The Florida State baseball season yet again came to an ignominious end in the Gainesville Super Regional on Monday night, as the Seminoles dropped an elimination game to the Florida Gators by a final score of 7-0. Not much went right for the 'Noles, but I'll begin by highlighting a few rays of sunlight before moving on to the onslaught of storm clouds that delayed the final two games of this series and proved an apt harbinger of Florida State's fortunes after winning the series' first game.
- After the dominance that Florida pitcher Logan Shore showed in his shutout innings against the 'Noles on Sunday, it only figured to get worse for FSU on Monday, when UF trotted out A.J. Puk, the sixth player drafted in the recent MLB Draft. But largely due to a diminutive and wandering strike zone, Puk was frustrated early and lasted just 3.2 innings, in which he surrendered six walks and hit a batter. But, obviously, nothing came of it for the Seminoles-- more on that later.
- This one looked like it could get ugly early for the 'Noles, though, as FSU freshman starting pitcher Cole Sands got off to the customary slow start that he's fought through much of this season. To his credit, Sands threw hard (probably a little too hard, at times), touching the mid 90s and allowing just a lone earned run in his 3.1 innings of work. Really, this was very much a game until UF's J.J. Schwarz made a 2-0 Gator lead 6-0 with a grand slam off Jim Voyles in the fifth. From there on, it was all over but the shoutin', all of which was done by those clad in blue and orange.
- Still, the future is quite bright for these 'Noles, especially considering their youth. Check out the classifications of Monday night's garnet and gold starters:
- Taylor Walls SS (SO)
- John Sansone 3B (SR)
- Jackson Lueck LF (FR)
- Cal Raleigh C (FR)
- Dylan Busby 1B (SO)
- Quincy Nieporte DH (JR)
- Matt Henderson 2B (JR)
- Ben DeLuzio CF (JR)
- Steven Wells, Jr. RF (SO)
- In the first game of the series, Florida State put the heat on UF early by climbing out to a 3-0 lead. That advantage would not be relinquished, as Florida, the nation's No. 1 seed, look every bit the part of a team playing under weighty expectations. The 'Noles had a chance to do the same against these Gators in Monday's contest, as Puk walked the first two batters he faced. FSU's leading hitter, Jackson Lueck, then proceeded to give Puk a free strike (via attempted bunt, of all things), and Puk thereafter settle down and retired Lueck and the next two batters. There's really no defense for Lueck squaring around to give up an out there, especially against a pitcher who'd yet to retire a soul-- and in the first inning. It's probably even a bad call in a tight game late against a team as talented as Florida, but scoreless in the first, you have to assume one run isn't going to get it done.
- FSU's missed chances early were really an apt microcosm for the entire series -- and year -- against the Gators. The 'Noles looked beyond out-of-sync at the plate against UF all weekend, really, especially when it mattered most. Seminole batters were repeatedly retuned to the pine with teammates in scoring position; and you may want to grab a seat as well before you read the following stats: Florida State, in this series, was 0-20 with runners in scoring position. On the year against Florida, FSU went 2-52 with RISP. In those six games against UF, the 'Noles struck out 63 times. And in those six games combined, Florida State scored as many runs as the Gators did on Monday night: seven.
- So, for the second straight year, the Seminoles were eliminated by the Gators, in Gainesville. Florida once again celebrated a College World Series appearance, their fifth in the last seven season. UF will head to Omaha to join fellow FSU-rival Miami, while the 'Noles pack up the bus and head back to Tallahassee.