Despite some light flurries falling down on the Petersen Sports Complex pregame in Pittsburgh, the 'Noles got their offense rolling for the second straight game en route to a 10-2 series clinching victory.
Starting at the top, leadoff hitter Taylor Walls continues to be an integral part of the lineup and had a career day against Pitt. The sophomore added to his .351 average going 4-4 with one RBI while scoring two runs. In addition, Walls walked two times, stole two bases and did not record an error in his five chances. The shortstop continues to play great from the top of the lineup and it does not look like his batting position will change for at least the near future.
The 'Noles were able to only use two pitchers in the game and both shined. Starting the game and pitching the first five innings, Drew Carlton allowed only one earned run while striking out four and allowing six baserunners. He improved his record to a perfect 4-0 with the victory. In relief, Jim Voyles pitched just as well, going four scoreless innings, striking out six and only allowing two hits. In 14 innings pitched this year out of the bullpen he has yet to give up a run and has struck out 21 batters. As of right now, if Florida State is able to sustain a lead into the later innings, the bullpen should continue to shut down opponents.
The team as a whole continues to stay patient at the plate, and get aggressive once they get on base. In total, they added six walks to the second rank total in the NCAA, averaging 6.4 walks per game. When you combine that with the 11.5 hits per game and the 1.8 other runners reaching on a hit by pitch per game, that is just under 20 runners reaching on base with the exclusion of errors. Florida State is not just getting runners on base, but are running them very successfully. Recently, there has been an increase in the amount of stolen bases, and that was the case today with the 'Noles swiping five more.
Yes, FSU did score 10 runs in the game, however they didn't record their first run until the fifth inning, only recording one hit against a .500 Pitt team. The pitching did it's job, however it is to no advantage if Florida State can not hit. With the young freshmen starters of Cole Sands and Tyler Holton, it would benefit them greatly if they were able to pitch with a lead, eliminating any stress that could cause a wrong pitch or two.
Florida State left 10 runners on base throughout the game. At first glance that doesn't seem like a horrible thing, but they left a runner on base in eight of their nine innings at the plate. Even though 10 runners crossed the plate, there were many opportunities that they could have capitalized on, and will need to in the future when the heat of ACC play opens up.
Although Jim Voyles pitched dominantly in his four innings, the decision to leave him in for so long was questionable. Voyles has not started a game this year and threw 42 pitches. The next two games come tomorrow in the series finale and on Tuesday against UCF at home, and Voyles will most likely not be ready if needed in those games. The FSU bullpen has many pitchers more than capable to do well in short outings, and have proved it as they have seven players with an ERA below 2.00. It's early in the season and may not be the best idea to stretch some of these guys out, especially when the 'Noles rotation is set.
Florida State will go for the sweep tomorrow at 12:00 PM EST (changed from 1:00 PM) and will look to extend their undefeated record against Pitt.