Florida State baseball will complete the regular season with a three-game series against No. 2 Louisville beginning Thursday at Jim Patterson Stadium. The Cardinals (46-7, 23-4 ACC) have already clinched the Atlantic Division title for a third consecutive season, while the Seminoles (33-20, 12-14) are looking to improve seeding for next week’s ACC Tournament, also in Louisville.
Thursday and Friday’s games will begin at 6:00 p.m. and stream live on ACC Network Extra. Saturday’s game begins at 7:30 p.m. and will air live nationally on ESPNU. All three games will be available on the radio as well, with Eric Luallen providing play-by-play on 106.1 FM in Tallahassee and nationwide through the FSU Gameday App.
Florida State will keep its regular weekend rotation intact, with RHP Cole Sands (5-3, 5.20 ERA) pitching Game 1, followed by LHP’s Tyler Holton (7-2, 2.69) and Drew Parrish (5-3, 5.54) to close out the weekend.
Louisville will throw LHP Brendan McKay (8-3, 1.80 ERA) with RHP Kade McClure (7-1, 3.27) and LHP Nick Bennett (5-0, 2.47) finishing the weekend.
The Seminoles are coming off a series loss against No. 20 Wake Forest over the weekend. FSU did win the Saturday game, 4-0, behind a stellar performance from Holton. Against the hard-hitting Demon Deacons, Holton held Wake to a .129 average (4-for-31) and struck out nine batters in the complete-game shutout. For his efforts, Holton was named ACC Pitcher of the Week for the fourth time this season, just the fifth pitcher in league history to win the award at least four times in one season.
The Cardinals are ranked No. 2 in every major poll this week. Before a 4-3 loss Tuesday evening against Indiana, Louisville sported a 15-game winning streak, the longest in the nation. Aside from being the team’s Game One starter, McKay is also hitting .366 with 15 home runs, 10 doubles and 46 RBI on the season, including a four-homer, nine-RBI day against Eastern Kentucky. Drew Ellis also has 15 home runs and a .398 batting average.
Last year, the Seminoles won two of three against the Cardinals in a top-10 matchup in Tallahassee. Against McKay last season, FSU had 10 hits in 4.0 innings and scored seven runs in the seventh inning to win, 12-7. After Louisville won the Saturday game, FSU battered eventual fourth-round MLB pick Kyle Funkhouser as FSU won the rubber match, 16-5.
In 2015, Louisville won two games at Jim Patterson Stadium, but FSU evened the season series with a 6-0 win in the ACC Tournament en route to the program’s sixth ACC Tournament title.
Florida State (2007-14) and Louisville (2015-17) have combined to win the past 11 ACC Atlantic Division championships. The Cardinals have locked up a top-two seed in the ACC Tournament by virtue of winning the Atlantic Division, and they lead North Carolina, the Coastal Division champs, by two games overall.
After the series, Florida State will remain in Louisville for the 2017 ACC Championships, beginning Tuesday, May 23. This year’s format features four three-team pods, with just a two game guarantee for each team. The semifinals are formed from the four pod winners, and the champion will be crowned on Sunday, May 28.
Florida State (12-14 in the league) is currently fifth in the Atlantic Division and eighth overall.