FSU Baseball vs. Miami Series Preview

In one of his songs, the late Jerry Reed, famously known as Snowman in the Smokey and the Bandit movies, sang that “when you’re hot, you’re hot, and when you’re not, you’re not.” And currently, the Florida State Seminoles baseball team is on fire, while the Gators are not doing so well.

The No. 10 Seminoles (27-5) who the last time stepped onto Mike Martin field inside Dick Howser Stadium completed their sweep of No. 24 Florida (17-15) Tuesday night, demolished the gators 19-4 in a seven-inning, run-rule victory before a sold-out crowd of 6,700. The Noles were led by another scorching offensive display from multiple players. The win marks the Seminoles’ first three-game sweep of the Gators since 2000. FSU notched a two-game sweep over its rivals in 2002.

The victory was Florida State’s biggest against the Gators since 2001 and is the largest margin of victory in the series since Florida’s 21-6 win in 1980. The game and sweep should provide FSU a huge boost ahead of its weekend matchup with Miami starting Thursday at Howser Stadium.

After hitting back-to-back home runs from the first two Gators batters, Florida took a 2-0 lead. However, FSU’s offense responded with a strong performance in the bottom of the first, scoring six runs to regain the lead. This set the tone for the remainder of the game, with FSU dominating Florida 13-2 over the following six innings and handing the Gators their fourth consecutive loss. The Seminoles will now need to shift their focus to another bitter rival as they prepare to host the Miami Hurricanes for a three-game series starting on Thursday, weather permitting.

Miami By the numbers

On the mound

Game 1: Thursday, April 11, 2024, 7:00 p.m. – ACCN

FSU: LHP Jamie Arnold (6-1, 0.94 ERA) VS. UM: RHP Zich Gage (2-2, 4.33 ERA)

Game 2: April 12, 2024, 6:00 p.m. -ACCNX

FSU: LHP Brady Louck (0-0, 1.54 ERA) VS. UM: LHP Rafe Schlesinger (2-2, 4.34 ERA)

Game 3: April 13, 2024, 2:00 p.m.- ACCNX 

FSU: LHP Carson Dorsey (2-2, 3.91 ERA) VS.UM: LHP Herick Hernandez (2-3, 5.44 ERA) 

Miami Team preview

The Miami Hurricanes travel to Dick Howser Stadium after winning a home game in which they scored early and often. They emerged victorious with a final score of 14-6 over Florida Atlantic on Tuesday evening at Mark Light Field. Miami, with a season record of 16-16, scored on seven of its eight trips to the plate and hit a total of 19 times. Ten different players from the Hurricanes scored a hit, including four players who had three-hit performances. The team hit eight doubles in the game, which is the most in a game since April 18, 1998. In addition, freshman third baseman Daniel Cuvet and senior right fielder Lucas Costello both missed a triple to complete the cycle. Cuvet hit a two-run homer in the first inning, while Costello hit a three-run shot in the seventh.

Miami has had some impressive wins this season against Virginia and North Carolina. However, they have struggled in their other ACC series against Clemson, Notre Dame, and Duke, with a record of 2-7. During those series, they were outscored 53-38. In terms of scoring, the Canes are ranked 83rd in the country, averaging 7.6 runs per game. They have scored double-digit runs in 12 of their 32 games.

When you look at Miami from top to bottom, they are worse than the Florida team that FSU just demolished taking two of the three games in a run-rule fashion. In fact, the Canes lost their series to the Gators earlier this season. This Miami team is mediocre at best, which is why they have a .500 record sitting at 16-16. On offense, they don’t rank outside of the top 40 in most offensive statistics. As a team, they are 64th in batting average (.296), 48th in slugging percentage (.493), 80th in on-base percentage (.399), and 83rd in scoring (7.6).  

I’m not implying that UM has bad players. In fact, they have two batters who can cause damage. Sophomore first baseman Jason Torres leads the batting average with .389 and is second in the team in slugging percentage with .626. However, the freshman third baseman Daniel Cuvet is the one that concerns me the most. Yes, you read it right. Freshman Daniel Cuvet leads the UM team in slugging percentage with .698, on-base percentage with .454, and home runs with 10.

Typically with our starting weekend rotation, I wouldn’t worry but Head Coach Link Jarrett announced that Friday starter Cam Leiter has been scratched from his second start this season. This is a big hit for the Noles as Leiter has a 4.63ERA allowing just 20 runs (18 earned) on 32 hits while walking 22 and striking out 56 in 35 innings of work. Then it was also announced that Sunday Starter Conner Whittaker will also miss this weekend. That leaves only Saturday starter Jamie Arnold as the familiar arm this weekend. Arnold has been the hot arm this season and leads the nation with an ERA of 0.94 in 47.2 innings of work. Arnold currently ranks in the top 10 nationally after striking out a team-high 69 batters this season. 

So, as that old George Jones song goes, who’s going to fill their shoes? On Saturday we will see freshman LHP Brady Louck make his third start of the season. So far this season Louck has an ERA of 1.54 in 11.2 innings pitched with 20 strikeouts. Then on Sunday, we’ll see Panama City Beach’s own junior LHP Carson Dorsey make his second start as a Seminole. In Carson’s first start against the Boston College Eagles, he held BC to one run and one hit over five innings, retiring 14 of the final 17 batters he faced.

The one aspect of this series that makes me smile is the Miami pitching staff, who has left a lot to be desired this season. The Canes have the 105th-ranked ERA (5.39), have allowed 193 runs (170 earned), and have also surrendered double-digit runs in six games, including last weekend against Duke (11-10). Miami will start their normal rotation which has a combined ERA of 4.70 in 141 innings of work this season.  But even at their best, UM has not faced an offensive juggernaut like the Seminoles who come into this series ranking in the top 10 nationally in batting Average (5th, .335), slugging percentage (6th, .587), runs per game (7th, 9.7), hits (3rd, 379), and home runs (10th, 63). The Noles offense is led by none other than James Tibbs III, who leads the team in almost all offensive categories, most impressive would be his .880 slugging percentage which ranks seventh in the country. 

Final Thoughts

It’s important to remember that despite what’s on paper, this upcoming series is a rivalry, and we all know that past performances and statistics get thrown out of the window in these settings. It’s going to be a hard-fought match between two fierce rivals. At the end of the day, the only thing that matters is the wins and losses, and of course, bragging rights. In my honest opinion, the Seminoles will win the series, and while they may not sweep, they will ultimately take the state championship in baseball, just like they did in football. Go Noles! 

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