This week's matchup in the “Land of the Seminole” features #12 Virginia taking on #3 Florida State in a huge early-season ACC battle. The Cavaliers are looking to break out of the pack in the ACC, while the Seminoles will try to extend their lead in the league standings. Who will take the series this weekend at Dick Howser Stadium? Here’s a complete look inside that matchup as well as a number of other top series from all around the country to keep an eye on in the weekend ahead.
SERIES OF THE WEEKEND
#12 Virginia (24-6 Overall, 8-4 ACC) at #3 Florida State (25-3 Overall, 11-1 ACC)
The ACC standings could get interesting this weekend in Tallahassee. Coach Brian O’Connor brings his #12 Cavaliers to Florida to take on Coach Mike Martin’s #3 Seminoles. The Cavaliers hit the road for the first time in 12 games; having just completed a 10-2 homestand. Last weekend Virginia swept their in-state rivals Virginia Tech. The Seminoles come in white hot, having posted wins in 13 of their last 15. They took two of three last weekend at Wake Forest and took two games during the mid-week in Jacksonville by defeating Florida and Jacksonville. Seminole fans have enjoyed the good life this year as they have only witnessed one loss at home.
For the second week in a row, a Seminole picked up the ACC player of the week on Monday. Junior catcher Buster Posey took home the accolade this week. He has not disappointed this season having amassed at .439 average with 8 homeruns and 34 RBI. As a team, Florida State is hitting .357 while knocking out 44 HRs and scoring 289 runs. Freshman Dennis Guinn leads the team with 10 HRs and 37 RBI, while junior transfer Tony Delmonico leads the team with 11 doubles.
Virginia split with Towson during the mid-week, winning on Tuesday and losing on Wednesday. The Cavalier line-up has been putting up decent numbers to this point as well. They are lead by freshman left fielder Dan Gorvatt, who has hit 11 doubles on his way to a .426 batting average. Junior infielder Jeremy Farrell is hitting .400 with the team lead in HRs with five. Junior shortstop Greg Miclat has swiped 20 bases and he will need to get on base to put pressure on the Seminole pitching staff.
Speaking of pitching staffs, the Cavaliers arrive having posted a 3.08 ERA while striking out 291 batters in 260 innings and only allowing 10 HRs. Senior Pat McAnaney (3-1, 1.44 ERA, 53 Ks) garnered his second ACC pitcher of the week honor on Monday. To pick up the honor, all he did was toss a complete game victory giving up two runs while striking out 13 and walking two against Virginia Tech last Saturday. Junior Jacob Thompson (4-0, 2.72, 39) also threw a complete game last Friday. He allowed only one run on seven hits and struck out five while not walking a Hokie. Sunday starter, junior Andrew Carraway (2-2, 3.19, 36), had a no-decision after pitching 5 and two-thirds giving up a run on four hits while striking out seven. Senior Michael Schwimer leads the team with nine saves and posting an outstanding ERA of 0.79 in 11 and a third innings pitched.
The Seminoles have been mashing the ball; therefore, their pitching staff has not had too much pressure on them. Led by sophomore Matt Fairel (6-0, 1.58, 35 Ks), they have posted a team ERA of 3.90. Last Friday, Fairel tossed six innings, struck out five, walked three, and gave up two runs on six hits in picking up the victory against the Demon Deacons. Freshman Geoff Parker (2-1, 2.30, 17) almost duplicated Fairel’s line from Friday. Parker gave up three runs (two earned) on four hits, while striking out six and walking three. He was saddled with the loss as the Seminoles were limited to two runs. Posey leads the team with four saves while not allowing a run in five innings pitched.
The fans will be entertained this weekend, although they do some entertaining themselves with a couple of singing performances during games. The Seminoles have a ton of pop in their bats right now. McAnaney and Thompson will have to duplicate their efforts from last week for the Cavaliers to have a shot; however, they are not going up against the Hokies. With that being said, Florida State gets it done by winning the series two games to one.
REMAINING TOP FIVE SERIES TO WATCH
#7 South Carolina (20-7, 6-3 SEC East) at Georgia (17-10, 6-3 SEC East)
Just another weekend in the SEC East as the Gamecocks travel to Athens to take on the Bulldogs. Georgia comes in on a four game winning streak after taking the series at Mississippi State with wins on Saturday and Sunday plus winning a home-and-home from Clemson during the mid-week. South Carolina has a four game winning streak of their own by virtue of winning the last two games of the weekend against Kentucky and two more during the mid-week. Both teams are seeking to stay within reach of the Florida Gators for the top spot in the tight Eastern Division. It is G-day, UGA football spring game, so look for packed crowds at Foley Field while the Bulldogs take the series 2-1. Yours truly will be taking in the series as well.
#1 Arizona State (27-1, 3-0 Pac 10) at Stanford (13-8, 2-1 Pac 10)
Stanford has a chance to make a move to the top of the Pac 10 after winning the series last weekend against Washington State. The Sunken Diamond used to be an intimidating place to play. Could the Cardinal be unwelcoming hosts? The top-ranked Sun Devils come in winners of eight straight ball games. Look for them to leave on an 11 game win streak.
#6 Vanderbilt (19-7, 5-3 SEC East) at #27 Mississippi (17-11, 4-5 SEC West)
Does anyone want to step up in the SEC West? With all teams in the west below .500, the Rebels could use a good weekend after dropping two of three to Alabama (our upset pick last week). This is not what the doctor ordered for Ole Miss. Vanderbilt split mid-week ball games after getting the two game rain-shortened sweep of Arkansas last weekend. The Commodores take two from the Rebels and keep them reeling.
#19 Cal-State Fullerton (16-9, 2-1 Big West) at #5 UC-Irvine (19-3, 2-1 Big West)
A big series early in the season in the Big West. Can you believe that this is not even for first place in the conference? Both teams dropped their games last Saturday en route to series victories on Sunday. Well, that's baseball as both played inferior competition. The Anteaters will emerge victorious in the series 2-1.
FIVE OTHER SERIES WORTH KEEPING AN EYE ON
#24 Georgia Tech (24-5, 8-4 ACC) at #3 North Carolina (23-5, 8-3 ACC)
The Jackets typically do not do well on the road. That bodes well for the Tar Heels as they win the series, 2-1.
#17 Clemson (18-10, 6-6 ACC) at #2 Miami(FL) (23-2, 9-1)
After the blunders I witnessed Tuesday night in Athens, Clemson needs to regain focus in a hurry. They did not need to be making a trip to Miami right now as they fly right into the midst of a hot Hurricane team. The Tigers tuck their tails back to Clemson after dropping two of three.
East Carolina (19-8, 3-3 CUSA) at Southern Mississippi (19-8, 4-2 CUSA)
The Eagles are flying high after ending Rice's 26 conference series win streak last weekend in Houston. They stayed hot by taking two from Troy during the mid-week. The Pirates climbed back to .500 in coference last week with a series win over UCF; however, USM should take two this weekend at the Pete.
#23 Oklahoma State (18-8, 4-5 Big XII) at #10 Missouri (21-6, 4-2 Big XII)
Missouri dropped two at Texas Tech last weekend. At least they are returning to their friendly confines of Taylor Stadium, where they have only dropped one game. The Cowboys need some wins to stay afloat in the Big XII, but they will not get them this week as the Tigers sweep.
#26 Oregon State (14-8, 2-1 Pac 10) at #20 California (19-6, 2-1 Pac 10)
The two-time defending champs hit the road for a big series in Berkeley. The Bears took two of three last weekend, but our upset of the week has the Beavers taking this series 2-1.
Other Series of Note
#25 Florida at Tennessee