Dec. 7, 2012
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Florida State associate head coach Mike Bell was featured as the top assistant coach of 2012 as announced by Perfect Game USA on Thursday, December 6.
Bell returned to his alma mater last year and played a major role in helping the Seminoles return to the College World Series and post their best finish in Omaha since 2000. The Florida State pitching staff posted an ERA of 3.47 - its lowest mark since 2003 - as the Seminoles had 11 pitchers register at least 25.0 innings of work.
From opening day, Bell turned to his young arms to lead the way as Brandon Leibrandt and Mike Compton pitched as part of the weekend rotation all season long. In fact, Leibrandt made school history when he took the mound against Hofstra to start the 2012 season becoming the first freshman pitcher to earn a start on opening day. The Seminole duo combined for 20 wins in 37 starts en route to being named Freshmen All-Americans.
Several veteran pitchers on the Seminole pitching staff posted career years under Bell. Junior Robert Benincasa became one of the dominant closers in 2012 with 16 saves in 32 appearances and a 1.32 ERA as he was named a finalist for the Stopper of the Year award. Senior Hunter Scantling went 5-1 with a career-low 3.81 ERA in 31 appearances, while Scott Sitz went 4-3 with a career-low 3.72 ERA in 17 appearances. Sitz posted career-highs for innings pitched (65.1), starts (13) and strikeouts (50). Peter Miller was an integral part of the success of the weekend rotation posting five wins and a 3.89 ERA in 14 appearances. The emergence of Gage Smith from the bullpen in 2012 also helped solidify the Seminole pitching staff.
In addition to coaching Oklahoma to the 2010 College World Series and Tennessee in 2005, Bell helped guide Florida State to back-to-back CWS appearances in his two seasons as a player in Tallahassee in 1994 and 1995.
Bell returns 10 pitchers in 2013 including everyone from last year's weekend rotation. The Seminoles will open the 2013 campaign at home against the University of Rhode Island on Friday, February 15.