TALLAHASSEE (AP) - Texas A&M lost ace right-hander John Stilson to a season-ending shoulder injury at the end of the regular season. Coach Rob Childress jokes that he wakes up two or three times a night crying about that injury.
Losing Stilson hasn't slowed down the Aggies (45-19) in the postseason because of their deep pitching staff. Texas A&M won four straight games to capture the Big 12 championship. Then they won three of four games in the NCAA regional to advance to play Florida State (45-17) in a best-of-three Super Regional that starts Saturday.
"They've rallied around the fact that they've lost their No. 1 guy," said Florida State coach Mike Martin. "They have really been impressive."
For the series opener, both teams will start pitchers with impressive seasons. Texas A&M right-hander Ross Stripling faces Seminoles left-hander Sean Gilmartin.
Although Stripling wasn't the Aggies' top pitcher in the regular season, he has pitched like one. Stripling, a ninth-round pick by the Colorado Rockies, has a 2.28 ERA and is tied for first in the nation with 13 wins.
Gilmartin, selected in the first round by the Atlanta Braves, is just a win behind Stripling at 12-1 with a 1.83 ERA. He's pitched at least six innings in all 16 of his starts.
"Gilmartin is as good as there is in the country," said Texas A&M's Childress.
Of additional concern to Florida State's pitchers and catcher Rafael Lopez is the Aggies have 104 stolen bases - 15th best in Division I this season.
"That is part of our offense," Childress said. "We're going to have to put pressure on people and try to create a run."
The Seminoles have a balanced lineup that will challenge a Texas A&M team that has the nation's fifth-lowest ERA at 2.64, Childress said. Florida State's lineup features six everyday players who hit at least .300, led by James Ramsey (.364) and Jayce Boyd (.335).
"There's not a guy in that lineup where you can catch your breath," Childress said. "They're very, very tough to get out."
FSU is hosting a Super Regional for the fourth straight season and the Seminoles are trying to earn a College World Series bid for the 21st time in the program's history. Texas A&M is playing in its first Super Regional since 2008 and is aiming for its first CWS berth since 1999.
"That's our goal, to get to Omaha," said Martin, who is in his 32nd season at Florida State and working toward the school's first College World Series title. "We don't hide that fact. It gets tougher every year. There are so many good clubs."