TALLAHASSEE, Fla. | We’re live from Dick Howser Stadium on the Florida State campus, where we just had a press conference with each coach on the eve of this NCAA regional. The presser was held in the lovely Tradition Room, which as you can imagine is full of pictures and such of past FSU greats.
MSU (39-22), the No. 2 seed, opens play at 11 a.m. CT Friday (ESPN3.com) against No. 3 seed Samford (39-21). State coach John Cohen made it official that junior right-hander Chris Stratton (11-1, 2.21 ERA) will get the start tomorrow. It was pretty much a foregone conclusion, as Cohen is treating this regional opener like the biggest game of the season.
“We were waiting a while, but we’re going to pitch, in our opinion, our very best guy, because Samford’s the most important game we’re going to play this year,” Cohen said. “So we’re going to throw the guy that we feel like is the best guy on our staff right now.”
As for the Game 2 starter, it’s still looking like righty Kendall Graveman (4-4, 2.92), who’s battling through a groin injury.
Cohen talked very highly of Samford’s lineup, a group that’s batting .307 with 62 home runs. Brandon Miller has 22 of those homers.
“They have that nice little mix – guys who can hit it out of the ballpark, guys who can run, and guys who can situationally hit,” Cohen said.
For video of Cohen, CLICK HERE. Now, let’s hear briefly from the other coaches as well.
• Samford coach Casey Dunn: “This is a group that believes in itself. They’ve done some good things. I really don’t think at this point it’s a team that’s overachieved, it’s a team that’s trying to reach their potential right now.”
• Florida State coach Mike Martin, on MSU’s strong play of late: “If you go on a hot streak you’re certainly going to carry momentum into the tournament. … It is very important that they are on a hot streak. I don’t think there is any concern of ours the fact that we lost our last three.”
• UAB coach Brian Shoop: “We don’t have a great team. You look at our numbers, we don’t have a single guy hitting .300, we don’t have an all-conference player. That said, we have a very competitive college baseball team.”