Image Credit: FSU Athletics
Well, it wasn’t always pretty, but the Noles, under new manager Mike Martin, Jr., got a series win over the Niagara Purple Eagles. Even though both the bats and the arms had their struggles, it’s a series win. For Meat, that’s something you can use to grow from. Let’s take a look at each game and some overarching notes from the series at large.
Game 1: 3-1, Niagara
This game was a pitching duel from first pitch. Both FSU’s CJ Van Eyk and Niagara’s Tommy Bednarski pitched well for their Opening Day outings. Bednarski’s strange delivery had the Noles out in front, as they rolled over for groundouts 6 times. Bednarski also added 4 strikeouts. Seminole hitters managed 3 hits on the game, none of which left the infield. Only 3 flyouts were recorded, for a grand total of 3 balls that made the outfield grass. Meat said after the game that his team was too aggressive at the plate, likely due to nerves and Opening Day jitters.
CJ Van Eyk was dominant. The junior struck out 8 in 5 innings of work and didn’t allow a walk until his last inning. The slider, which he added this offseason, was keeping hitters off-balance and away from his 95 mph fastball and straight change. He reported that he threw it about 25% on Friday night. The one negative about the Seminoles in the field was the fielding. A dropped fly out by Reese Albert made early trouble for Van Eyk. Even though he worked around it, errors would be a theme of the weekend.
Game 2: 25-4, FSU
This game was not a pitcher’s duel. FSU’s bats woke up and came to play. Meat said afterwards that he was much happier with the bats, remarking that they were “hitting backwards” (going the other way) and staying back on balls. Elijah Cabell, who had 4 strikeouts on Friday, redeemed himself with 4 RBI on Saturday. He almost looked relieved in the postgame interview. Freshman Tyrell Brewer also had a good game, walking three times and managing to always be on the basepaths.
On the bump, Shane Drohan wasn’t happy with his performance. He said that he reverted back to the 2019 version of himself, noting that he was “thinking too much.” He walked 3 in 3.2 innings, and was pitching himself into too many deep counts. Parker Messick was a bright spot for the Seminole bullpen. The true freshman was crisp with his location and overpowered hitters with his fastball.
Game 3: 11-1, FSU
In a game drenched by rain, the bats were still on fire early. The boys in gold scored 10 runs in 3 innings and cruised to a victory. Robby Martin, who had been quiet all weekend, went 2-4 with a double. Transfer Jackson Greene, who had been a consistently tough at-bat, also went 2-4. The problems came after the 3rd inning, in which the good guys only scored 1 additional run. The Seminoles struck out 6 times and grounded out another 6 over the final 5 innings of the game.
Conor Grady was just downright good, though, and made sure the Purple Eagles had no chance. The junior struck out 7 and walked none in 5 innings of work. Relievers Bryce Hubbart and Tyler Ahearn all came back from forgettable outings on Friday and closed out the Eagles. The two combined for 3 strikeouts, no walks, and no hits in 2 innings of work. Davis Hare also made a repeat appearance, but didn’t bounce back quite as nicely. The junior allowed the lone Purple Eagle run and wasn’t sharp, allowing a walk to go with 2 hits and a wild pitch in his inning of work.
From the Press Box
- The Seminole batters showed a distinct ability to get ahead of themselves and either strike out or roll over the ball. We’ll see if they’re able to correct this going forward.
- In a similar vein, Reese Albert has to improve for this team to do well. The junior was 1-7 on the weekend with 4 strikeouts.
- The Seminole teams of the last few years have been characterized by poor fielding. This team is starting out no different. It does seem, however, that we’re not looking at throwing errors, but an inability to catch the baseball. This may be jitters, or it may be a trend. Only time will tell.
- Which Elijah Cabell are we going to get this year? The one who smashes the NCAA strikeout record, or the one who ropes doubles? Both, maybe?
Tuesday’s game is against South Florida, who went 2-1 against Marist on the weekend. They have a game today with FAMU before playing us, so we’ll see who they throw on the mound. USF has had serious issues keeping arms healthy over the past year, so their pitching is dangerously thin. Two of their games this weekend went to extras, so plan to see a tired pitching staff from the Bulls.
Next weekend, we face off against Cincinnati, who went 0-3 against Georgia State, Georgia Tech, and Kennesaw State. Cincinnati had no issues scoring on all three teams, but bad defense and substandard pitching, especially from the bullpen, led to the other teams just scoring more runs.
Of course, since I’ve now talked about it, they’ll throw marvelously against us with spotless defense.