TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Fifth-ranked Florida State opens the 2014 season with a three-game series against Niagara on Mike Martin Field inside Dick Howser Stadium. First pitch for game one on Friday, February 14 is set for 6:00 p.m. and will air live on ESPN3.
The Seminoles and Purple Eagles are meeting for the first time since 1976. Florida State has won all seven of the previous meetings with all seven games coming in Tallahassee. FSU has outscored Niagara 69-20 in the series.
Florida State is no stranger to the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) having played five of the league’s current 11 members. The Noles are a perfect 22-0-0 against the MAAC with their last game coming against Marist in the opening game of the 2009 Tallahassee Regional. Florida State has faced the following MAAC schools: Marist (2-0-0), Monmouth (1-0-0), Rider (3-0-0), Siena (9-0-0) and Niagara (7-0-0).
When it comes to opening day, Florida State has proven to be tough to beat. Heading into Friday’s season opener, the Seminoles have won 15 in a row on opening day, while posting an all-time record of 58-7-1 (.886). Friday marks the first time that FSU will play Niagara on opening day. The Seminoles have suffered a loss on opening day just seven times in 66 previous seasons with two of those losses coming in Tallahassee.
Florida State also has not lost the first series of the season since 1981 – a streak of 32 consecutive series victories on opening weekend. In 66 years of FSU baseball, the Seminoles have only lost a season opening series twice. Overall, Florida State is 55-2-9 in season opening series.
RHP Luke Weaver will make his first career opening day start on Friday when he faces Niagara right hander Jordan Schwartz (3-7, 8.19 ERA). In 15 starts last year, Weaver went 7-2 with a 2.24 ERA in 96.1 innings of work. The junior right hander is FSU’s leading returning pitcher in terms of ERA (2.29), innings pitched (98.1) and strikeouts (119).
LHP Brandon Leibrandt (10-4, 3.44 ERA) will start on Saturday with RHP Mike Compton (12-2, 2.87 ERA) getting the starting nod for Sunday. Compton will be making his first start since throwing 6.0 innings against Stony Brook in the College World Series. The redshirt sophomore missed all of 2013 due to Tommy John surgery.
SOURCE: Florida State AthleticsNo. 5 FSU Opens Season Against Niagara by Amanda Borges