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Louisville Series Recap: Don’t Stop Believin’

Friday Final: FSU 12 LOU 7

Saturday Final: FSU 1 LOU 7

Sunday Final: FSU 16 LOU 5

Florida State had its most impressive series victory of the season over the weekend, winning two of three against consensus top ten ranked Louisville. After starting the season being predicted to be the fourth or best team in the ACC, the Seminoles are arguably the best team in the conference now (2nd best in terms of winning percentage behind Miami). Florida State is now not only a consensus top 6 team in the country but they are also in line for a national seed in the College World Series. The speculation is endless so instead let’s dive in to analyzing the big series win against Louisville.

Trending Upward

IF Matt Henderson 5-9 2BB 4R 2RBI

Chico turned in an impressive series for the Seminoles. Matt Henderson hit the cover off the ball this series while continuing his patient tendencies, reaching base at a greater than .500 clip. Henderson had the first hit of game 3 of the series which opened the scoring off of Kyle Funkhouser. Henderson can add value to the bottom of the lineup, having the fourth highest OBP on the team, because of his on base skills and good base running ability (4-4 on the season). But now if Henderson can drive in runs he add another crucial piece to this machine-like Florida State offense.

IF John Sansone 6-12 3R 6RBI ACC POW

I’m running out of words to describe the season of the Florida State third baseman. If not for the ridiculous season being had by Clemson freshman outfielder Seth Beer, John Sansone would most likely be the front-runner for ACC Player of the Year. Sansone continued his hot season by hitting an even .500 during the series and coming through with what Sansone called “the at-bat of his career.” Sansone hit a clutch, two run tie-breaking single during game 1 of the series to cap the seven-run comeback by the Seminoles. At this point Sansone is transforming himself into a top round draft pick and the MVP of the Florida State team, going forward he is going to be the most important offensive figure for the lineup.

RHP Cole Sands 4.0IP 3H 1R 1ER 1BB 2SO

The freshman pitcher for the Florida State Seminoles rebounded nicely from his back-to-back sub par outings. Sands only lasted four innings because of the big bottom of the fourth inning that the Seminoles had. The inning lasted almost 45 minutes so Coach Mike Martin let him stay in for one more batter and pulled him after a walk. Sands had excellent command of his fastball that he was able to locate on both sides of the plate consistently and the breaking pitch was missing bats. Sands has established himself over the course of the season as having some of the best stuff on this rotation and his position in the rotation is not in jeopardy. Going forward Sands is going to take the ball every Sunday and very few times is he going to be the less talented pitcher on the field.

Trending Downward

Bullpen 

The Cinderella dream for the Florida State bullpen finally came crashing down. The bullpen was ineffective and leaving very hittable pitches up in the zone almost all series. Both Voyles brother allowed two earned runs each, Alec Byrd and Tyler Holton gave up two earned each as well, and Matthew Kinney allowed four earned runs in less than two innings of work. The bullpen has been the strong suit of the pitching staff all season except for this series. The starting pitching didn’t pick up the slack this weekend and the entire pitching staff had to be bailed out by the offense. It would be nice to see the starting pitching pitch around 15-18 innings in a series just to give the bullpen a rest one weekend. There’s nothing wrong with regular usage of a bullpen but when it comes to the point of having to use the bullpen it becomes a problem. Going forward the starting pitching will have to be able to go deep into games in order for the bullpen to still be effective late in the season.

DH Quincy Nieporte 2-7

The designated hitter for Florida State has continued his rough start to the season. Quincy Nieporte has his batting average down to .268 on the season and his slugging percentage is down to .341 on the season, numbers shockingly low for a designated hitter and a cleanup hitter. Thomas Liscio of 24/7 Sports notes that Nieporte has the fourth lowest isolated power on the team only behind Steven Wells Jr., Nick Graganella, and Matt Henderson. Nieporte is going to start to lose playing time, like he did on Sunday, if he cannot hit like he did last season. Nieporte only has one home run on the season and the majority of his base hits are only singles. Going forward if Nieporte cannot turn it around then you will see more lineups like there were on Sunday with Donovan Petrey and Jackson Lueck getting more playing time with Nieporte getting less and less.

Hitting Against LHP

Florida State’s offensive woes against left-handed pitching continue as they were hapless against Louisville starter Drew Harrington on Saturday night. The offensive had some success on Friday, mainly with Cal Raleigh’s bomb off of starter Brendan McKay, however on the whole they struggled. The Seminoles have not seen many left-handed starters this season but with the exception of the Rhode Island series, a far inferior opponent, they have struggled. Now McKay and Harrington are both immensely talented but Florida State needs to improve their right-handed hitting. Raleigh and Taylor Walls are both switch hitters, and obviously Sansone, but with Jackson Lueck and Donovan Petrey seeing more playing time the right-handed offense should improve into the late stages of the season.

Florida State hosts Florida on Tuesday for the final game of the series at 6PM at Mike Martin Field at Dick Howser Stadium.

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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