As the Seminoles prepare to face the rival Gators this coming weekend, Tomahawk Nation wants to take a look at a few questions that the 'Noles will face moving forward.
Florida State's pitching staff was pretty impressive during the Tallahassee Regional, and against some competition that brought some power numbers with them to Dick Howser Stadium.
Boomer Biegalski and Drew Carlton were practically lights out, for the exception of a 2-run home run in the eighth inning of FSU's Saturday game against College of Charleston. Other than that two-run shot, the duo did not allow another run against a team that entered the regional averaging 7.6 runs per game, a .875 OPS and compiled 75 home runs on the year.
Biegalski has been consistent all year, but Carlton has now thrown 13.2 consecutive scoreless innings - all in postseason play. Not bad for a freshman.
Mike Compton, who started FSU's regional opener against Mercer, did not fair as well against a team that was just as aggressive at the plate. Compton went five innings, allowing nine hits and four runs.
So the first question moving forward is: Does Florida State consider moving Carlton ahead of Compton against the Gators?
FSU won two of three games against UF during the regular season, but due to the structure of the scheduling, all three games were weekday games, so all three of FSU's starters remain a mystery to the Gators. But it's still worth considering, as Carlton has been excellent during his last three starts.
You'd be hard pressed to find a better team in the country than the Florida Gators, as they really do it all on the mound and add a very capable plate approach. As a team, the Gators are hitting .298 with a .451 slugging percentage and .381 on-base percentage.
With a team that consistent, and with Compton being a contact pitcher, I think it would benefit FSU to move Carlton into the two-spot.
The Seminoles have gotten productive outings from their bullpen during the postseason, probably as productive as they've gotten all season. But it's going to be difficult to beat the Gators with what has been a two-man bullpen in Dylan Silva and Billy Strode.
The second question moving forward is: Who else does FSU have that can be productive out of the bullpen?
First of all, I think it's easy to forget that Bryant Holtmann is still there, a guy who won both of his starts against the Gators this season and only allowed five runs in 13 innings pitched. Holtmann will likely be the option for any extended outings out of the pen.
After that, it's nothing but a hazy mystery.
Jim Voyles, Alec Byrd and Cobi Johnson have all seen time, but nothing consistent. Each one of these guys have characteristics that make them unique on the mound, which can come in handy at times, but they've struggled with consistency - and that's the biggest issue.
Pitching coach Mike Bell will likely put in some extra work trying to get a couple of these guys ready for the weekend, but it'll be interesting to see what they come up with.
I believe the best option, especially with this match-up, is Holtmann. He not only provides FSU with experience against this Florida team, but he has also had success against them. After that, it has to be a combination of Jim Voyles and Alec Byrd.
FSU has danced around this issue at times this season, bouncing between Dylan Busby and Darren Miller.
Busby has seen the bulk of the playing time, but the Seminoles opted to go with Miller during the last two games of the Tallahassee Regional.
So the third question moving forward is: Who does FSU start at third base?
Busby has really struggled at the plate during the second half of the season, although he is still batting .245 on the year with 45 RBIs and nine home runs. Busby has shown splashes of power, but has struck out far too may times this season (73), often bringing any kind of a Seminole rhythm to a halt.
Darren Miller, who has seen more than half as many plate appearances as Busby, has also been up and down. Miller went 1-for-7 with one RBI (on Monday) during the Tallahassee Regional.
I don't see as much of an upside to starting Miller over Busby as some people might. Busby has more potential at the plate - barring he doesn't strike out - and is far more explosive, so he's my decision at third base.