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3 up, 3 down: FSU baseball drops opener of Miami series

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When you don't convert on your chances against a team like Miami, you don't win many.

The Seminole baseball team dropped a tough series opener against the rival Miami Hurricanes on Thursday night in front of a raucous FSU crowd of 4,156 fans who saw multiple weather delays extend this one to almost 11 pm. What was an electric atmosphere became a little too much so, as lightning strikes in the area forced required delays, even when no rain was falling on the field. And while the 'Noles started well in all aspects of the game, the rain and the result combined to dampen the spirits of those who remained until the end of the 4-2 Miami win.

3 up

  1. Defensively, a leadoff single in the first was erased on the base paths when 'Nole catcher Cal Raleigh gunned down Carl Chester trying to steal second (and it wasn't even close). After that, FSU starter Drew Carlton mowed down 11 straight 'Canes, not allowing another baserunner until the fifth inning, when he hit Brandon Lopez, who would come around to score Miami's first run on a Johnny Ruiz triple. Carlton did well to strand Ruiz on third with nobody out, getting a line out to short, a strikeout, and a fly ball. Carlton, who tossed 77 pitches in going five innings, threw nicely in fooling a number of UM batters, collecting six strikeouts without walking a batter in his time on the mound.
  2. Offensively, the Seminoles didn't wait around to initiate the scoring. After Quincy Nieporte was hit by a pitch in the second, Dylan Busby doubled him to third, and Donovan Petrey singled him home. Ben DeLuzio then wore one as well, and a one-out walk from Miami right-handed starter Andrew Cabezas to Matt Henderson made it 2-0, 'Noles.
  3. The 'Noles reached base via hit batters and walks on a combined nine occasions, and when they did hit, they hit with some pop. Five of the Seminoles' six hits were doubles. Leading the way for Florida State was Busby, who registered a pair of doubles, the only 'Nole with more than one hit.

3 down

  1. Yes, the 'Noles got out to an early lead in this one, but they really needed to score at least one more in the second. Bases loaded and one out? You'd love to see that start result in a big inning, but, at the very least, that runner on third has to touch home. And FSU had its chance, too, as Taylor Walls fanned on a full-count pitch that was easily ball four and a 3-0 lead. You should seize upon those chances against any team, but against a squad as talented as Miami, they're a necessity.
  2. It was the first of a few questionable decisions for the Seminoles. In the fifth inning, John Sansone was hit by a pitch, and with two outs, was thrown out at second when he didn't get a good jump after a wild pitch. It ended the inning, instead of bringing the powerful bat of Nieporte, who'd already doubled, to the plate with a chance to stretch the lead. In the seventh, after FSU reliever Jim Voyles surrendered a leadoff walk, Miami tried giving the 'Noles an out via sac bunt. But Raleigh went to second, and his throw sailed high, pulling Walls off the bag. One on, one out had become two on, nobody down. After a sac bunt and an intentional pass, Randy Batista made it 3-2, 'Canes, on a double to the gap in left center. And that decision making can apply to Manager Mike Martin as well. After Nieporte doubled to lead off the eighth, Busby got pinch runner Nick Graganella to third on a groundout. 11 then dialed up a squeeze bunt, for Steven Wells, Jr. Wells' total number of sacrifices this season? Zero. He bunted right back to the pitcher, and Graganella was easily thrown out at the plate. In the ninth, the 'Canes added another run when an Alec Byrd walk came around to score on a Willie Abreu triple to make it 4-2.
  3. But not taking advantage of its opportunities was an issue for Florida State all night. In 14 at bats with runners in scoring position, the 'Noles managed just a lone hit. With runners aboard anywhere, the Seminoles finished 2-19.