Can the Florida State Seminoles finally win the school’s first-ever national title in baseball? Mike Martin has done everything else over his coaching career. He has the second-most wins all-time of any college baseball manager and has taken the Noles to Omaha 16 times. This will be the school’s 22nd trip to the College World Series altogether. They have been to this point 10 more times than the next closest team without a title and will be underdogs in their first game against the LSU Tigers.
This game will take place at 8 p.m. ET on Saturday, June 17, 2017. It will be broadcast on ESPN.
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There’s no uncertainty about who will get the call for FSU. Tyler Holton has been the team’s ace all season long. His numbers in a power conference like ACC have been superb this season.
He is 10-2 with a 2.25 ERA on the year and has one of the best strikeout ratios in the nation. Holton has struck out 139 batters in 112 innings of action and has shown a poise that most underclassmen don’t have. He is also playing right field when he isn’t starting and is doing a decent job there too.
Holton isn’t infallible though. He is a little wild with 10 hit batsmen and seven wild pitches on the season and has allowed seven home runs.
LSU manager Paul Mainieri made the decision to have Alex Lange be his opening game starter on Saturday night. Lange was a second-team All-American this season and although he went just 9-5, he was pitching against some of the best hitters in the nation.
Like Holton, Lange has been a strikeout machine this season. He has rung up 134 batters in 111 innings of work and is one of the most durable pitchers in the game today. Lange has four complete games on the season and will stay on the mount as long as he is performing.
He has allowed 18 doubles and nine home runs this season, but does play in a very hitter-friendly ballpark.
Hitters to Watch
Dylan Busby has been the best stick for FSU all season long. He has a .997 OPS heading into the CWS and has crushed some of the best pitchers in the country. He has 14 home runs and a .596 slugging percentage this season, but does strike out a ton. Busby has struck out 59 times on 235 at-bats and opposing pitchers have capitalized on his over-aggressiveness.
Taylor Walls does what you want from a lead-off hitter. He has 20 more walks than any other Seminole and his sharp eye has started big innings for this team all year. He has a little power too with 19 extra-base hits on the season.
Few teams can put up the offensive numbers that the Tigers can. LSU is hitting .294 as a team this season and there are only one or two soft spots in the line-up.
Greg Deichmann gets many of the accolades because of his power numbers. He cranked 19 home runs this season and has a slugging percentage of .606.
The Tigers aren’t afraid to swipe some bags as well. LSU is averaging more than a stolen base per game with 72 steals on the season.
College World Series ATS Pick
There’s a reason that Martin and the Seminoles have yet to win a championship. Martin’s old-school style of thinking has cost this team runs and opportunities for big innings in the past. He has relied on the bunt too much and although he didn’t show it as much in the regular season, he reverted to form when the postseason rolled around.
Look for LSU to get the victory here and send the Noles to the brink of elimination. The pitching match-up is about even, but LSU has the better hitters and they will carry the day in the late innings.
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