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St. John’s Series Recap: Walk This Way

Friday Final: FSU 16 SJU 4

Saturday Final: FSU 9 SJU 2

Sunday Final: FSU 1 SJU 5

After playing their first midweek games of the season Florida State took two of three against a talented St. John’s squad. The Friday and Saturday games were led by the Florida State offense and Sunday the story was Florida State’s inability to capitalize on offense. As with any series there were positives and negatives to take away so let’s dive in.

Trending Upward:

Plate Discipline

The Seminoles were absolutely focused on working the count this entire series. FSU out-walked St. John’s in every game of the series, 10-3, 9-2, and 6-5 respectively. The offensive contributors were extremely patient the first two games of the series and it showed with absurd walk numbers. The final game on Sunday was a bit of a different story as the Seminoles did not work a walk until Ben DeLuzio walked in the fourth inning. On the year thus far, FSU has 77 walks in 11 games this year, good for an average of seven walks per game, which is a very high number. Going forward it will be crucial for Florida State to be patient at the plate, not chase pitches outside of the strike zone, and to be able to work free passes.

 

Drew Carlton 7IP 6H 2R 1ER 2BB 3K

The starting pitching for the first two games of this series were absolutely key, as Florida State starters had only pitched six innings during the week. This explains why on Friday night the three relievers used made their season debuts that night. Carlton threw seven innings allowing only six hits and one earned run. By getting through seven innings on 99 pitches, Carlton had the best start of the season thus far. The bullpen could be a strength going forward for the Seminoles this season but the bullpen needs to be fresh for that to happen. Through Carlton’s seven inning effort, the Seminoles only had to burn one other reliever, Matthew Kinney, and that will be key for them going forward. If Carlton and the other starters can provide quality innings for this pitching staff, Coach Martin can have more freedom to use his ace reliever in tight spots and to have to rely on them less to pitch out of tough jams.

Mike Compton 6IP 4H 2R 2ER 1BB 5K

Florida State’s ace had the most dominant pitching performance of the series on Friday night against the Red Storm. Compton had a no-hitter going through four innings pitched and had only allowed one hit through five innings pitched. The ten run fifth inning of offense for Florida State lasted around 45 minutes and it’s fair to assume a half inning like that would leave any pitcher cold. Compton went back out for the sixth and unfortunately allowed two runs in the frame. Compton credited his performance to being able to locate his fastball on both sides of the plate and mixing in the occasional slider and changeup. Going forward Compton is and has been Florida State’s ace. He will be the one who sets the tone for the team as they begin ACC play next weekend.

Trending Downward:

Matt Henderson 1-5

Second baseman Matt Henderson seems to have carved out a niche for himself with this Florida State offense, and it’s not necessarily a glamorous one. Henderson seems entrenched in the 9-hole for this offense and has become the go-to man for sacrifice bunts having three (!!!) in the same game on Saturday night. Offensively, although his batting average is pretty poor (only batting .219 thus far), he is getting on base at a .468 clip. So although he is not necessarily hitting well, he is still working counts and having good at-bats. Henderson did struggle this weekend defensively, however. Out of the four Florida State errors on defense three of them came from Henderson. He seems hesitant at second base thus far as a lot of hard hit grounders seem to just squeeze through his legs. Henderson clearly has the confidence and support of Coach Martin so his job doesn’t seem to be in jeopardy, and he gets on base at a high clip so it does frustrate to see him not get the opportunity to hit at the plate. Hopefully he bounces back after a tough weekend and bounces back defensively moving forward.

Cole Sands 1.2IP 4H 3R 2ER 1BB 0K

The most important note that I can stress with Sands going forward is that this was just one bad outing. Sands had the shortest outing of the season not even making it out of the second inning. From the get-go it was clear that Sands did not have his best stuff on Sunday and he was clearly struggling with the command of his fastball. He couldn’t locate his fastball, even though the velocity was fine at around 92-93MPH, allowing him to consistently fall behind batters and serve up very hittable pitches in hitter’s counts. Coach Martin has a lot of confidence in Sands and will continue to moving forward but it will be interesting to see how the freshman responds from his first bad outing of his college career. As I mentioned earlier, it was just one bad outing, and it was probably to be expected from the true freshman, but Sands has the stuff to be dominant. I fully expect him to bounce back from this outing and to shine in his next pitching performance.

Hitting with RISP

The hitting with runners in scoring position is more pertaining to Florida State’s offensive debacle on Sunday. The Seminoles did not have a single hit with runners in scoring position all day on Sunday. The only run they scored on the day was after Quincy Nieporte, who had his first extra base hit of the season with a double in the fifth inning,  moved to third on a ground ball and eventually scored after forcing a balk. FSU had runners on base all day but struggled to get that key hit to drive the runners in. It is obviously one game, and seeing as how FSU has performed offensively this season I am not *too* concerned, but it is still troubling that they couldn’t manage a seeing-eye single with a runner in scoring position.

Overall Florida State performed well against a quality St. John’s team this weekend. This week they play at USF and at home for Toledo and then they open up ACC play this weekend hosting Georgia Tech. FSU has shown they have the skill to compete for a trip to Omaha this season but we will see where the leaders of this team take them forward.

Vinnie Cervino
Lead Baseball Writer, Perpetually Pessimistic Sport Fan, Proprietor of My Own Delusions and Fallacies, 80 Grade Takes. Twitter @cervino_vinnie.

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