Noles Run Over Wildcats in Series Sweep

Florida State had few problems against Villanova, winning by a combined score of 32-6. The Wildcats struck out 43 times in the three game stretch.

Overall, this series somehow managed to tell us a lot and nothing at all within a three game stretch. The team dominated almost every facet of the game during the Friday and Saturday showdowns while Sunday was a pitchers duel all the way to the end. This team was impressive, but they played against a Big East team no one really expects much from. Even with the wins, it still didn’t fully prove anything. Florida State (10-0) is a good team and they showed flashes of how strong they can be or how resilient they are. At the same time, they were expected to sweep the Wildcats (1-6) and did.

What to Take Away from the Series:

This is starting to sound redundant considering what I wrote last week for the South Florida series recap, but this Seminole baseball team is playing nearly perfect baseball right now. It’s against inferior teams, but they have dramatically improved on their errors from opening weekend. They have hot bats swinging for almost every player making it to the plate. They have been performing well with the loss of one of their top pitchers, Mike Compton, newcomer DJ Stewart, who is hitting .320 on the year and out for precautionary reasons concerning his wrist, and their senior shortstop Justin Gonzalez who is out with a groin/hip injury, once again just precautionary so he doesn’t sit longer than he normally would need to. The numbers are miscued because of their competition, but this looks like a team that will be competing in Omaha later this year.

Importance of the Series:

Just like the first couple of weeks of the season, there is not too much importance to this series. As long as you don’t lose to a bad team, you’re in good shape.

The main importance of this series is that Florida State showed, even against an inferior team, that they are much better than originally thought coming into the season. The pitching staff tossed up ridiculous numbers. The entire series saw pitchers rack up 43 strikeouts.

Batting wise, the team hit a combined .343 on the series with most of the hits coming in the first game.

Here is how each individual game broke down

Game 1

FSU 23 Villanova 5

Florida State had hot bats throughout the game. In what took three and a half hours to complete, this game was over by the fourth inning. The Seminoles put up seven runs in the 3rd and never looked back, leading 9-3. They would continue to swing well, getting runs across in the next five innings. When all was said and done, the Wildcats left bruised and beaten badly, being outhit 22-7 and falling to FSU 23-5. Villanova committed six errors, including two by the same player on the same play. The most shocking part of the game is that there were only two home runs, both hit by Villanova players. FSU was able to hit well; they were patient walking 11 times, and they had even more opportunities to get more across by leaving 16 on base.

Brandon Leibrandt didn’t have his best outing of his career, but he was still solid enough to limit some damage. Leibrandt gave up five runs, only two were earned, and he struck out eight batters. Robby Coles was magnificent in relief, whiffing all five he faced. Luke Weaver was able to get an inning in, but it was mainly to keep him loose heading into his midweek start on Tuesday.

MVP of the Game:

Most of the Starting Lineup – There really wasn’t one single person that can get this award after the night the Seminoles had. As a team, they hit .468 (22-47) with 21 RBI. If you look solely at the starting lineup, they hit an even .500 (18-36) with 12 RBI. That starting lineup did not include John Nogowski who had 4 RBI after going 3-4 at the plate. That starting lineup did not include Brett Knief who drove in three runs himself. Put simply, this team couldn’t be stopped when they were at bat.

Things to Work On:

Brandon Leibrandt needs to work on cutting down on the numbers of home runs he has given up this year. He currently sits at four homers through his three starts in 16.1 innings. All of last year, Leibrandt only gave up four long shots in 99 innings of work. Last year’s numbers are ridiculous to conceive and it will not be duplicated this year. At the same time, there is a positive side to his pitching this year. In his three starts Leibrandt has only given up four walks and struck out 17.

Quote of the Game:

Seth Miller on the offensive production: "Everyone is in the game; everybody’s confidence is through the roof. There were balls that were falling that shouldn’t be falling and it’s just great. But this one’s behind us and we’re looking forward to tomorrow."

Martin G1 (via Ryan Syrkus)


Game 2

FSU 7 Villanova 0

Like the last game, there is not a lot to say about this team other than a simple drop of the jaw and, "wow, did that really just happen?"

Scott Sitz is on a roll to start the season, throwing six more shutout innings. Since the game against UCLA last year in Omaha, Sitz has now gone 19.2 innings of scoreless baseball. So far this season, Sitz has whiffed 19 batters in 18 innings. This game alone, Sitz had a career high nine strikeouts, with eight of them coming before the 5th inning.

Once again, the bullpen looked sharp as Bryant Holtmann and Gage Smith came in to shut down the Wildcats. Holtmann and Smith combined for three innings of one-hit ball, only giving up one walk while striking out five.

On the offensive side of things, everything goes back to someone we’ve all talked about, Marcus Davis. Once again, Davis comes up big, this time going 3-4 with 2 RBI and scoring 3 runs. Davis is now hitting .500 (15-30) on the year with 14 RBI. That’s .119 points higher than the next best on the team, John Nogowski (.381 going 8-21).

The biggest factors about this game are that the team did not commit any errors and they scored runs in almost every way possible.

MVP of the Game:

Scott Sitz – As described last week in the piece about Sitz and his consistency, it appears that he has turned a corner since the stretch of last year’s College World Series run. The righty went six innings of scoreless ball, only gave up three hits, all singles, and struck out nine while only walking one. Sitz threw 65 percent of his pitches for a strike (62/95). There is not much more you can ask of a starter.

Things to Work On:

Florida State played nearly flawless baseball this game. It would be nice to drive in more runs since they left nine on base, but in almost every game of baseball I’ve ever seen, putting seven up on your opponent will be enough to win the game. Great job for the Seminoles this game.

Quote of the Game:

Mike Martin on early season injuries: "We’ve got a couple of guys who are banged up, unfortunately. I’m just very pleased that others are getting it done. I’m not the least bit concerned about DJ [Stewart] getting back. We just want to be sure that he’s not going to put himself in a situation of being out for a month because we brought him back too quick."

Martin G2 (via Ryan Syrkus)


Game 3

FSU 2 Villanova 1

Judging from the first two games, everyone thought this last one would be a breeze and the Seminoles would complete the sweep with ease. This was far from the case on Sunday.

Backed by another solid outing from Peter Miller, FSU had the chance to run all over the Wildcats for a third consecutive game. However, Villanova brought out a solid pitching performance from their starter Josh Harris. Miller would go on to toss 103 pitches through 5.1 innings and striking out eight. Although Miller pitched well enough to let the team have a chance to win, he also pitched himself into trouble on numerous occasions. Of the 26 batters face, Miller issued four walks, gave up three hits, and hit two.

Miller struggled early, mainly the first inning, when he gave up two of his four walks. It didn’t help that Jose Brizuela had an error to extend the inning, but Miller was able to pitch out of it leaving the bases loaded with no damage done.

The other two pitchers for Florida State, Robby Coles and Jameis Winston, also got the job done, but not before making things exciting.

Coles was once again superb coming out of the bullpen, striking out five of the 10 batters faced, including the first three he faced. Coles threw 60 percent (29/48) of his pitches for a strike.

On the other hand, Winston came in for the save and almost immediately got the bases loaded with two walks and a hit-by-pitch. After a mound visit from Mike Martin and with two Noles warming up in the pen, Martin left Winston in. With one out in the 9th, Winston gave up a sac fly to center, making it 2-1. With two runners on, Winston was able to seal the victory for FSU, striking out Max Beermann on a 3-2 pitch. This was Winston’s second career save.

The Seminole bats were held very quiet throughout the game. Villanova starter Harris gave up six hits through seven innings pitched while not walking any. The Seminoles only left three stranded on base the entire day compared to the Wildcats’ 14.

MVP of the Game:

Peter Miller – Just like his last start, Miller is much improved from how he played last year and during his first start of the season. Although he got in some trouble and had a high pitch count, Miller still got the outs when needed. Striking out eight is no joke and Miller once again made a case for staying in the weekend rotation.

Things to Work On:

The pitchers, mainly Jameis Winston, got themselves in trouble more often than anyone would like. I applaud them on getting out of it, but as a closer, Winston needs to shut the door. He’s no Robert Benincasa, but Florida State needs a solid closer they can count on to close out games.

Quote of the Game:

Pitching coach Mike Bell on how the pitching staff did throughout the weekend: "Overall as a staff I think that each guy did their own part. Leibrandt, he gets the choir of the Friday night game feeling out guys here and there. Sitz, continues to do what he’s doing, throwing three pitches for strikes. And Pete’s a continue in progress. I think he showed the ability to do some things, but he also threw some pitches that he wished he could take back."

Martin G3 (via Ryan Syrkus)


Looking Forward:

FSU will have two quick games against Presbyterian on Tuesday and Wednesday before opening ACC play against Boston College on Friday. Luke Weaver is set to start on Tuesday while the Wednesday starter has yet to be named.

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