The Florida State Seminoles are hoping that the 22nd time is the charm. FSU has been to Omaha 21 times before and has returned home empty-handed each time. The Seminoles have thrice finished runner-up to the national champion, but have yet to win a college baseball title. They are the favorites to head back to Omaha in their Super Regional matchup against the Sam Houston State Bearkats.
This series will be contested from Friday, June 9, 2017 through Sunday, June 11, 2017 at Mike Martin Field at Dick Howser Stadium in Tallahassee. Both Friday and Saturday’s games are set to start at noon and be broadcast on ESPN2. If there is a Game 3, the date and network will be announced on Saturday.
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How They Got There
Sam Houston State will be playing in its first-ever Super Regional. The Bearkats were the No. 3 seed in the Lubbock Regional and overcame traditional powers Arizona and Texas Tech to advance to this stage. They single-handedly knocked both out by beating the Wildcats 5-4 and 9-3 and then beat the Red Raiders 9-8 and 4-3 to advance.
Florida State had to crawl all the way out of the loser’s bracket in order to host a Super Regional. The Seminoles dropped their first game to No. 4 seed Tennessee Tech and had to win out in order to make it. That included having to knock off Auburn twice in a row.
These teams both have one stud pitcher. For Sam Houston State, it’s Heath Donica. Donica averaged over seven innings a start and rung up nearly a batter an inning on the season. He registered a WHIP that was just a hair above one, but did it in the Southland Conference.
Tyler Holton has been phenomenal for the Seminoles this season. He has been the go-to guy whenever FSU has needed a win and has completely shut down hitters all year long. Holton allowed batters to hit just .166 against him this year and struck out more batters than almost anyone in the nation. He tallied 132 strikeouts in just 16 starts this season.
Other than those two, neither FSU nor Sam Houston State has someone reliable. That will make for some interesting decisions in Game 2 and possibly Game 3.
Hitters to Watch
Robbie Rojas has put up some of the best numbers in the nation for a catcher. Rojas has an OPS of .921 and has one of the biggest bats on the team. He has seven home runs this season and has been durable too, playing in every game for the Bearkats.
Florida State has relied on Dylan Busby all season long and he has led them here. Busby is one of the nation’s leaders in slugging percentage with a mark of .608. He has cranked 14 home runs this season and is a threat to go yard any time he is at the plate.
What to Expect
These teams couldn’t have more dissimilar pedigrees. Florida State expected to be here and will be considered a sizeable favorite, but you can’t count out Sam Houston State. The Bearkats won three one-run games in Lubbock to get here and won’t shy away from the moment.
Sam Houston State’s pitchers must be able to find the strike zone. The Seminoles have been one of the best teams in the country at drawing walks all season long and won’t be afraid to take pitches. FSU drew 364 walks this season and the team as a whole had an OBP of .389.
Although SHSU ended up with a better OBP, the school did it in a much weaker conference and had 107 less walks. Instead the Bearkats have relied on manufacturing runs and will steal bases whenever possible. They have 102 stolen bases this season and will always be on the move against the Seminoles.
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