The stage is set for a Saturday afternoon rumble between the unseeded College Station regional Texas A&M Aggies and the fifth overall seed Florida St. Seminoles in the Tallahassee Super Regional. The Aggies lost ace pitcher John Stilson before the tournament to a torn labrum, but managed to overcome Arizona in a thrilling 3-0 win on Tuesday to squeak out of the regional round. Florida St. thumped it’s opponents and left completely unscathed. What will this series really come down to? The Aggies pitching and defense versus the Seminoles bats.
The Seminoles have an incredibly deep lineup that led the NCAA in walks, finished fifth in on-base percentage, seventh in runs scored, and second in doubles. 22nd round pick James Ramsey led the team in batting average, homers, and slugging percentage. The only two players in their lineup that aren’t threats to park the ball into the seats are infielders Sherman Johnson and Stuart Tapley, and Johnson carries a .420 on-base percentage with him on the season. It’s a deep and powerful lineup.
On the mound, things aren’t quite as settled. Florida State has it’s ace Sean Gilmartin, who went 12-1 with a 1.83 ERA, but beyond that there are a lot of questions with the rotation. They tried Hunter Scanling against Bethune-Cookman in their regional opener, and he got gashed for seven hits and four runs. Mike McGee silenced the Alabama bats to complete the regional sweep, but he carries just a 4.02 ERA on the season. FSU has a fairly great bullpen to backup their starters, but they could be vulnerable there if the Aggies can jump on them.
The Aggies, even without Stilson, they have a very solid pitching staff. Michael Wacha and Ross Stripling were both superb in the College Station Regional, and Derek Hadley did just fine against Arizona in a losing cause, going five innings and allowing just two runs. Like FSU, they have a very deep bullpen led by Nick Fleece and Joaquin Hinojosa.
Unlikes FSU, they just don’t have the bats to do much better than scratch across a few runs. Tyler Naquin is their only true star-quality hitter, and they have a lot of piranhas that can hurt you if they get on-base, but not many boppers who can get them home with one swing.
PREDICTION: Florida State takes Game One behind Gilmartin. Stripling and A&M scratch out a tight win in Game Two, but Florida State just has too much power and pulls away from A&M in the deciding game to head to the College World Series.