Florida State’s No. 10 baseball returns to Dick Howser Stadium this weekend to take on the Cal Bears in a three-game set. The Seminoles have lost consecutive games in overtime, one in Samford and one at Mercer, to improve to 5-3 going into the third weekend of the season. The Bears also enter the weekend with a 5-3 record. Cal had quality wins over No. 16 TCU and No. 23 Sacramento State.
In eight games, the FSU offense ranks in the top 30 in the nation in batting average (.318), doubles (21) and slugging percentage (.511). Five of Florida State’s starters are hitting above .300. Reese Albert leads FSU with an average of .429. First-year student James Tibbs leads the Seminoles with a .739 SLG% and a .483 OBP. Him and Alex Toral have an eight-game streak on base. First-year student Jaime Ferrer is the only Seminole with a hit in every game as he enters the weekend averaging .379 and an eight-game hitting streak. Brett Robert hits .379 and is tied for the team lead with two home runs.
The pitching staff is 26th in the nation with a 2.58 ERA, 19th with 6.14 hits allowed per nine innings and fourth with 13.6 K/9s. FSU’s weekend rotation combined to allow just three earned runs out of 30 innings pitched. injuries to Davis Hare and Joe Charles hampered the depth of the bullpen early on. The bullpen compiled a 3.82 ERA in 35.1 IP but failed to hold a narrow lead in FSU’s three early season losses. Jackson Nezuh was the best bullpen arm as long as it didn’t allow running in IP 4.2. Nezuh is also struggling with injury after sustaining an oblique injury to Mercer.
The Bears are coached by Mike Neu, who is in his fifth season as Cal’s head coach. Neu led Cal to an NCAA Tournament appearance in 2019, their first since 2015. Last season, the Bears were 29-26, 15-15 in the Pac12. The Bears were chosen to finish sixth in the Pac12 this season by conference coaches.
outfielder Dylan Beavers is the Bears point guard at home plate. Beavers was a member of the United States collegiate national team last summer after hitting .303 with 18 bombs as a sophomore. The outfielder is expected to enter the first round of the 2022 MLB Draft and was a consensus preseason All-American. He leads Cal with three homers in eight games. As a team, the Bears are hitting .282 and averaging 5.75 points per game.
On the mound, Cal has a 3.58 ERA and a .230 batting average against. The Bears staff have a 9.99 K/9 and 3.70 BB/9. Nick Proctor and Michael Scott are Cal’s two best arms outside the bullpen. Both are right-handed seniors who have made over 35 appearances in their college careers. Scott, the closest to Cal, has a 3.96 career ERA. Proctor is yet to clear a run this season through four appearances. He has a career ERA of 4.95. On the field, the Bears have a field percentage of .978.
FSU and Cal have only met once before. This will be the Bears’ first-ever trip to Dick Howser Stadium. The Seminoles beat the Bears 5-4 in the 1992 College World Series.
Here’s a breakdown of the starting pitch matches:
Friday 3/4, 7:00 p.m.
Likely beginners: RHP Josh White (0.79 ERA, 11.1 IP) vs LHP Parker Messick (0.71 ERA, 12.2 FT)
How to watch: ACC Network
Dick Howser Stadium may have the best pitching matchup in the nation on Friday night. by Cal Josh White and Parker Messick were each part of the United States collegiate national team this summer. Messick allowed just one run on 12.2 PI to start the season. He was named ACC pitcher of the week for his career-high seven shutout innings and 13 KOs against Samford. The left-hander is second in the nation with 24 strikeouts.
White was also spectacular to start the season as he allowed just one run on 11.1 IP. The right-handed pitcher is 21st in the nation with 20 strikeouts. White, a 6’1 junior, compiled a 2.79 ERA on 61.1 IPS last season. The RHP throws a 93-94 MPH fastball with sink. White throws two breaking balls to accompany the fastball. He uses a low 80s curveball with plenty of depth against left-handed hitters. He throws a mid-80s slider with a short late break to right-handed hitters.
Josh White is thrilled it’s baseball season!
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) February 18, 2022
Saturday 3/5, 4:00 p.m.
Likely beginners: RHP Steven Zobac (4.50 ERA, 10 IP) vs LHP Bryce Hubbart (0.00 ERA, 11 IP)
How to listen (no broadcast): 100.7 FM WFLA, seminoles.leanplayer.com
Bryce Hubbart has yet to allow a run through two starts this season. His scoreless February earned him the honor of NCBWA National Pitcher of the Month. The southpaw is fifth in the nation with 22 Ks. He walked just one batter and allowed six hits.
— FSU Baseball (@FSUBaseball) March 3, 2022
Steven Zobac is in his first season as a weekend starter for the Bears. Zobac has allowed ten hits and five walks in ten innings this season. The right-handed pitcher is 6’2 tall and can run his fastball up to 95 MPH.
Sunday 3/6, 12:00
Likely beginners: RHP Joseph King (5.79 ERA, 9.1 IP) vs LHP Ross Dunn (2.84 ERA, 6.1 IP)
How to watch: ACC Network Extra
Ross Dunn set career highs with four innings pitched and eight strikeouts last weekend. Dunn is yet to reach the fifth inning in his first two career weekend starts. Last week he set career highs with four innings pitched and eight strikeouts. The southpaw’s fastball control has improved since his first start, but he struggled to land his curveball for strikes. Despite his difficulties with command, he only allowed two earned runs in IP 6.1.
Joseph King was named the Bears’ Sunday starter this season after struggling with injuries the past two seasons. At the start of the season, he had pitched just 16.2 innings in his college career. Through two starts this season, he has a 5.79 ERA in 9.1 innings. He allowed 10 hits and two walks while striking out eight. It boasts a 92-94 MPH, curve ball and shift.
Cal’s best players
JR. FROM Dylan Beavers: .290 AVG / 3 HR / .613 SLG%
FR. OF Rodney Greene Jr.: .368 AVG / 4 XBH / .737 SLG%
SR. C Cole Elvis: .364 AVG / 10 RBI / .545 SLG%
5 performances that stood out: https://t.co/NabDf2PuuR pic.twitter.com/w0RtYYKGsX
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) February 21, 2022
FR. C/DH: Caleb Lomavita: .323 AVG / 2 HR / .581 SLG%
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) February 18, 2022
Projected range FSU
RF Reese Albert
CF Logan Lacey
1B Alex Toral
3B Brett Roberts
LF James Tibbs
DH Jaime Ferrer
SS Jordan Carrion
Rank Treyton 2B
C Colton Vincent
OUT: Tyler Martin (shoulder)
Mike Martin Jr. media availability Thursday