After Friday's series-opening 12-7 win over No. 4 Louisville, Florida State head coach Mike Martin preached that it was only one game and that his team would have to show up and perform very well once again on Saturday if the team wanted to take home another win. His warning proved all too clairvoyant in the second game as the same FSU team that managed 12 runs on 19 hits in the opening game created only one single run on two hits on Saturday, falling 7-1 to the Cardinals behind a dominant performance from their starting pitcher, Drew Harrington.
1. In a middling offensive performance through the Florida State lineup, the sole bright spot for the Seminoles was freshman catcher Cal Raleigh. Raleigh delivered one of FSU's _ hits and it came in the form of a solo home run in the fourth inning, representing the lone run that Florida State was able to produce in the loss. The long bomb, his sixth of the season, was also his second homer in as many games and fourth in 10 ACC games. Raleigh, who seems to be fully acclimated to the collegiate game, could prove to a difference-maker down the stretch for this team.
2. Once again, Florida State did not have a dreadful night in the field. The Seminoles committed a single error for the second straight night and again made some stellar defensive plays. The difference on Saturday was that Louisville committed no errors and looked the part of the better fielding team throughout the game. On many nights, it may take a perfect night in the field to beat a team of Louisville's caliber but, in this case, even that would not have made a difference.
3. It was not a spectacular night for the Seminole's pitching staff but one aspect that it handled well was racking up strikeouts. All three pitchers had at least two strikeouts and they combined to fan 10 batters against a Louisville team that struck out only 4.38 times per game entering Saturday. Freshman hurler Tyler Holton led the way with five strikeouts over his three innings of work, equating to him striking out over half of the batters he faced. However, the impressive number of strikeouts is somewhat invalidated by the same pitching staff issuing six walks after entering Saturday surrendering less than four walks a game.
1. The Florida State offense was such a major downside from Saturday's loss that it could realistically cover all three of these downs. The Seminoles struggled in every aspect at the plate including a .074 (2-27) overall batting average as well as finishing 0-7 with runners on base. Perhaps what doomed FSU the most was their inability to extend innings, finishing 0-8 in the batter's box with two outs. All that was going well for this team offensively on Friday had dissipated by the beginning of Saturday's game and it showed in the form of a blowout loss.
2. Although FSU's pitchers were able to accumulate a number of strikeouts, they also were completely unable to keep Louisville off the basepaths. The Seminole slingers allowed a combined 10 hits and six walks, equating to a 1.78 WHIP. Drew Carlton was dominant for four of his five innings of work but his one susceptible inning, the fourth, proved decisive as he allowed three runs, two earned, while his team proved incapable of assisting him with runs. Holton and Ed Voyles surrendered two runs each in their brief work. It was not a horrific night for the pitching staff but, on a night where the offense could muster little assistance, a dominating effort would have been necessary and Saturday's effort was definitely not that.
3. Florida State was taken out of the plate discipline game that it likes to play by the Louisville pitching staff that raked for all nine innings. The Seminoles finished with four walks, a significant step below the six walks per game they average. When they did earn free passes, they were almost completely incapable of moving runners and making the extra at-bats count. Florida State had only seven total baserunners all night and stranded four of those at the end of innings. When a team has so few players on base over the course of a game, it must do everything in its power to make those few count. FSU did not on Saturday and the result was undesirable.
With the loss, Florida State falls to 20-8 (8-2 in ACC) on the year. Sunday marks the series finale rubber match and presents a pitching matchup between FSU freshman Cole Sands (3-3, 4.56 ERA) faces off against Louisville's Kyle Funkhouser (3-2, 4.29), who passed up on being a second-round pick last summer to return for his senior year. First pitch is slated for a 1 PM start.