After the Noles' offensive performance Sunday, it's difficult to think this is the same team that only mustered three hits during Friday' loss to College of Charleston. Today was totally different, as FSU scored three in the bottom of the first and never looked back, defeating the Cougars 11-2.
In the first two games of the series, FSU combined for 10 runs on 15 hits ---Today, they scored 11 runs on 10 hits. There was a small concern when Florida State only put up one run on the board following the 50 they scored in their first three, however it is much more evident that the hitting problem is in the past. Taylor Walls took over for a struggling Ben Deluzio at the leadoff spot yesterday and has excelled, going 5-9 in those two game. He will remain at the top of the lineup for the forseeable future with coach Mike Martin saying, "He's earned it."
A key component in Florida State's game today was their fielding which helped limit the College of Charleston offense to just two runs. The 'Noles turned three double plays, including one with the bases loaded in the first inning behind a very appreciative Cole Sands, "Very thankful they were on top of their game." Shortstop Taylor Walls credits the improvement to the chemistry on the infield, saying that he feels very comfortable with JUCO transfer, Matt Henderson, already calling the second baseman, "My boy."
College of Charleston was far from good on defense, committing six errors on the day. Thanks to some great base running by Florida State, they were able to put themselves in scoring position where FSU converted on four of their 16 chances. FSU was also very aggressive on the base paths, stealing four bases without getting caught.
After a dominant college debut for Cole Sands last weekend against Rhode Island, Sands struggled throughout his performance admitting, "My command wasn't the greatest today." In his five innings pitched, Sands allowed eight base runners, but thanks to that outstanding Seminoles defense mentioned earlier, was only charged for one run. Coach Mike Martin said after the game that he wasn't concerned with Sand's struggles in today's game.
Although Florida State had 10 hits on the day, they only saw two of those go for extra bases, both doubles. Had it not been for the six errors committed by the Cougars, there would have been many less opportunities to score. It is not the biggest problem in the world to have, however at some points against teams such as Louisville and Florida, extra base hits may be the only chance to score against a masterful pitching staff.
Florida State now begins a stretch where they will play 10 games in 14 days after having a full four-day week off between their last two series. Not only that, but they have to prepare to play six different teams in that span. Playing so many different opponents could throw them off a little, combined with the multitude of games in just two weeks could have an impact on the stability and stamina of the team. The bright side of those 10 games is only one is away from Dick Howser Stadium, against USF.
FSU will prepare to take on Jacksonville University on Tuesday at 4 PM and Villanova Wednesday at 4 PM, both at home.