1. What is the strength of Florida State's team this year?
This year like every year, the strength of Florida State is their offense. Despite graduating superstars like Shane Robinson, Buster Posey and Tyler Holt the coaches always do a phenomenal job of putting guys in a position to succeed. This year is no different as the Noles have two Golden Spikes finalist in 1B Jayce Boyd and CF/ACC Player of the Year James Ramsey.
Pitching this season for the Seminoles is good but not yet great. Florida State finally brought on a new pitching coach in the offseason and has immediately paid dividends. At the beginning of the year fans were concerned about having two true freshmen in the Friday/Saturday starting positions but both Leibrandt and Compton have performed well. The bullpen has had its ups and downs this season and is some cause for concern moving into the postseason.
2. How does FSU usually score runs - home runs, base hits, aggressive base running, manufacture, etc.?
Florida State was the leading run scoring team in the ACC primarily for their excellent plate discipline. The Noles always lead the nation in walks and make pitchers work. They were one of only two teams in the conference to have an OPB and a SLG percentage over .400 so they can really beat you in multiple ways. Head coach Mike Martin does like to bunt in situations that all fans are not too happy with but for the most part he lets his hitters hit.
3. Do the 'Noles have a shut down closer?
Absolutely, Robert Benincasa was named to the first team All-ACC and has been a real blessing to the Noles. In 33 innings this season he has 47 strikeouts with only 5 walks. Florida State is 12-2 in one run games this season and you don't do that without a lights out closer.
4. Is Dick Howser Stadium more of a hitter's ballpark or a pitcher's ballpark?
Dick Howser Stadium in actually pretty neutral, the Seminoles put up such great numbers there that the casual fan with think it is a hitter's park. Looking at the dimensions also gives that impression too, but the 30' net in right field makes hitting homeruns a bit more difficult. You can read about this in more detail in the preview we will be running.
5. How hungry are Florida State fans for a national championship?
FSU has made it to Omaha in years where we thought we had no chance and then there were years where we had the best team in the country and couldn't get out of Supers. I believe that most realistic fans know this is not the year. The Noles have had and will always have the offense to win a title but the pitching is what is lacking. Hopefully with the new coach in place and a couple of recruiting cycles Florida State can once again have a legitimate shot of making a World Series run.
Thanks again to RaysnNoles for the in-depth preview. If Mississippi State and Florida State can win on Friday, they would meet at 7:00 (Eastern) on ESPN2 on Saturday.