Mark Appel, arguably the best pitcher in college baseball this season, has dominated opponents all year, and the Stanford ace will try to do it once again in Game 1 of the NCAA Super Regionals tonight against Florida State in Tallahassee, Fla.
Ex-Lee star, current Ga. Southern catcher Griffin named Louisville Slugger All-American
TUSCON, Ariz. — After being selected as the Southern Conference’s Freshman of the Year, former Lee County star and current Georgia Southern standout catcher Chase Griffin was selected as a Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American by Collegiate Baseball this week. Griffin was one of five catchers to receive the honor along with Indiana’s Kyle Schwarber and South Carolina’s Grayson Greiner.
The Leesburg native finished the season hitting .320 with 10 doubles, 10 home runs and 42 RBI. He became the first Eagle freshman since Steve Walson in 1996 to reach double figures in home runs after launching his 10th against Appalachian State on April 15.
Griffin not only led the team with that HR total but led all freshmen in Division I baseball for most of the season. He hit nine of his 10 home runs during a stretch of 20 games spanning from March 17 to April 15.
Griffin is the first Eagles freshman since Eric Phillips and the only GSU catcher to receive Freshman All-American honors.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida State will have to get past one of the best pitchers in college baseball to win the opening game of a best-of-three NCAA super regional series.
The Seminoles face Stanford’s Mark Appel (10-1, 2.27) tonight in Tallahassee.
Stanford coach Mark Marquess says Appel is the hardest thrower he’s had at Stanford. That includes Mike Mussina and Cy Young Award winner Jack McDowell.
Marquess won’t get an argument from veteran Florida State coach Mike Martin, who said Thursday the 6-foot-5, 215-pound Appel is the toughest pitcher his hitters will face this year.
“I don’t think you can compare him to anybody we’ve seen,” Martin said. “He should be at the next level already.”
Appel is on his way. He was selected eighth overall by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the Major League Baseball draft earlier this week. Appel struck out 10 or more hitters on eight occasions this season, including 11 in Stanford’s regional opener last week.
Appel’s fastball regularly hits the mid 90s and he’s been clocked as high as 98 mph along with the breaking pitch and changeup.
Florida State outfielder James Ramsey hopes hitting will play a role in the outcome. The ACC Player of the Year was the 23rd pick overall by the St. Louis Cardinals and will be putting his .385 average up against the hard-throwing Appel.
Freshman Brandon Leibrandt (7-2, 2.65) will be on the hill for the Seminoles toay with freshman Mike Compton (11-2) scheduled to face another Stanford power pitcher, Brett Mooneyham (7-5) on Saturday.
The two schools are 9-9 in previous matchups.
Stanford came out of its region unblemished with a win over Fresno State and two over Pepperdine while Florida State took a pair from Samford (Ala.) after edging UAB 2-1 in its opener.
FSU boasts an all-time record of 11-17 (.393) in Super Regionals, including a mark of 10-11 on their home turf.
Beyond that for FSU, the news isn’t much better.
FSU still holds the dubious honor of having the most wins in NCAA Tournament history without a College World Series title — something it hopes will finally change this year.