The Daily Nole

Noles Fight for In-State Respectability vs. Rival Florida athletics

Florida State has won three straight over rival Florida on the gridiron and two straight on the hardwood, but on the baseball diamond, the Gators have been king in the recent rivalry.

FSU will look to avoid the season sweep and a fifth straight loss to its rivals in just hours at Dick Howser Stadium. The Gators took the first two this season in Jacksonville and Gainesville, respectively.

Florida State enters the Tuesday night contest riding high however. The Seminoles took two of three against a a top-5 Louisville squad over the weekend, which included a 16-5 thrashing in the rubber game on Sunday.

FSU comes in ranked in the top 6 nationally in all of the major college baseball polls and as high as fourth. Rival Florida is ranked third nationally by Baseball America.

Florida State felt pretty good about its standing in the Sunshine State at this time last year. Quincy Nieporte’s 12th inning blast on April 14, 2015 in Tallahassee gave FSU the regular season series against rival Florida, but since then, the rivalry has been all orange and blue.

Florida ended FSU’s 2015 campaign by sweeping a pair of contests at the Gainesville Super Regional. The Gators thoroughly embarrassed FSU, taking the two games by 13-5 and 11-4 final scores. Florida blasted five home runs over the two games.

Florida’s Jackson Kowar will get the start on Tuesday. Kowar has stifled FSU in two appearances against the Seminoles this season, allowing just one run on six total hits in seven innings of work. Ed Voyles will get his third career start for the Seminoles.

The Gators defeated FSU 6-0 in Gainesville on March 15 and 3-2 in Jacksonville on March 29. Though Florida took both games, the Seminoles didn’t do the best job maximizing scoring opportunities.

In the March 15 loss, the Seminoles left 10 men on base and grounded into three double plays. On March 29, FSU outhit Florida 7-5, but left seven men on base compared to Florida’s four. FSU also went just 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position and squandered an opportunity to get a runner home from third with one out in the third inning.

Tuesday’s contest will not only provide FSU with an opportunity to expound on a statement series against Louisville, but to prove it is every bit the threat on the national level as its in-state rivals. Not only is Florida ranked third, according to Baseball America, but Miami held down the top spot this week. The Hurricanes will come to Tallahassee from May 19-21 to close the regular season.

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