Tallahassee, FL - Mike Martin has walked across the field that bears his name for 34 straight years. Each year, though, is a little different - the questions, the players, the energy.
This year the Florida State head baseball coach returns 20 players. But, he has 15 newcomers, nine of them freshmen.
"We know we have an awful long way to go with this team, but we do have a good beginning point and that's our starting pitching," he said.
The Seminoles pitching staff is led by preseason All-Americans Brandon Leibrandt and Mike Compton, both of whom are sophomores. All four starters from last year's rotation are back.
"I tried to gain a little more velocity," said Leibrandt, referring to his offseason conditioning. "I'm probably 10-15 pounds heavier. I'm just hoping that extra strength will give me a little more explosiveness."
Something the pitching staff may have lacked last season in a loss to Arizona in the College World Series. Their batterymate, junior catcher Stephen McGee, started every game for the 'Noles last season.
"I know what to expect of them," McGee said. "I know how they are, I know how to talk to them. So, that's always a good thing going into the season."
The other good thing is that Justin Gonzalez will be turning double plays for one final time in the Garnet and Gold. Although, there are new faces who make up the rest of the infield.
"I think the biggest thing was just let the game come to you and not try to do too much," Gonzalez said. "It's just something they did last year and I just hope to carry it on to this season."
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