In a matchup between two No. 1 seeds, the Florida State Seminoles will have no problem at all getting past the Arizona Wildcats in the College World Series.
The Seminoles are coming off the most dominant performance in the entire tournament, in which they dominated the Stanford Cardinal, winning the first two tilts of a best-of-three series by a combined score of 35-8.
They showcased their superiority on both sides of the diamond in their pummeling of the Cardinal.
In Game 1, they lit up the No. 8 overall pick of the 2012 MLB draft, Mark Appel, scoring seven runs in the fourth inning against one of the best pitchers in college baseball.
Second baseman Devon Travis went 3-for-5 with two homers and six RBI. No. 3 hitter James Ramsey followed Travis' lead and belted out three hits to raise his average to .394 on the year.
Things went pretty well on the bump for the Seminoles, too. Brandon Leibrandt pitched six innings of one-run ball, and was followed up by three relievers who allowed just one hit over the last three innings.
In Game 2, Florida State got some power from an unlikely source. Leadoff hitter Sherman Johnson hit an absolute bomb of a three-run homer to right center to put the Seminoles up 6-0 in the second.
It wasn't just Johnson, though. The wealth was spread all around the lineup, as the Seminoles got six RBI from the 3-to-5 spots in the order.
Arizona, on the other hand, had a tougher time with No. 3 seed St. Johns. The Wildcats needed only two games to win the series, but it was in a far less impressive manner than Florida State.
The Seminoles have the more balanced attack heading into this matchup, boasting a volatile lineup to go with a tough pitching staff.
Arizona relies more on their hitters to win. It posted a team batting average of .333 this season, .51 points higher than Florida State.
Despite that discrepancy, Florida State need not worry. Effective pitching typically prevails over dangerous hitting in postseason play. A team would much rather rely on one pitcher to take the mound and shutdown a team for seven or eight innings than to bank on all of their hitters having a good day at the dish.
Leibrandt and Mike Compton spearhead the pitching rotation for the Seminoles, and FSU fans should be comfortable with either of the two on any given day.
In his freshman year, Leibrandt has compiled an 8-2 record to go with a 2.58 ERA through 94.1 innings pitched. The 6'4" lefty has held opponents to a paltry .233 batting average and struck out 78 batters compared to just 27 walks.
Compton, a fellow freshman, is no slouch either. He's pitched to the tune of an 11-2 record thanks to a 2.86 ERA in 85 innings.
A matchup that pits a top-tier pitcher against a top-tier hitting team goes the way of the pitcher more often than not. When a team has two superior pitchers at the front-end of its rotation, even the best-hitting team will have a problem.
The Wildcats have their ace in Kurt Heyer (12-2, 2.28 ERA), but don't have much to put out there other than him. If they aren't able to beat the Seminoles, it's going to be because of their pitching.
This one-two punch at the top of the rotation will give Arizona fits when the two teams meet on Friday at 9:00 p.m. ET. Make sure to tune in to ESPN2 to watch the action.
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