The Daily Nole

What to Watch For Wednesday: FSU Baseball Faces Elimination at CWS

Mark Kuhlmann/FSU athletics

The season now hangs in the balance for Florida State baseball as the Seminoles will be forced to win three games in four days to advance to the championship round of the College World Series.

The 2019 campaign and the career of legendary head coach Mike Martin could come to a close as early as Wednesday night as the Seminoles face Texas Tech in an elimination game. The Red Raiders kept their season alive on Monday with a thrilling 5-4 win over Arkansas. FSU fell 2-0 to Michigan on Monday night to face elimination.

The FSU pitching staff has been outstanding thus far in the College World Series, allowing just two runs in two games. The Seminoles will have their hands full on Wednesday night against a Red Raiders’ offense that is hitting .300 as a team.

First-round pick Josh Jung is the big name for Texas Tech with a .339 average, 65 runs scored, 15 home runs and 57 RBIs, but Cameron Warren leads the team statistically in batting average (.353), home runs (18) and runs batted in (78).

Overall, seven everyday players are hitting at least .300 for the Red Raiders. Speedsters Gabe Holt and Dylan Neuse have combined for nine triples and 45 stolen bases.

Likely on the mound for Texas Tech on Wednesday will be right-hander Bryce Bonnin. Bonnin has a 4.42 ERA this season with 58 strikeouts in 59 innings. Bonnin is 6-1, but can struggle with his command. Closer Calyton Beeter has eight saves this season.

FSU will send Conor Grady to the mound on Wednesday night. Grady is 9-5 this season with a 3.64 ERA and was brilliant his last time out. Grady pitched the final game of the Athens Regional, allowing just a run on six hits and two walks in seven innings in a 10-1 victory over Georgia.

Mike Salvatore and Matheu Nelson have been the two biggest bright spots for the FSU offense thus far in Omaha. Salvatore is FSU’s leading hitter with a .340 batting average. Drew Mendoza led FSU in the power categories this season with 16 home runs and 56 RBIs, but is 0-for-8 so far at the College World Series.

Since the start of the NCAA Tournament, one surprising strength for FSU has been the bullpen. In relief, the Seminoles have allowed just two earned runs on eight hits and two walks in 21.1 innings to go with 22 strikeouts.

J.C. Flowers has a pair of saves during the NCAA Tournament while lefty Antonio Velez has two wins. On Monday night, Chase Haney and Jonah Scolaro combined to throw 4.1 shutout innings. Scolaro struck out each of the six batters he faced.

The winner of Wednesday’s game will have to defeat Michigan on both Friday and Saturday to reach the College World Series finals. Prior to blanking FSU on Monday, Michigan shut out Texas Tech, 5-3. Against common opponents this season, the Red Raiders are 6-2. FSU is 4-2.

The 2019 NBA Draft will take place on Thursday night in Brooklyn. There are three Florida State players who hope to be drafted and two likely to go.

Leading scorer and 6-foot-10 forward Mfiondu Kabengele is expected to be taken late in the first round. The ACC’s Sixth Man of the Year, Kabengele averaged a team-high 13.2 points per game last season as a redshirt sophomore while shooting better than 50 percent from the field and grabbing nearly six boards.

Terance Mann, a 4-year slasher, is expected to go in the second round on Thursday night. Mann improved immensely as an outside shooter while shooting 51 percent from the field. Mann averaged 11.4 points and a team-best 6.5 rebounds per game.

Forward Phil Cofer is unlikely to be drafted, but has an outside shot. After leading the team in scoring as a redshirt junior, Cofer battled injuries this past season, averaging 7.4 points per game while missing 15 contests.

The draft gets underway at 7 p.m. EST and will air on ESPN.

Mike Ferguson is the editor of The Daily Nole. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikeWFerguson. Like The Daily Nole on Facebook. To pitch an idea, author a post or to learn more about The Daily Nole, email Mike Ferguson at

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