Image Credit: FSU Athletics
This team drives me nuts sometimes. At times, they look like they don’t know what they’re doing – errors, strikeouts, and dumb mistakes. Other times, they look like a CWS contender – strong pitching, getting on base, and barreling up balls. Such is February in Tallahassee. What we do know? These guys have an ability to come back from nearly anything – just ask Cincinnati and USF.
Midweek: 7-3, FSU
Florida State started their week on Tuesday against a USF team on the tail end of 5 straight days playing. That didn’t seem to matter to the Bulls, who tagged Nole starter Jack Anderson for 3 runs in 2+ innings of work. The infield defense left something to be desired, as an infield single and an error gave the Bulls some early life.
FSU would claw back in the 4th, pulling even by getting on base using walks and hit-by-pitches, and timely hitting to bring in runs. Mat Nelson broke the game open in the 6th with a rocket shot homer after striking out in his other at-bats.
Parker Messick was key for the Noles, going 2.2 innings and striking out 5. He was simply unhittable from the left side.
Game 1: 11-4, FSU
Again, FSU spotted an opponent a couple runs early. CJ Van Eyk struggled to find the strike zone consistently and ended up only going 3.2 innings. The ball/strike calls seemed to confuse both teams all night, as batters from both teams gave the umpire some strange looks after called third strikes.
After chasing Bearcat Starter Evan Shawver, the Noles got to work, scoring 10 of their 11 runs off the bullpen. Cincinnati pitchers couldn’t find the strike zone, but Elijah Cabell found a strike and made it count. The sophomore took a looping curve and smashed it to dead center field to blow the game open.
The good hitting from FSU overcame 3 errors, including one from Tyrell Brewer, who was pulled from the game after showing his emotions after a strikeout.
Game 2: 10-5, FSU
Again, the Noles spotted Cincy a couple of runs before getting going. Shane Drohan was better, but not great, in his 4 innings of work. Doug Kirkland continued his struggles, failing to record an out while giving up 2 runs. Chase Haney and Antonio Velez settled down the staff, combining for 4 innings of work and 1 run allowed.
From the plate, the Seminole offense showed up on Saturday as well, boasting homers from both Reese Albert and, again, Elijah Cabell. 3 hits from Tyler Martin, including a triple, and 2 from Nander De Sedas paced the Noles from top to bottom.
Speaking of the Panamanian, he also picked up a couple of errors in this game. More on that in a minute.
Game 3: 10-1, FSU
In this game, the Noles did manage to scrape across an early run before an early solo shot by Griffin Merritt tied the game at 1. Conor Grady went 5 innings, striking out 6. He said that his offspeed stuff was working, especially low. But then the bats came alive.
The real story here is the ability of the Noles to get on base. FSU had tallied 4 runs before ever getting a hit. But that first hit? It was grand. Elijah Cabell, who is on fire at the moment, ripped a long grand slam to blow the game open in the 4th. Cabell is doing a really good job of waiting and being patient – not just in the at-bat itself, but on the pitch. He’s seeing pitches deeper and taking them to the opposite field and to dead center.
The only problem here? 4 errors, including 2 from Nander De Sedas. The sophomore must flush this series and get his mind right ahead of this weekend’s series.
The Noles travel to Jacksonville on Tuesday to take on Jacksonville U. First pitch is scheduled for 6pm Eastern. Jack Anderson will get the ball there. Otherwise, the Noles will play a mini-tournament with FAU and Texas tech at Dick Howser. FAU and Texas Tech will play early Friday. The Noles will play FAU at 6pm Friday as well as 2pm on Saturday. They will then play Texas Tech at 6pm on Saturday, as well as 1pm Sunday.
FAU was 41-21 a year ago, good for 40th in the RPI. They’re currently 7-0 after a weekend sweep of Binghamton. Texas Tech finished last year 46-20, with a deep run in the playoffs. They were 9th in the RPI in 2019. They’re currently 6-1 after a weekend tournament, where they lost to Tennessee, but bounced back with wins over Stanford and Houston.