Florida State bounced back in a big way in the first of two games against Boston College on Saturday, running away with an 11-1 victory over the Eagles. What went well - and not so well - in FSU’s dominant victory?
1. Florida State starter Tyler Holton has been undeniably brilliant early in the 2017 season. That continued on Saturday when he rose to the occasion in showing an aspect of his game he has not yet had to demonstrate this year: his resiliency.
With one run already in and the bases loaded for Boston College in the top of the second, Holton came through in the clutch, striking out the next two batters to escape the jam relatively unscathed.
From there, Holton really found his rhythm, retiring the following 10 Boston College batters as a continuation of his red-hot 2017 campaign. Through six innings of work, he allowed one unearned run on two hits, striking out eight while walking two, dropping his earned run average down to 0.36. He has not allowed an earned run since the opening weekend of the season three weeks ago.
With another quality start and a chance to be named an ACC Pitcher of the Week for the third consecutive week, Holton has made an persuasive case to be named the Friday starter going forward.
2. In a game where the Florida State offense shined, each of Florida State’s three freshmen in the starting lineup had moments of brilliance.
J.C. Flowers, who has started each game of the year so far in center field, broke out of a mini slump with a three-run homer as part of FSU’s five-run sixth inning which really put the game out of reach. The freshman has flashed glimpses of his potential ability to be a true five-tool player, a baseball rarity.
Tyler Daughtry, after walking in all three of his at-bats on Friday, used the bat more in Saturday’s victory, finishing the game 3-4 with a double, two singles, two RBI, a run, and another walk.
Nick Derr, who was 0-4 with two strikeouts and a double play in Friday’s loss, had successful at-bats in each of his four plate appearances, earning three walks along with a sacrifice fly to finish the game with two RBI.
In all, these three freshmen combined to knock in 7 of FSU’s 11 runs and have the potential to take an already loaded Florida State lineup to the next level.
3. Florida State’s collective plate discipline showed up in a big way in Saturday’s win. Entering the fifth inning, the Seminoles had accumulated 10 walks while striking out zero times. They finished the game with 11 walks to three strikeouts, a ratio in the mold of classic FSU under Mike Martin.
The difference from Friday to Saturday was night and day and set the outcome down a different path early in the second game of the series.
1. Florida State has been exceptional on the basepaths this season. Not only are the Seminoles now 22-22 on stolen bases for the year, but they have also been without many of the questionable baserunning decisions which have plagued the team in recent seasons.
Saturday’s opener was a break from this. It began with a first inning mistake which saw Dylan Busby get caught leaning off second base before he was easily picked off. Later, Derr made the poor decision to run on contact from second to third on a ball hit in front of him to the shortstop. He was easily thrown out on the play and provided another wasted opportunity on the basepaths.
Admittedly, these were not costly mistakes in this instance, but poor baserunning is a terrible habit to get into, especially nearly a month into the season.
2. Given the number of baserunners Florida State had (23 in all by hit or walk), the Seminoles were destined to leave runners on base. Some of the situations, leaving the bases loaded in the third and leaving two men on in the fifth, helped Boston College hang around perhaps longer than it should have. In all, 12 men left on base is a bit high, but it’s hard to complain too much with the kind of day FSU had at the plate.
3. On a day where not many things went wrong for the Seminoles, some digging is required to find three separate negative takeaways. As such, we reach to the depths of acknowledging Florida State’s sole fielding error. The error, a drop from second baseman Matt Henderson, was his second error in as many days and led to Boston College’s sole run of the afternoon.
Now, whether or not Henderson remains the starting second baseman once Jackson Lueck recovers from his shin splints is an entirely different and quite valid question. For now, however, a downturn in Henderson’s normally solid defensive play is not the greatest of trends for a player who may be fighting for his spot in the near future.
The rubber match between the Eagles and Seminoles is slated for a 5 PM start and will see FSU’s Drew Parrish (1-0, 4.76 ERA) go up against BC’s Dan Metzdorf (1-1, 2.60 ERA).