Image Credit: FSU Athletics
I’d mentioned it once or twice the week before – errors are a problem for this Florida State baseball team. So much so, that Nander De Sedas was moved to 2nd in an attempt to help patch up the problem. (Spoiler alert: It didn’t work.) The Noles, who went 2-2 on the week, have won despite the defensive miscues so far. But they found out the hard way that when the competition level rises, the errors and miscues cost a whole lot more. Let’s take a look at the week that was.
Tuesday, 2/25 @ Jacksonville
This game was rained out. The makeup date is May 12th, as part of a (now) nightmare 5-day stretch of Illinois State, @ Florida, @ Jacksonville, and a weekend series against Georgia Tech. Woof.
Friday, 2/28 vs. FAU
The Noles scraped across a run in the 3rd inning (after being behind again, surprise), and then got to work against the FAU bullpen. The Owls’ staff wasn’t very efficient, allowing 8 walks and 5 hit batsmen. The game was blown open by 3 walks and a hit batsmen, followed by a timely single. Some may say that the lack of hitting is a problem. As long as you’re getting on base and getting good at-bats, that’s just as well.
Nole hurlers threw a 1-hitter. That should tell you about what you need to know. CJ Van Eyk was effectively wild, allowing 1 hit and 5 walks, alongside 8 strikeouts in 6 full innings. FAU’s lone run was walked in after hit batsmen and walks had loaded the bases.
But it wouldn’t be Nole Baseball if we didn’t talk defense. An error by Carter Smith in the 7th didn’t amount to anything, but it’s fair to mention. If we’re going to be ragging on De Sedas and others later, we need to at least mention Carter here.
Saturday, 2/29 vs. FAU
Once again, the Noles worked from behind – this time, FAU starter Dante Visconti was staked to a 3-0 lead. But the Seminole bats came alive, chasing Visconti and the reliever behind him, Waterbor. The Noles would post a 6-run inning in the 4th – a lead that they’d never relinquish. Extra base hits were the order of the day, as Tyler Martin (double, triple), Cooper Swanson (homer), and Robby Martin, Carter Smith, and Doug Kirkland (1 double apiece) gave the outfield walls all they wanted.
On the mound, it wasn’t quite as easy for the Noles. With a nightcap against Texas Tech looming, FSU was aiming for a solid outing from Bryce Hubbart. It was not to be, as the freshman couldn’t find the plate and only lasted 1.1 innings. Jack Anderson came in and righted the ship, allowing a single unearned run over 4.2 innings.
Jackson Greene, working at short for the second time this year, was not good. 3 errors from the shortstop gave way to 2 unearned runs for the Owls, and would’ve been more if it hadn’t been for a timely double play and good pitching.
Saturday, 2/29 vs. Texas Tech
You want to play teams like Texas Tech – a program who consistently makes it out to Omaha. It’s a measuring stick game. While the Noles dropped both games to Texas Tech, they weren’t blowouts, but games that had all the makings of a heavyweight postseason matchup. Kudos to Coach Martin on making this tournament work this weekend – even though it didn’t work in FSU’s favor, the fans got to see some good baseball being played.
Errors. Errors and stupidity defensively sunk us. I know I save this for last, but it headlined here. 2 of the Red Raiders’ 6 runs were earned. Above the 4 errors (Mat Nelson, Jackson Greene, and 2 on Carter Smith), there were times where the Noles looked lost on plays that would normally be executed well by high school teams. There were no errors noted, (as they were usually in foul ground) but they required more pitches and gave outs back to a team who doesn’t need second chances.
If you can block out the defense for a moment, the rest of the team played really well. Drohan pitched 4.2 with 9 strikeouts, allowing 1 earned run. Tyler Martin was 3-6 and always seemed to be on base. Robby Martin was 4-6 and was nearly literally always on base. Clean up the errors and we’ve got something, folks.
Sunday, 3/1 vs. Texas Tech
Sometimes, a new day doesn’t bring new results. It was only one error (Carter Smith again, this time from first, not third), but it still raises concerns. Conor Grady had a hard time finding the zone in 3 innings, allowing 2 runs, 3 walks, and 2 wild pitches. The bullpen, for the most part, was flawless.
The lone exception? Davis Hare. Hare has not impressed thus far, amassing a 7.20 ERA in 5 innings. If he can limit the hits (2 doubles and 2 homers in 6 total hits), he has been able to strike out batters to the tune of a 16.2 K/9 rate and a 9/1 BB/K ratio.
Florida State batters had no issue getting on base, but couldn’t find timely hitting. 3 walks each from Robby Martin and Nander De Sedas led the team, and hit batsmen Mat Nelson (2) and ball magnet Elijah Cabell provided the Noles with plenty of baserunners. For all that, Reese Albert left 4 on base by himself and couldn’t manage to open up a lead on the Red Raiders
IF Meat can solve these defensive woes, especially on the left side of the infield, the Noles will be alright. I’m still not sold on the starting pitching – I need to see consistency from the rotation. While the bullpen has held up so far, there’s a lot of freshmen in key spots. Starters need to go deeper into games and give our bullpen a rest.
This week is going to be another interesting one. We (hopefully) will play our first true road game against Mercer in Macon, GA, before traveling to Durham, NC to open up ACC play with Duke. Mercer is 11-0, but hasn’t played anyone with a pulse. Duke is 9-2, with losses to Iowa and Army. Follow @FQ_Duke on Twitter, as he’ll be covering the games live from Durham.