The No. 8 Florida State baseball team returned to action Wednesday night for the second and final midweek game to Texas Tech. The Seminoles found themselves in a 5-0 hole after the top of the first inning and were never able to climb all the way back into it, falling 8-4 to complete a split of the series against the No. 22 Red Raiders.
1. For most of the 2016 season, this Florida State team has been streaky with regard to power. Wednesday was a big example of that as the Seminoles had long balls in back-to-back innings which accounted for three of their four runs. In the fourth inning, John Sansone delivered a two-run shot to left, his team-leading fifth of the year. One inning later, Taylor Walls cut into the deficit further with a solo home run, his second of the season. However, productive power hitting was cancelled out by poor hitting in many other regards and the attempted comeback was not to be.
2. Once again on Wednesday, the FSU bullpen was called upon for a Herculean effort of working eight innings of relief after starting pitcher Cole Sands was only able to last through one frame. At times in the loss, the Seminoles 'pen looked more vulnerable than it has for the vast majority of the year but, on the whole, the output impressed once again. Five different Florida State relievers combined to allow two earned runs on eight hits over the subsequent eight innings after TTU struck for five runs on four hits in the first inning. Tyler Holton shined once again, dealing 2.1 innings of one-hit baseball which was accented by three strikeouts.
3. On top of the power that Walls and Sansone provided, they were far and away the Seminoles' most productive bats on Wednesday. Both of them, who bat first and second in the lineup consistently, finished with two hits and one or more runs and RBIs. In fact, their combined on-base percentage was .700 when factoring in the three walks they drew. When comparing that to the .279 on-base percentage and the .160 batting average that the bottom seven hitters combined for, the reason why FSU was unable to prevail becomes much more clear.
1. Once again, Florida State could not convert their chances with runners in scoring position. After going 0-8 on Tuesday, the 'Noles followed it up with another goose egg in their five chances. Two of those opportunities came with less than two outs in the inning, and when there were two gone, FSU still could not do much damage going 1-9. With runners on base, the Seminoles came into the game hitting .302 in just under 500 at bats, however today went 3-14 (.214).
2. Cole Sands had another rough outing at the expense of the Texas Tech lineup. He only made it through one inning, giving up five earned runs on four hits and walked two more. His season ERA is now up to 6.08 in 26 2/3 innings and continues to walk runners at a high rate with his season total now at 19. Coach Mike Martin could only explain it by saying, "He had a rough outing," after the game.
3. For the First time since March 15th at Florida, the 'Noles committed multiple errors in a game. It also snapped a streak of four consecutive errorless games by FSU as John Sansone committed two errors at third base tonight. They were costly as it gave TTU the chance to extend the inning and allowed one unearned run to cross the plate at the expense of the FSU pitchers.
The 'Noles are off tomorrow before facing the Louisville Cardinals for a three game series beginning on Friday.