Pierce, Danny Collins, Tyler Vaughn and Trae Santos leading the charge. Pierce, a third baseman, has been tremendous this season, hitting an impressive .373 with eight homers and 62 RBIs, while Collins is hitting .363 with 11 homers and 67 RBIs, and also has a fantastic .455 on-base percentage. Vaughn is hitting .339 with 26 RBIs, while Santos isn't as consistent batting average-wise as some other guys, but is a big-time power producer. What's particularly interesting about this year's Troy club is it pitches at a much higher level than previous campaigns. Tanner Hicks, Shane McCain, Ryan Sorce and Will Starling all have valuable experience, with Hicks leading the charge. Hicks has a 3.47 ERA in 93 1/3 innings of work, along with 88 strikeouts and 26 walks. Meanwhile, reliever Nate Hill is as good as it gets with a 3.42 ERA in 33 appearances and 68 1/3 innings of work. Much like Samford in last year's Tallahassee Regional, Troy definitely can make some noise this weekend.
Savannah State
You certainly never will see Florida State shying away from anyone, but you'd be lying if there wasn't at least some concern the Seminoles must face Savannah State right-handed pitcher Kyle McGowin in the Tallahassee Regional opener. McGowin is a very solid prospect with a 90-plus fastball, and has tallied extremely impressive numbers this spring, as expected against rather weak competition. McGowin has started 14 games and has a 1.33 ERA in 115 1/3 innings of work. He also has struck out 129, walked 24 and teams are hitting him at a .215 clip. Besides McGowin, reliever Eric Ricks is a guy to watch on the mound. Ricks has appeared in 23 games this spring and has a 2.75 ERA in 36 innings. Meanwhile, the Tigers as a whole aren't exactly impressive on the mound with a pitching staff earned-run average of 4.85. This team won't dazzle you offensively either, hitting just .271 entering the weekend with Todd Hagen the key hitter to watch. Hagen is hitting .320 with 12 doubles, a triple and 26 RBIs. He also has a respectable OBP over .400. It's hard to imagine SSU making much noise this weekend outside of Kyle McGowin.
The Tallahassee Regional certainly isn't a cakewalk, but it's a tournament the Seminoles are expected to win this weekend. Alabama probably poses the biggest threat to FSU. Though the Crimson Tide aren't a great offensive club, they have plenty of quality arms that can matchup with the Seminoles. The big key for Alabama is getting closer Ray Castillo back and healthy. He missed last weekend because of soreness, so his return is integral to the Tide's success. Meanwhile, Troy can make some noise as a dark-horse contender if Tanner Hicks and the pitching staff set the tone for the offense, while Savannah State just hopes to upset FSU with McGowin on the mound, and let the rest of their chips fall where they may. Overall, this should be a competitive NCAA Regional that ends with Florida State advancing.


Copyright 1994-2018 by Perfect Game. All rights reserved. No portion of this information may be reprinted or reproduced without the written consent of Perfect Game.