The FSU Baseball team put themselves strongly in control of their own destiny with Saturday night's 3-2 win over the College of Charleston Cougars on Day 2 of the Tallahassee Regional of the NCAA Tournament. What went well -- and not so well -- in FSU's narrow victory?
1. Although he was not the pitcher of record for the Seminoles, Boomer Biegalski saved one of his biggest outings of the season for the biggest stage as he had a very successful outing that was tarnished by a 2-run home run in the 8th inning that chased him from the game. However, Biegalski's final line remained quite impressive with 7 2/3 innings pitched, 5 hits and 2 runs allowed, 1 walk and 8 strikeouts. As a frame of reference, Biegalski, who had issued 36 walks entering Saturday, allowed fewer walks in the win than Brandon Glazer, CoC's starter who had issued only 9 all season entering this weekend. Supposing FSU advances past this weekend and into super regionals, FSU will need an arm that they can count on every outing and Biegalski has consistently shown that he can be that guy.
2. Quincy Nieporte, who was 0-7 this weekend as he entered the 8th inning against Charleston, delivered when he was most needed with a solo home run to left field that ended up being the difference in Saturday's win. At the times during this season when Florida State has seen extended success, it has all come back to the players around DJ Stewart in the lineup (John Sansone, Quincy Nieporte, and Chris Marconcini) working good at-bats and performing well. On top of everything else, another clutch home run by Nieporte led to yet another swaggerific bat flip.
3. For the 2nd time in 3 games, Florida State did not get in their own way defensively, committing 0 errors. Darren Miller started in place on Dylan Busby, who has been a bit of a liability offensively and defensively in recent games, and although Miller was 0-3 at the plate, he did well to avoid the errors that Busby has been prone to throughout the season. Additionally, Sansone made a few spectacular plays at 2nd with Walls racking up 2 assists and 2 putouts as well.
After racking our collective brains, we at Tomahawk Nation struggled to find 3 definitive downsides to FSU's win over the Cougars. There were a few questionable coaching decisions, including a 2-out bunt by the not quite speedster John Sansone and the unsuccessful hit-and-run attempt with Chris Marconcini, who is far from a stolen base threat. Despite these slight errors, the biggest down I would point to is that FSU had the chance to produce far more runs than they did, which would have made Wise's homer that leveled the game a moot point. Although the Seminoles survived with just 3 today, it's hard to believe that 3 runs a game will lead to consistent success moving forward.
With the win, FSU will be one of the final 2 teams in the Tallahassee Regional and await the winner of the College of Charleston/Auburn game, which will take place Sunday at 1 PM. The winner of that one will eliminate the loser and moves into the final with the 'Noles where they would need to beat Florida State 2 consecutive times to eliminate FSU and move on. First pitch of Sunday's game between FSU and the Charleston/Auburn winner is scheduled for 6 PM with Drew Carlton pegged as the projected starter. UPDATE: Charleston beat Auburn after a lengthy rain delay on Sunday. Charleston and Florida State will play at 2 PM on Monday.