Less than 24 hours after managing three hits in a shutout loss in the series opener against Wake Forest, the Florida State baseball team responded in a big way offensively, plating 13 runs on 13 hits on the way to a 13-8 win over the Demon Deacons. Here's what went well and not as well in the Seminoles' win on Saturday.
1. The Seminoles' offensive production was carried by those at the top of the order, as has been the case for much of the season up to this point. The first three members of the lineup, Taylor Walls, John Sansone, and Jackson Lueck, batting third for the first time in his career, combined for 10 of FSU's 12 RBIs and scored a total of runs between the three of them. Lueck sticks out as the biggest contributor in the Florida State lineup, going 2-5 with five RBIs as he continues his spectacular freshman season. When adding in the contributions of cleanup hitter Cal Raleigh, the top four hitters averaged .526 (10-19) and combined for four walks as well, putting the Florida State offense on their collective back, a necessity of the upmost importance after Friday's miserable showing in the batter's box.
2. Florida State followed up Friday's flawless defensive performance with a nearly perfect showing in the field on Saturday. The Seminoles finished with a single error, a costly mistake by first baseman Dylan Busby which led to an unearned run which cut the FSU lead to two in the fifth inning. Still, progress has been made from the early portion of the season, an improvement that was never demonstrated by last year's team.
3. In true 2016 FSU fashion, the Seminole bullpen bailed out the starter failing to make it through five innings. This time, it was Matthew Kinney, Jim Voyles, and Tyler Warmoth who worked together to throw 4.2 innings of one-hit, shutout baseball. They also allowed a combined three walks and one hit-by-pitch but did well to preserve what was a narrow lead late into the game by never allowing a baserunner to reach third base. This has been the overarching theme for this team for the vast majority of the 2016 season but, as long as the bullpen keeps up its high level of play, the rotation's inability to go deep into games could be overcome.
1. Sophomore pitcher Drew Carlton had his worst outing of the 2016 season so far on Saturday, allowing a career-high eleven hits and matching his career high of seven earned runs in 4.1 innings of work, the fourth time in nine starts this year that he has failed to make it through the fifth inning. It was a death by one thousand cuts for Carlton, who gave up only two extra-base hits but proved unable to get outs when he most needed them. When he was pulled in the fifth inning, he was at 108 pitches and left the bases loaded with all of his runners coming around to score after his departure. After an impressive outing from Friday starter Mike Compton a day ago, Carlton's setback proves that the Seminoles' rotation remains the weak point of the team.
2. For as good as the top four batters in the Florida State lineup were, the bottom five struggled mightily, batting a combined 3-23 (.130) and contributing only one extra-base hits and two RBIs. Still, it wasn't all bad as the bottom five batters did earn a combined four walks and scored six runs thanks in large part to the potent batting at the top of the lineup.
3. Florida State was unable to extend innings in the win over WF, finishing the game 3-12 (.250) with two outs. This resulted in the Seminoles leaving 11 men on base. Although it's worth stating that any team with 13 hits and eight walks will definitely leave runners on base, FSU missed plenty of opportunities to make this game uglier than it was and give further evidence that Friday was a fluke.
With the win, FSU improves to 23-10 (10-3 in ACC). The Seminoles look to take the series over Wake on Sunday with first pitch scheduled for 1 PM.