The fourth-ranked Florida State Seminoles (37-11, 17-7) head to Chapel Hill to take on the North Carolina Tar Heels (29-19, 13-11) beginning Friday night at 7 pm followed by games Saturday and Sunday at 1 pm.
FSU is riding a four-game winning streak following a series loss vs. top-ranked Virginia and will need to keep that going this weekend vs. an underrated UNC squad. The Tar Heels are known for fielding a great ball club every year, and that is no different this season, despite their 13-11 conference record. The Seminoles currently hold a 4.5 game lead over Clemson in the ACC Atlantic and only need two more wins to clinch the division.
Luke Weaver (6-3, 2.88 ERA) takes the mound Friday night looking to get over his early inning flaws. In his past two starts he has gotten into some bases-loaded jams and surrendered some runs. He’ll face off against an incredible pitcher in UNC right-hander Trent Thornton (7-2, 1.85 ERA). The margin for error is limited, and the Florida State offense will need to disrupt Thornton early and often to get the win Friday night.
The recently dominant, ground-ball pitching Mike Compton (5-1, 3.16 ERA) will take the mound on Saturday once again, this time vs. UNC righty Benton Moss (3-2, 3.75 ERA). Compton has pitched three-straight dominant outings, including a 7.2-inning gem last Saturday vs. Minnesota. Compton will need to repeat that outing, so the Seminoles can preserve their bullpen for Sunday’s game for which the starting pitcher had not been announced.
Sunday’s open pitching slot does leave speculation, once again, for Brandon Leibrant’s return, or it could simply just be a decision between Billy Strode and Bryant Holtmann.
It is worth noting that FSU manager Mike Martin (1807 wins) and UNC manager (1262 wins) are one and two in winning percentage in college baseball history as well as two and seven, respectively, in total wins. The ‘Noles have six regular season games remaining, and the magnitude of each win will only continue to increase as the ‘Noles try to build their resume for a top seed in this year’s NCAA tournament.