2019 NCAA Super Regional Preview: Baton Rouge

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Paul Mainieri

Postseason History: 14th super regional appearance (first since 2017). Seeking 19th trip to Omaha and first since 2017.

Postseason Route: No. 1 seed in Baton Rouge Regional. Went 3-0, defeating Southern Mississippi, 6-4, in regional final.

Scouting Report (anonymous coach breaks down the Tigers)

“I don’t know how Manieri does it, but they play their best baseball in May and June every year. It’s really something. At the top of the order, you’ve got those older kids. Josh Smith heck of a player and then Antoine Duplantis and Zach Watson, all three of those guys are athletic and have good bat-to-ball skills. I think Saul Garza has been coming on, he’s been hot the last month, which has probably been big for them. Daniel Cabrera hasn’t had the season I think everyone anticipated but he’s still a real threat. Cade Beloso is a guy that swung it against us, a guy that can get some extra-base hits. I guess LSU’s challenge on the mound, they’re not what they have been. Cole Henry is a big piece. Zack Hess is really dynamic out of the pen. If they can pitch it enough on the front end with Walker and Henry and Marceaux.

“Anybody that’s playing right now has a good team but to me LSU is vulnerable. If those starters can get to middle of the game with the game being within reach, I think they have enough with Todd Peterson and Devin Fontenot to get to Hess and that’s pretty competitive. But if they pitch more than seven guys this weekend, it’s probably not going to be a good weekend for them.

“(Smith’s) just a ballplayer. He’s a good defensive player, he’s good runner, he can cover both sides of the plate, he’s got some sneaky juice. He just does everything pretty well. By college baseball or SEC standards, everything is above average. I don’t know if there’s one thing that’s off the charts but all of a sudden you have a player who plays shortstop, is a good defender, can run a little bit, has a good feel to hit and he can get some extra-base hits and, all of a sudden, you’re talking about a darn good player. I would imagine his intangibles are well above-average. He’s got a really good presence to him. I think a kid that as a freshman that goes to a real program and has a real role for a really good team right away, those guys are just wired differently. I remember seeing him as a freshman and he was a good, winning player as a freshman. That kid two years later with a bunch of experience under his belt is pretty darn good.

“I think its huge. Guys that play at LSU, they’ve been in the postseason, they think they’re supposed to win. I don’t think there’s anything we as coaches can do to simulate the thought in the back of their mind that if we make this pitch here or get a hit here and score this run, we’re going to Omaha. That’s one thing in our league, the kids play in these types of environments and it’s probably a little bit easier to handle that type of stuff as far as the external factors. A lot of these guys have been really successful, they’ve been to Omaha and they think that, ‘Hey, we play for LSU, we’re supposed to win.’”

Position Name, Year AVG OBP SLG AB HR RBI  
C Saul Garza, So. 0.309 0.366 0.493 136 5 27  
1B Chris Reid, Sr. 0.256 0.389 0.346 156 1 32  
2B Brandt Broussard, Sr. 0.256 0.330 0.314 156 1 19  
3B Hal Hughes, So. 0.177 0.288 0.190 147 0 11  
SS Josh Smith, Jr. 0.346 0.436 0.533 246 9 41  
LF Daniel Cabrera, So. 0.286 0.360 0.525 217 12 49  
CF Zach Watson, Jr. 0.310 0.377 0.476 229 7 41  
RF Antoine Duplantis, Sr. 0.319 0.373 0.493 270 11 64  
DH Cade Beloso, Fr. 0.288 0.343 0.443 212 10 52  
Position Name, Year W L ERA IP BB SO SV
RHP Cole Henry, Fr. 4 2 3.51 56.1 15 69 0
RHP Eric Walker, R-So. 5 4 5.47 72.1 32 56 0
RHP Landon Marceaux, Fr. 5 2 4.64 54.1 19 41 0
RP Devin Fontenot, So. 5 2 3.86 44.1 22 43 7
RHP Zack Hess, Jr. 4 5 4.63 70 33 82 2

Florida State

Coach: Mike Martin

Postseason History: 17th super regional appearance (first since 2017). Seeking 23rd trip to Omaha and first since 2017.

Postseason Route: No. 3 seed in Athens Regional. Went 3-0, defeating Georgia, 10-1, in regional final.

Scouting Report (anonymous coach breaks down the Seminoles)

“The thing about Florida State is I think everybody in the country is rooting for Florida State to win the national championship right now. And talk about all-time great matchups, Florida State-LSU, coach Martin, coach Mainieri. I think we should make all the college baseball players go watch that one.

“Florida State is doing what Florida State does right now. It felt like for a while they weren’t playing normal Florida State baseball. They were throwing the ball around a touch and not as fundamentally sound. For a while it just didn’t feel like Florida State and then you saw them at the end of the year, and it was like, ‘There it is, that’s what they do.’ I think it was a hard year for everybody down there with all the pomp and circumstance around everything. I think at some point coach Martin kind of took back over and they’re playing Florida State baseball again. It’s what he’s done for 40 years. It’s impossible to win 40 games for 40 years and they’re going to do it. The only way you do that is they don’t ever make a mistake.

“JC Flowers is awesome. The game is over when he comes in (to pitch). You’ve got Flowers and Drew Mendoza who can leave (the ballpark), Flowers can run and Nander De Sedas can run and even the guys that you don’t look at and aren’t a home run threat every time up, they can all get to the fence if they need it. Every one of them executes whatever they need to offensively. It’s the thing about Florida State—the years they have superstars you can’t beat them and the years that they don’t, like this year, they’re still really good. They’re really hard to beat. Everybody can hit a home run; everyone can hit a double. They can all hit-and-run—and they will all hit-and-run—and they’re so hard to pitch to. He’s going to control everything they do down there. They’re going to take pitches at times when you think they’d be swinging because coach Martin knows you’re going to throw a breaking ball down. It’s fun to watch.

“Pretty damn good and experienced, that’s what you’re seeing (on the mound). Drew Parrish and CJ Van Eyk, when you’re facing them, you feel like you’re facing guys who have pitched in the ACC for 10 years. They’ve got Jonah Scolaro and Austin Pollock and Antonio Velez coming out of the pen to get to Flowers. Their bullpen is OK. It’s not premium, premium arms throughout but they’ve got quality starters and a really good closer.

“You’ve got to beat (Mendoza) with a fastball. Nobody wants to throw him fastballs, but you’ve got to beat him with a fastball, especially up. Once you do that you can get him to chase a little bit. They’re a team that a changeup is good on – Mike Salvatore, Flowers, Mendoza. You see it a lot with some of these guys. The big power guys in our conference, a lot of them you can actually beat with really good fastballs because they get so many breaking balls. Not that they have slider bat speed, but they’re just so used to being timed up to that.

“I think everybody in and out of that clubhouse wants coach Martin to win a national championship. I think the last season stuff was a lot early on—it was just a lot. I think toward the end of the season they got back to worrying about Florida State baseball and the next thing you know they’re going to be in Omaha.”

Position Name, Year AVG OBP SLG AB HR RBI  
C Matheu Nelson, Fr. 0.270 0.431 0.440 141 6 27  
1B Carter Smith, Jr. 0.256 0.370 0.397 78 2 10  
2B Nander De Sedas, Fr. 0.246 0.371 0.361 181 4 31  
3B Drew Mendoza, Jr. 0.320 0.482 0.631 206 16 55  
SS Mike Salvatore, Sr. 0.341 0.430 0.549 246 7 50  
LF Tim Becker, Sr. 0.286 0.423 0.528 42 3 11  
CF J.C. Flowers, Jr. 0.278 0.378 0.528 216 13 53  
RF Reese Albert, So. 0.308 0.420 0.538 143 7 31  
DH Robby Martin, Fr. 0.340 0.419 0.487 197 4 54  
Position Name, Year W L ERA IP BB SO SV
LHP Drew Parrish, Jr. 8 5 5.07 81.2 29 112 0
RHP CJ Van Eyk, So. 10 3 3.71 87.1 37 115 0
RHP Conor Grady, So. 9 5 3.64 59.1 24 67 0
RP J.C. Flowers, Jr. 0 0 1.25 23.2 10 22 11
RP Jonah Scolaro, So. 3 2 5 45 23 46 2

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