FSU baseball vs. Tennessee prediction, odds for NCAA tournament College World Series

No. 8 national seed Florida State will be tested immediately Friday in its 2024 College World Series opener against No. 1 Tennessee.

First pitch is 7 p.m. on ESPN at Charles Schwab Field.

FSU (47-15) returns to Omaha, Nebraska, for the first time since 2019 under legendary coach Mike Martin. Martin died last February, only weeks prior to the start of the season, from Lewy body dementia.

The Seminoles have also rebounded after suffering their worst season in program history in 2023 and missing the ACC and NCAA tournaments in coach Link Jarrett's first year.

"Proud of the program and what was accomplished this year," Jarrett said Thursday from the CWS.

"It was a difficult trek. The response from last year for this group to open the season and go one-third of the season without losing a game, pretty remarkable. The schedule was difficult. The midweek stuff is such a challenge. You guys know what the league is about. They earned everything that they achieved.

"This is the pinnacle of the sport."

FSU and UT last met in 2007, when the Seminoles swept the Vols in the teams' regular-seasoning opening series at Howser Stadium.

The winner of Friday's game advances in the winners bracket Sunday against the winner of Friday's CWS opener between North Carolina and Virginia.

The Volunteers (55-12) are favorites to win the CWS, relying on impressive balance.

They are the nation's top team in home runs with 173 in 67 games. They are also ranked third nationally in ERA (3.83).

Jarrett wants to set the tone early and he's expected to start ace pitcher, Jamie Arnold.

FSU, of course, is making its 24th appearance in the CWS and is still looking for its first national title. UT is looking to become the first No. 1 seed to win the CWS since Miami in 1999.

Here is our prediction.

FSU baseball vs.Tennessee prediction in NCAA College World Series bracket

FSU baseball beats UConn 10-8 in the NCAA Super Regional, booking a ticket to Omaha for the College World Series on Saturday, June 8, 2024 at Dick Howser Stadium
FSU baseball beats UConn 10-8 in the NCAA Super Regional, booking a ticket to Omaha for the College World Series on Saturday, June 8, 2024 at Dick Howser Stadium

FSU 10 Tennessee 6: A loss to Evansville in Game 2 in last weekend Super Regional in Knoxville showed that Tennessee can be beaten.

FSU, meanwhile, is 5-0 this NCAA postseason with wins over Stetson and Central Florida (twice) in the Tallahassee Regional and visiting UConn twice in last weekend's Super Regional.

Arnold and FSU's defense (.978 fielding % ranks 19th nationally) should be up for the task against Tennessee's offense, which ranks 20th nationally (.310 average).

"We're a very confident bunch," FSU shortstop Alex Lodise said Thursday during the CWS press conference.

"We know we can play with the best. These are the seven other best teams in the country. We're here because we can compete with them, and we know that watching them -- when you watch other teams play, it's knowing, like, with our confidence we're here, and we know we're capable of playing."

The left-handed Arnold (11-3, 277 ERA) throws a nasty slider that can make a hitter miss. He has 155 strikeouts (third nationally) and just 22 walks in 1002. innings. He has been the team's most consistent pitcher and emerged as its ace following the loss of right-hander Cam Leiter, who has been out since mid-March due to injury.

A matchup to watch is Arnold vs. Christian Moore. Moore's 34 home runs ranks fourth in the NCAA.

UT's pitching staff has leaned on starters Drew Beam (8-2, 4.44 ERA) and Zander Sechrist (4-1, 3.26 ERA, 93 innings). The Vols, who also rely heavily on their bullpen, are scheduled to start Chris Stamos, who has pitched 31.1 innings this year and has a 4.02 ERA.

Jame Tibbs III led the Seminoles in their Super Regional clincher against UConn with three home runs and has 28 on the year (tied for sixth nationally). He's also tied for second nationally in RBI with 94, six behind leader Roman Kuntz of Morehead State.

While FSU's lineup has featured plenty of pop this season - its 123 home runs ranks seventh nationally - the Seminoles have also hit for average at .316 (ninth nationally).

Both FSU and UT are also ranked top-10 nationally in slugging percentage and runs.

FSU's bullpen is expected to play an important role, and the team's top three relievers in Conner Whittaker, Brennen Oxford should be available.

The moment won't overwhelm Jarrett.

He was starting shortstop on three CWS teams at FSU and was an assistant with the Seminoles under Martin in 2003. And two years ago, Jarrett's Notre Dame team upset top-ranked Tennessee in Knoxville to punch the Irish's first ticket to the CWS since 2002.

Tennessee is making its third trip to the CWS in the past four seasons. The Vols have gone 1-4 in the prior two trips under coach Tony Vitello.

UT is 0-2 in CWS opening games under Vitello.

"I know how good they are," Jarrett said.

"They're unbelievable, unbelievably talented. This is a little bit of Clash of the Titans. I think our team, emotional team. This is an emotional group. Sometimes that emotion, we've seen it spill over a little bit where the guys hit a home run, the excitement, the punch-out. What you're going to see, I don't think we've ever seen it before.

"This Clash of the Titans, it's going to be exciting. People are looking forward to this."

FSU baseball odds to win 2024 College World Series

According to BetMGM. FSU is a +800 favorite to win the College World Series.

FSU baseball vs. Tennessee odds in 2024 College World Series

FSU +150

Tennessee -200

How can I watch FSU baseball vs. Tennessee Friday?

  • TV: ESPN (Channel 206 on DirecTV, Channel 140 on Dish)

  • Streaming: ESPN+ ($10.99 per month), WatchESPN and the ESPN app (TV provider subscription needed), fuboTV (7-day free trial), YouTube TV (2-week free trial), Hulu + Live TV (7-day free trial)

How can I listen to FSU baseball on the radio?

  • Radio: WFLA FM 100.7

  • Streaming: Seminole Sports Network

FSU baseball tickets for NCAA College World Series

Tickets for the College World Series can be purchased on the CWSOmaha.com

Peter Holland Jr. covers Florida State athletics for Tallahassee Democrat. Contact him via email at PHolland@Gannett.com or on X @_Da_pistol

This article originally appeared on Tallahassee Democrat: Predicition, odds of FSU baseball vs. Tennessee in College World Series