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3 up, 3 down: FSU baseball drops finale to St. John's

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Beautiful day; ugly baseball.

Florida State manager Mike Martin characterized it as a good weekend-- but "not a great weekend." That's because while the 'Noles gained a series victory over the St. John's Red Storm, they missed a chance to earn a sweep by winding up on the wrong side of a 5-1 Sunday decision.

3 up

  1. The 'Noles consistently had runners aboard, even if they struggled getting them home. And when Florida State was successful at reaching base, it was because batters stayed back on the ball and flipped it the other way, often besting outfield shifts designed to defend against a player pulling the ball. Six of the eight FSU base hits were to the opposite field.
  2. One such player to take advantage of working oppo. was Quincy Nieporte, and it helped him in collecting his first extra base hit of the season when he doubled in the fifth. Prior to that, all four of his hits had been singles, and the 'Noles will need him to provide more pop than that in the three hole, so this could bode well moving forward. In fact, three of the Seminoles' eight hits were doubles, but FSU couldn't cluster their knocks, never collecting more than two in an inning. Getting the leadoff man on base just twice isn't a very good start.
  3. While starter Cole Sands may have struggled, the Florida State bullpen more than held its own. Not one of the three runs they allowed were earned. Alec Byrd, Chase Haney, Matthew Kinney, Jim Voyles, and Cobi Johnson combined for 7.1 innings of work and allowed just three hits.
3 down

  1. This FSU baseball team must have watched plenty of Seminole basketball this season, because the slow starts seem to have rubbed off, at least in this series. The 'Noles didn't have a baserunner until the fourth inning of game one, game two saw them spot St. John's a first inning lead, and they followed that up by allowing a pair of runs in the first and another in the second on Sunday. And the Seminoles couldn't keep pace, going 0-10 with runners in scoring position.
  2. Surrendering that lead was freshman righty Sands, who looked human for the first time this season. He was greeted by a pair of singles and a sac bunt before issuing a walk to load the bases in the first. In his previous two starts, each resulting in a win, Sands allowed just six hits and one earned run over ten innings, while striking out seven. He came in with a 0.90 ERA, but that figure wound up inflated to 2.31 when he was chased after just 1.2 innings of work. Sands' final line over that brief stint: 4 hits (including a triple), three runs (only two were earned), and a walk, without a strikeout.
  3. To be fair, though, Sands didn't get much help. In fact, his defense let him down several times, and continued to lapse throughout the afternoon. Sands had to dive to save a poor throw on an attempted double play that saw the game's first run score, and on the next play, second baseman Matt Henderson booted a ground ball with two outs that brought across the Red Storm's second run. It was Chico's first of two errors on the day, and his third in the last two games. He now leads Florida State in that dubious category, with five miscues over 11 games. The second base position was generally snakebitten for the 'Noles on Sunday, as Hank Truluck committed an error there as well when he took over in the eighth. SJU extended their lead from 3-1 to 5-1 with a pair of unearned runs due to that gaff.

Florida State will play its first road game next, traveling to USF for a Tuesday showdown.