The Cardiac Cavs are going to have their toughest test of the year this weekend when their fellow Top-10 ranked Seminoles come to Davenport Field. If you love college baseball or even pay attention to it remotely, you know that this is the best matchup of the weekend. All eyes are going to be on Charlottesville.
All time, the Noles hold a decisive 48-20 record over the Cavaliers. Not surprising given just how successful their program has been over the last thirty years (34 straight NCAA appearances, 5 ACC Tournament titles, and 21 CWS appearances). Things have dramatically improved against FSU since Coach O'Connor took over and UVa has compiled a 12-14 record in that time. FSU is actually only one of three ACC programs with winning record against Coach O'Connor, along with UNC and NC St. The really good news is that the home team has won the last two series between these two teams which dates back to 2010 when UVa traveled to Tallahassee and took two of three.
This year the Seminoles came in with high expectations and they have lived up them. So far, they've compiled a 31-6 record which includes going 13-5 in the ACC with the only series loss coming in Blacksburg two weeks ago. Most recently, they swept Duke last weekend and defeated South Alabama on Tuesday.
Both these teams are so evenly matched, it is hard to tell who holds an advantage on the mound or at the plate. Florida State has the better team ERA at 2.60, while UVa is right behind them with a 2.76 ERA. Even though they have the better ERA, the Cavaliers actually have significantly less walks (80 vs. 113) and more strikeouts (328 v. 276). The Noles have two leading pitchers that they will run to the mound on Friday and Sunday. Sophomore righty Luke Weaver will pitch on Friday and will enter the game with a 1.40 ERA, a 4-0 record, and 51 Ks in 45 innings. Not to be outdone, Senior Scott Sitz will pitch on Sunday and has a better ERA (1.04), a better record (7-0), but more walks and less strikeouts. FSU's closer isn't bad either having notched 8 saves and a .79 ERA.
At the plate the Hoos have a bit of an advantage over the Seminoles' hitters, but not by much. UVa has a .306 team average which is third best in the ACC, while FSU has a .290 average which is fourth. UVa has scored 33 more runs this year, but that is about the only stat UVa has the distinct advantage in (except triples, of course). Seminoles are most certainly lead by Sophomore Jose Brizuela. Brizuela leads FSU with a .359 average and is near the top of every other hitting stat. He gets on base a lot which has lead to a .471 on base percentage so as Brizuela goes, the FSU offense goes.
I feel like a broken record, but I imagine I didn't expect this weekend to go too well for the Hoos at the beginning of the year. Not wanting to go back and look, but I bet I predicted a series loss and maybe even a sweep for UVa. Given the recent track record, I think it could certainly go that way. However, I think the homefield advantage gives UVa the edge this weekend. Friday and Saturday's games are close to if not sold out already and that will play a big factor against FSU who isn't used to playing in front of big opposing crowds. It is going to be a close, hard fought series the entire weekend, but I think UVa takes the series two games to one.