The Daily Nole

What to Watch For Wednesday: FSU Baseball Opens Season with Niagara

Jeremy Esbrandt/D'Vel Photography/FSU athletics

It’s mid-February, Florida State fans. Less than a month remains in basketball’s regular season, softball season is underway and baseball is right around the corner.

As is our Wednesday tradition, we tell you what to watch for across the FSU sports spectrum over the next week:

1. FSU baseball opens 2020 season
The Mike Martin Jr. era gets underway on Friday as Florida State baseball opens a 3-game set and the 2020 season against Niagara at Dick Howser Stadium. The Seminoles reached the College World Series last season and return most of their key arms. FSU will be losing a number of everyday players, including infielders Mike Salvatore, Drew Mendoza and outfielder J.C. Flowers. Names to know heading into the season include Nander De Sedas, Matheu Nelson, Reese Albert, C.J. Van Eyk and Conor Grady.

Niagara finished just 15-33 last season. The Seminoles and Purple Eagles will play at 6 p.m. EST on Friday, 2 p.m. on Saturday and noon on Sunday. FSU will play its first midweek game on Tuesday against South Florida. The Bulls finished 26-27 last season. The Seminoles were slated to visit USF in 2019, but the contest was canceled. Tuesday’s showdown in Tallahassee begins at 6 p.m. EST. All four games stream on ACC Network Extra.

2. FSU softball takes part in St. Pete/Clearwater Elite Invitational
Florida State softball went 5-0 over three days during the JoAnne Graf Classic, including two wins over No. 1 Alabama. After hosting Florida A&M on Wednesday, FSU will have another busy weekend as it takes part in the St. Pete/Clearwater Elite Invitational. The Seminoles will again play five games in three days and will again take on the No. 1 team. Things get underway on Friday against top-ranked Washington and No. 14 Minnesota. On Saturday, No. 5 FSU will take on No. 21 Minnesota. Things wrap up on Sunday with contests against Liberty and No. 3 UCLA.

FSU’s strong start was fueled by Kiersten Landers, who hit .579 with seven runs scored, seven RBIs and a walk-off hit. Devyn Flaherty, Anna Shelnutt and Chloe Culp all have two homers this season for the Seminoles. From the circle, Tennessee transfer Caylan Arnold has yet to yield an earned run. The St. Pete/Clearwater Elite Invitational will air on ESPN’s family on networks.

3. FSU hoops hosts Syracuse, Pitt
After a hard-fought loss at Duke, No. 8 Florida State men’s hoops will return home for contests against Syracuse and Pittsburgh. The Seminoles host Syracuse on Saturday as they look for a third straight win over the Orange. FSU won at the Carrier Dome last season for the first time since the 1997 NIT. Trent Forrest, Devin Vassell and M.J. Walker average in double-figures for FSU. At 14-11 and 7-6 in ACC play, the Orange are desperate for a signature win. Elijah Hughes averages about 19 points per game for Syracuse, but left Tuesday’s loss to NC State early with a lower body injury. Joseph Girard scored 30 points in the loss.

The Seminoles, at 20-4 and 10-3 in ACC play, will host the Orange at noon EST in a contest that airs on ESPN2. On Tuesday, FSU will host Pittsburgh. The Panthers are 15-9 and 6-7 in conference, but handed the Seminoles a 63-61 loss in the season opener for both teams. Trey McGowens, Xavier Johnson and Justin Champagnie all average between 12 and 13 points per game for Pittsburgh. Johnson, Terrell Brown and Ryan Murphy all finished with 13 points in the opener. Forrest led FSU with a game-high 19 points. Tuesday’s contest begins at 8 p.m. EST and airs on ACC Network.

4. FSU women’s hoops visits Duke
On Sunday, the Florida State women will try to do what the men could not — win at Duke. The Seminoles will be looking for their season-high fourth straight ACC win. In its last road game, FSU upset No. 5 Louisville, 67-59. Kiah Gillespie averages nearly 16 points and nine rebounds for the Seminoles. Guards Nicki Ekhomu and Nausia Woolfolk score 14.8 and 14 points per game, respectively.

Duke has won six of eight and is 13-10 overall and 7-5 in ACC play. Haley Gorecki averages better than 18 points and nearly seven rebounds to lead the Blue Devils. FSU won both match-ups between the teams last season, including in the ACC Tournament. Duke however, topped the Seminoles in their last trip to Cameron Indoor Stadium two years ago. Sunday’s contest begins at 1 p.m. EST and airs on ESPN2.

5. FSU women’s golf returns to action
With the exception of a match play win over Virginia in Panama City, Florida State women’s golf will play its first tournament since late October, beginning on Sunday. The Seminoles will head to Mexico for the Guadalajara Collegiate Invitational, which lasts through Tuesday. FSU suffered a significant blow in the fall when Frida Kinhult left school to turn pro, but Amanda Doherty and Beatrice Wallin are both excellent players for the Seminoles.

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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