Series Recap: Let It Snow

Friday Final: FSU 17 PITT 4

Saturday Final: FSU 10 PITT 2

Sunday Final: FSU 2 PITT 5

Florida State returns home from frigid Pennsylvania having taken two of three against their ACC opponent the Pittsburgh Panthers. As has been the story for the majority of the season, the Seminoles won big in their two victories over the weekend, outscoring the Panthers by 21 runs over the two games, and struggled to score in their loss as they could only muster one hit off starter TJ Zeuch. Overall, Florida State secured their second consecutive ACC series win and improved to 5-1 in the ACC on the season.

Trending Upward

Taylor Walls 8-10 7R 1RBI .875OBP

The shortstop for the Seminoles was the story of the weekend. Taylor Walls crushed Pittsburgh pitching all weekend as he led the offensive charge from the lead off spot. Walls only failed to reach base two times in 16 plate appearances all series. He added a double this weekend to extend his total on the year to a team high 10 and he is also second on the team in walks (17) as he added six more base on balls this weekend. Walls is up to an OPS of 1.061 on the season which is absurd from the lead off spot in the lineup, and has plus gap power from his position. He should continue to be one of the top hitters in the lineup and if he can keep his slugging percentage high (.556 on the season) he can really increase 1st inning runs and the ability to drive in runs from the lead off spot.

Late-Inning Relief Pitching

This section could have just as easily been titled “The Voyles Brothers” as they combined for seven innings of shutout ball and they each were credited with a save. Ed Voyles went 3.0IP 1H 0R 1BB 4K on Friday night and Jim Voyles went 4.0IP 2H 0R 0BB 6K on Saturday night. Jim and Ed have been two of the best relievers to work out of the Florida State bullpen this season, specifically Jim as he has only allowed six hits in 14 innings of work this season (.125 batting average against). They’re also using the strikeout effectively as Jim has a K/9 of 13.5 and Ed has a K/9 of 12.2. Tyler Warmoth and Matthew Kinney also added a scoreless inning each this weekend as they continue to be the go-to options in the late innings for Coach Mike Martin. Chase Haney was the only reliever to surrender and runs this weekend, as he allowed two earned runs in 2.2 innings of work on Sunday. Alec Byrd and Will Zirzow each saw some action as well but in appearances of only a batter or two. Going forward this series was good to see that Florida State can still stay in games even if their starting pitchers do not go deep into games. The bullpen is an asset for the Seminoles but they just have to be sure to not overtax it as a whole and be careful of which reliever is burned on which day of the series going forward.

Infield Defense

The infield performed very well defensively for Florida State this weekend. After a season full of inconsistency out of the infield defense, thanks to some major adjustments positionally during the preseason, the defense played solid all series long and hopefully they can keep the momentum going into the next series. John Sansone did commit two errors over the weekend but those two were the only errors committed by the infield. Sansone has struggled this season in terms of errors (7) but he has not been the only one to struggle as Matt Henderson and Walls have both struggled with errors at times this season. The infield defense will be a season long challenge for this team but as long as everyone is getting better and not worse than that will be encouraging for Florida State.

Photo Mar 21, 7 06 37 PM

Trending Downward

Gage West 1-10 1R 1RBI 5K

After starting out the season scorching hot from the plate, Gage West cooled off a bit this past weekend. It is a bit concerning that he did only reach base the with the single hit, he did not reach on any walks. I feel comfortable chalking this up to just an off weekend for West. I do think it will be pretty impossible to replicate what he had been doing to start the season but this is just an example of regression to the mean in this case. I still believe that West will be the everyday starter in left field, let’s be fair here he’s still batting .339 on the season, and will continue to mash against right handed pitching but look for West to bounce back during the week against non-ACC Central Florida.

Dylan Busby 1-10 1R 2RBI 3K

The Seminoles first baseman had almost identical numbers to West over the weekend, only reaching base one time the whole series. Similarly to West, Busby is still batting .329 on the season so this is most likely just a blip on the offensive radar this season. Busby has shown plus gap power and the ability to stretch singles into doubles and doubles into triples. His speed and base running ability is also evident as he added a couple more stolen bases to bring his season total up to six on the season. Busby will most likely bounce back and continue to be an offensive force for the Florida State offense.

Offense Against Premier Pitching

Seemingly the theme of the season for Florida State is that they cannot muster hits and runs against top pitchers for opposing programs. This was evident again this weekend as TJ Zeuch shut down the Seminoles. Zeuch is regarded as one of the top pitching prospects for the MLB Draft in June. Zeuch was coming off of injury and made his season debut on Sunday and limited the Seminoles to only two hits in six innings of work. Other instances of elite pitchers making simple work of the offense include Jacksonville’s Michael Baumann and Florida’s Dane Dunning, although every pitcher for the Gators is seemingly going to be a first round draft pick in June. Going forward the ACC is loaded with starting pitching talent, looking at you Louisville, and the Seminoles are going to have to find an approach to be able to handle these pitchers. It is always good for the Seminoles to see as much talent as possible, but they’re going to have to focus on the scouting reports and make adjustments to deal with elite pitchers.

Florida State has improved to 15-5 overall and 5-1 in ACC play. The Seminoles host Central Florida on Tuesday at 6PM and Wednesday at 4PM. Florida State then hosts North Carolina State this upcoming weekend.

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