One of the nation's top pitching staffs will be up against the country's top offense this weekend at Dick Howser Stadium.
Sophomore Brandon Leibrandt will hope to replicate his performance from last year's meeting with Georgia Tech in Atlanta.
When No. 11 Georgia Tech visits No. 5 Florida State for a three-game set, the Yellow Jackets will bring a lineup that features the highest team batting average in the country, .352, scores the most runs per game, with 9.7 and has already hit 21 home runs.
Hoping to slow them down will be FSU's staff of arms, which a 1.77 team earned runs average, the fifth-lowest in the nation.
Florida State (20-1, 5-1 ACC) also ranks seventh in hits allowed per nine innings and features 10 pitchers with an ERA below 3.00.
“Well (Georgia Tech's) numbers are staggering,” Seminoles coach Mike Martin said. “In this day and time, for them to go out and hit as many home runs and, gosh, they're averaging 10 runs a game. That's just extremely impressive.”
Junior catcher Zane Evans leads the way with a .397 batting average, nine home runs and 32 RBIs.
Making matters more difficult is that the Yellow Jackets (17-3, 5-1 ACC) have one of the nation's top pitchers, too. Buck Farmer, a senior right-hander, is off to a 4-0 start and owns a sterling 1.64 ERA.
Farmer breezed through Florida State's lineup in last season's meeting in Atlanta– he surrendered just five hits and one earned run in eight innings of work.
“He's nasty,” sophomore first baseman John Nogowski said. “He's got good stuff, but we're going to what we do all year – try to get his pitch count up, get him out of the game, get to their bullpen early.”
Despite his impressive outing a year ago, Farmer didn't earn a win against the Seminoles that day. That's because then-freshman Brandon Leibrandt nearly matched Farmer pitch-for-pitch, allowing just three hits over 7 1/3 innings in FSU's extra-innings victory.
Leibrandt, a native of Atlanta suburb Alpharetta, will see plenty of familiar faces in the Georgia Tech dugout.
“It's definitely (exciting) just because you're over there, knowing – I hang with these guys off the field and I'm sure we'll talk about it before and after,” Leibrandt said. “It's always fun.”
Schedule changed due to weather
Due to expected inclement weather in Tallahassee on Saturday, FSU and Georgia Tech will play a double-header on Friday and then finish the series on Sunday.
Game one is set to begin at 3 p.m., with the second game to start 40 minutes following the final out. Both games will be shown on ESPN3. Sunday's game will be played at 1 p.m.
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