FSU Baseball jumps back into Top 25 after strong weekend

FSU baseball (28-15) has definitely seen its ups and down’s this season, but they may be peaking at just the right time. The Noles have won 10 of their last 13 games while averaging 8.5 runs per game. The recent surge has propelled the team back into the top 25 for the first time in 4 weeks. FSU now sits at #23 in the D1Baseball.com rankings, while also sitting at #25 in the Collegiate Baseball rankings and USA Today Coaches’ Poll. Baseball America left the Noles out of their rankings, while NCBWA rankings are yet to drop. The Noles received votes in the NCBWA rankings last week, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see them make a jump into the top 25 there as well.

More importantly, FSU has extremely boosted their RPI rank over the last few weeks, up to #58 in the country. RPI is extremely important to postseason play and where they will end up seeded if they do make the tournament. FSU has a bit of an easy schedule coming up, with just one game above the Quadrant 4 level (Jacksonville, Quadrant 2), as they take on Stetson for one-midweek game and Pittsburgh and Richmond for weekend series. FSU will have a great opportunity at the end of the season to boost their RPI, as they travel to Louisville for a 3-game set. Louisville currently sits at #7 in the RPI rankings. FSU will also be able to boost their RPI with a deep run in the ACC tournament. As of now, FSU would be the 6-seed and take on Georgia Tech and Notre Dame in their pool play.

There’s been a lot of reasons for FSU’s turnaround, but #1 has to be the starting pitching of Drew Parrish and CJ Van Eyk. Parrish and Van Eyk both struggled for the majority of ACC play, before turning the corner against Clemson 3 weekend’s ago. In Parrish’s last 3 starts, he’s thrown 21 innings and given up 0 earned runs. Van Eyk has tossed 19 innings with an ERA of just 2.84. When these two guys are on, you won’t find a better 1-2 punch in college baseball. Parrish was a preseason All-American and Van Eyk has the pure stuff to go top 10 in next year’s MLB draft. While the top 2 starting spots have surged up, some holes have started to show for the Noles’ pitching staff.

Shane Drohan had struggled of late in the Sunday starter’s spot, leading to Conor Grady getting his first-weekend start of his career, but he allowed 4 runs in just 3 innings of work. I would like to see 11 and company go back to Drohan on Sunday because he pitches much better as a starter than a reliever. Also, FSU needs the right arm of Conor Grady in the pen with all their other righties really struggling of late. JC Flowers has been superb in the closer role this year, but FSU can’t seem to bridge the gap to him. Of late, nearly every arm in the pen has struggled and Clyde Keller can’t seem to find the answer to this equation. The bullpen ERA, minus JC, in the last 13 has been a 6.57. At this point, FSU has to give chances to freshmen like Cade Hungate and Jack Anderson, who have combined for 1 appearance in the last 13 games, chances or else the guys who have pitched poorly lately just have to be better.

FSU’s hitting has been absolutely ridiculous in this stretch, averaging 8.5 runs per game. A lot of that has to do with players that struggled for most of the year getting hot, like Mat Nelson, Nico Baldor, and Cooper Swanson. But the number one key to this offense finally tapping into its potential has been the return of Reese Albert. The OF missed 17 games this year due to injury but returned back to the Noles lineup 8 games ago. In those 8 games, Albert has hit .387 with an OBP of .474. The sophomore has also tripled and homered twice each, while also scoring 1.25 runs per game. There aren’t many guys in the country that put together a quality AB like Albert, who has had a strikeout to walk ratio of 1:1 in those 8 games. But just as the pitching staff has found, there is still a hole for these FSU position players. FSU’s defense has still been absolutely horrid. FSU had an error in 12/13 games in this stretch, and in most cases, it has been 3+ errors, even 5 one game, that FSU won 5-3.

FSU baseball is playing well right now and is getting hot at the right time, but they still aren’t playing near their best. If FSU cleans up the defense and can find a way to bridge the gap to JC Flowers in the pen, I don’t know who will get in their way. But for now, FSU’s dominant run is getting some attention in the rankings.

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