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Seminoles Take Series from Canes with Back to Back Walkoffs

The now #4 ranked Florida State Seminoles won in dramatic fashion Saturday and Sunday afternoon against rival Miami Hurricanes.  Stuart Tapley and Mike McGee came through with timely hits in the bottom of the 9th of both games off a solid Miami bullpen.  Winning a series against one of your most hated rivals is always a great feeling but much like football we must look at the process and not just the results.  Inside we will recap each game and see what lies ahead for the ‘Noles.

Game 1 saw Sean Gilmartin pitch 6 innings allowing 6 earned runs against the solid Hurricane lineup.  Gilmartin's continued struggles against good hitting ball clubs should be a big red flag and will be something that could very well haunt them when postseason play starts.  Another factor to FSU's potential postseason problems can be directly attributed to Martin's inappropriate use of sacrifice bunting.  In the bottom of the 4th of Friday's game with a runner on second and NOBODY out #11 saw the need to bunt the runner over to third.  This play defies all logic as statistics prove your chance to score the most amount of runs decreases.  According to Run Expectancy numbers the average amount of runs scored goes from 1.39 to 1.08, for further insight to this problem that plagues FSU refer back to this article.  The 6 runs allowed to the Canes was all that was needed as both bullpens pitched well. Miami 6-5

Game 2 feature another poor start from a Seminole pitcher.  Prior to his new role Busch had been great for the Noles but in his 2nd start of the season he was plagued by walks and extra base hits as he allowed 4 earned in just 4 innings.  The once solid Tyler Everett had more control issues allowing 2 extra runs and by the end of 5 Miami had a 7-2 lead.  After adding a run in the bottom of the 6th the Seminoles took advantage of errors, wild pitches and walks to get within 1 run and load the bases for Stuart Tapley in the bottom of the ninth.  On a 0-1 pitch Tapley smoked a double to the centerfield fence plating 2 runs and tying the series at 1 game apiece. FSU 8-7

Game 3 featured Scott Sitz getting his 1st career ACC start and as pointed out in the preview Miami's lineup is much better than that of UF or UNF.  Sitz allowed 3 solo homeruns in the 1st inning and if it wasn't for poor base running by the Canes they could have scored much more off of the freshman.  Florida State countered in the bottom of the second off of back to back homeruns from Johnson and Travis tying the game at 3.  Miami added 1 in the 5th and 2 in the 6th while FSU scored runs in the 6th and 8th inning giving Miami a 6-5 lead going into the bottom of the 9th.  The inning started off with a walk by Brunelle and then Holt and Cardullo both struck out leaving things up to Mike McGee who took and 3-2 pitch and deposited it over the centerfield wall.  FSU 7-6

As mentioned in the opening I am extremely pleased with the results of this series but just as in football you need to look at the process.  TN reader The Ryno and I Know noted that this series played out much like the FSU/BYU football game, FSU won the game but there were obvious flaws in the team that you cannot look past and will eventually catch up with you down the road.  When Mike McGee stepped to the plate in the bottom of the 9th inning with 2 outs and a runner on first the Seminoles had a less than 10% chance of winning.  FSU baseball cannot count on opposing teams to commit the base running and fielding errors that Miami made on Sunday and expect to win on a consistent basis. 

Starting pitching will eventually be the downfall of the Florida State team as it has been for as long as I can remember.  The Noles only have 1 legitimate starter and even Gilmartin has had his issues this season.  Take a look at the innings pitched in Florida State's 21 ACC starts.

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 As you can see our starters have had serious issues pitching deep into games.  There are very few teams that have pitchers who consistently pitch into the 7th or 8th inning but to have 47% of your starts not see it through to the 5th inning is disastrous.  Take a look at our starting pitchers number so far this season. 

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Do those look like the numbers of a team than can do any damage come the playoffs. 

Looking Ahead:

The Seminoles increased their division lead this weekend as the Clemson Tigers lost their 3rd ACC series in a row.

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The Seminoles have a week off from ACC play as they host the mighty Lamoyne Dolphins this weekend.  The following week will be a crucial series for the Noles as they travel to play at Boston College where they could put some distance between them and the rest of the division.

Thanks to TN reader basbalstr101 for the photos and as always, Go Noles!