After winning a weekend series over Miami, the Gators will face another in-state rival in the form of the Florida State Seminoles tonight. The visitors from Tallahassee will match up with the Gators at 6:30 this evening in front of a McKethan Stadium crowd.
FSU comes in ranked second by Collegiate Baseball and eighth by Baseball America. The Gators, on the other hand, are yet to be ranked this season after the preseason polls left them out of the top 25.
Tonight the Gators will give the start to freshman lefty Kevin Chapman, who is coming off a start against Florida A&M. Chapman held the Rattlers to only one hit over five innings, while striking out four. He will be facing off against a much better lineup tonight, needless to say.
The 'Noles lineup has been on fire in their nine games this season -- they have scored nine or more runs in eight of them -- helping FSU to an unblemished record. Their games have all come at home this season, so the trip to Gainesville will be their first contest on the road.
As a team, FSU has a .420 average over their nine games (145-345), with 38 extra base hits (more than four a game). They have outscored their opponents 113-29 this season.
The 'Noles took last year's contest in Gainesville, but were unable to beat the Gators in Tallahassee. The Gators have won 7 of 11 against the Seminoles, while State holds an overall series record of 111-90 against the Orange & Blue.
The Gators have had a lot of production out of the top of their lineup -- Cole Figueroa, Jon Townsend and Matt LaPorta have all been swinging the bat well for the Gators, who hold a 4-3 record. OF Austin Pride has also been pretty productive from the plate with a .357 average.
This is a real test for Florida to see how far along they have come since the first couple of games against VMI. Chapman definitely has his work cut out for him on the mound this evening, so hopefully he can put together a solid outing and keep that dangerous FSU lineup in check.
Tonight's game will be aired on Sun Sports, and as always can be heard on the Gator Radio Network.