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FLORIDA STATE BASEBALL

2003 RECORD: 54-13-1, 19-5 ACC (first in regular season). Lost to Texas in the NCAA Super Region in Tallahassee.

COACH: Mike Martin (1,293-429-4, 25th season).

KEY RETURNING PLAYERS: SS Stephen Drew, Jr. (.327, 11 HR, 59 RBI); RF Eddy Martinez-Esteve, So. (.371, 9 HR, 43 RBI); 1B Daniel Wardell, Jr. (.304, 7 HR, 24 RBI); C Aaron Cheeseman, Jr. (.284, 22 RBI); LHP Hunter Jones, So. (2-0, 2.53 ERA); RHP Kevin Lynch, Jr. (3-1, 2.59 ERA); RHP Rhett James, Sr. (2-4, 3.43 ERA).

KEY NEWCOMERS: CF Shane Robinson, Jesuit; 3B Gibbs Chapman, Lake Sumter CC; RHP Tyler Chambliss, Live Oak Suwannee; RHP Brian Chambers, Jefferson.

THE LOWDOWN: The Seminoles are perennial favorites to reach the College World Series but have had to do an inordinate amount of retooling. As a result, FSU is No. 24 in the Collegiate Baseball preseason poll. The Seminoles lost C Tony Richie, OFs Tony McQuade and Blake Balkcom and 1B Jerrod Brown, who combined for 41 of the team's 81 HRs and 236 of its 509 RBIs. Drew, a candidate for ACC player of the year, and Martinez-Esteve aren't slouches, but they will need help from Wardell, Cheeseman, DH Derrick Smith (.280 last year), LF Matt Sauls (.268), 2B Bryan Zech (.267) and the speedy Robinson, the likely leadoff man. Cheeseman also must handle green starting pitchers. Jones opens today against VMI, with senior right-hander Eddie Cannon starting Sunday. Sophomore right-hander Mark Sauls and Chambers fill out the rotation. Jones, Cannon and Sauls, who has been struggling in scrimmages, combined for 12 starts last year. Said Martin: "We're looking at a year where a lot of things have to go right for us to be successful. We're challenged and we're looking forward to that."

_ Compiled by Brian Landman.

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