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3 up, 3 down: FSU baseball drops series at Duke

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Things are unraveling for the Seminoles.

The Florida State baseball team's season-long losing streak grew by another game on Saturday afternoon, as the 'Noles dropped their fourth straight game, this one a 3-1 decision to the Duke Blue Devils in Durham, North Carolina. The Duke win costs No. 6 (for the time being) FSU not only the series but also, most assuredly, any hope of securing a national seed.

3 up

  1. You have to admire the way FSU responded after falling behind in the first inning. In the top of the second, Dylan Busby was hit by a pitch, advanced to third on a Matt Henderson single, and scored on Ben DeLuzio's well-placed bunt. Still, it's not overly encouraging that the sole run the 'Noles could push across had to be manufactured via sac bunt.
  2. Henderson moved up from his usual nine spot in the lineup, and performed well, as one of just two FSU players with two hits (Quincy Nieporte being the other), including the Seminoles' only extra-base hit.
  3. The bullpen, which has been the strength of this Florida State team, did not surrender a run. Chase Haney and Alec Byrd each pitched a scoreless frame.

3 down

  1. Duke was able to jump all over Sands in not just the first inning, when Jimmy Herron led off with his first of two doubles. In fact, it put the leadoff man aboard on four of eight opportunities, including a solo home run by Justin Bellinger that provided the Blue Devils' two-run cushion. This is certainly not a recipe for success, especially since FSU starters rarely miss a ton of bats.
  2. Blue Devil starter Trent Swart did just that, however, with Florida State batters. Swart, whose fastball only dials up to the mid 80s, fanned a season-high nine Seminoles over six innings of work. Translation: half of the 'Noles he retired were via the strikeout. You've got to put the ball in play more efficiently than that, and make college defenders put you away.
  3. Although FSU outhit Duke 8-6, half of the Devils' hits were for extra bases, while the 'Noles had just the previously mentioned Henderson double. If you're not going to hit with any pop, then you'd certainly better run the bases judiciously. And Florida State has been simply atrocious on the base paths this season (and really, in the recent past). With the Seminoles down just 2-1 in the fifth, Steven Wells, Jr. was picked off second base. John Sansone then proceeded to single to center, which could have possibly tied the game up, had Wells still been in scoring position instead of the dugout. Then, down two in the ninth, Busby led off by smoking a ball off the left-field wall. He hesitated rounding first, ultimately deciding to go for second, and was tagged out way short of the bag. Frankly, his mistake was even more egregious than Wells'; Busby's lone job in that situation is to get on base and bring the tying run to the plate.