The Florida State baseball team traveled to Jacksonville on Tuesday looking to avenge its home loss to the Dolphins from earlier this year. Instead, the Seminoles were sent back to Tallahassee with their tails between their legs, suffering a 6-2 loss and allowing JU to sweep the season series with FSU for the first time ever. Here's what went well (not a lot) and what went poorly (plenty) in the Seminoles' forgettable loss:
1. On a night where only six 'Noles managed to record a hit, FSU shortstop Taylor Walls was the most consistent offensive player for the visiting Seminoles. Walls finished the game against Jacksonville 2-3 with a pair of walks, reaching base in four of his five plate appearances. After Tuesday's loss, Walls' batting average sits at .372 on the year, second on the team among the regular starters behind only John Sansone. With the Seminoles as dinged as they are at the moment, the necessity for a high level of play from Walls grows larger in the final stretch of the season.
2. Even with so many issues on Tuesday, the Seminoles did have a flawless defensive game, committing no errors in the loss to Jacksonville. This marks the third straight error-less game for Florida State dating back to last Saturday's win over Bowling Green as adds to the continuing trend of improved defensive play from FSU, whose fielding percentage now sits at .968 on the year.
3. Tuesday's loss may be disheartening but in terms of the impact that the loss to Jacksonville may have on Florida State's national seed stock, it is significantly less severe. FSU can easily counterbalance the midweek loss with a pair of series wins over Duke and Miami in each of the next two weekends. Should the Seminoles win those final two conference series, they would remain in good shape to be a national seed, even considering the loss to JU.
1. The FSU bats, a strength of this year's team, struggled mightily on Tuesday. Florida State finished with eight hits, not overly impressive but not too few either. Still, the Seminoles were only able to bring in two runs, bringing their total number of runs in their two games against JU to a lowly five (Jacksonville's team ERA is 3.54 against predominantly Atlantic Sun competition). With regard to Florida State's plate discipline, the Seminoles started strong with each of their first two batters of the game reaching base via free pass but finished with only five walks. It was an offensive game to forget for the Seminoles and was further proof that this team is incapable of overcoming this type of performance at the plate.
2.. Florida State made an interesting decision on Tuesday night, throwing little-used pitcher Andrew Karp as the starter against Jacksonville. Perhaps this was because Mike Martin and staff are trying to save Tyler Holton for this weekend or perhaps they are just trying to spread the innings around. Either way, the move has every right to be questioned after the end result. Karp worked around a double and a walk to pitch a scoreless first inning. The second frame, however, was a completely different story. Karp was tagged for three runs and was pulled before he was able to record even one out in the second. Although Karp was not given the chance to work out of his own jam, he struggled in the little work he saw, issuing three walks in addition to two hits.
3. Ed Voyles, who has been one of FSU's most reliable relievers this year, was far from his best on Tuesday. Voyles allowed all three runners he inherited in the second inning to score. After that, he settled down after that, allowing only one hit over the next two innings. However, Voyles' fourth inning of work, the sixth, proved incredibly challenging for him as he surrendered three walks on three hits. Voyles' ERA now sits at 2.84 on the year and he must be wary going forward to not let one bad outing turn into two or more as Voyles, one of the Seminoles' most consistent relievers who is currently healthy, will likely be called upon a good deal in the near future.
With the loss, Florida State falls to 32-14 on the year. The Seminoles are back in action less than 18 hours after the conclusion of Tuesday's loss as they play host to Florida Gulf Coast on Wednesday at 1 PM.