Throughout Saturday’s nightcap of the doubleheader between FSU and Boston College, it was evident that game two would play out exactly how game one did. Behind stout starting pitching and explosive innings at the plate, Florida State ran away with a 13-0 win in the rubber match of the weekend series. The combined shutout saw five different pitchers do their part to ensure the series victory, improving the Seminoles to 13-3 (2-1 in the ACC) on the year.
1. It would seem that Taylor Walls and Cal Raleigh are hitting their strides at the perfect time. The two, named pre-season All-Americans by various outlets, had fantastic weekends at the plate, capped off by their best work in the second game on Saturday.
Raleigh, who entered the weekend with a .204 batting average, leaves with a .288 average after going 6-12 over the three-game series with four doubles, three RBI, and two runs.
Walls, who was not much better (.208 coming into Friday), raised his average to .289, thanks to a 5-11 weekend, where he had a home run, seven runs, and 6 RBI. He also walked four times. If you look at his on-base percentage, you’ll notice Walls is getting on base 48.8% of the time, exactly what you want from your leadoff hitter.
With ACC play now officially underway, and the first matchup with Florida set for Tuesday, the timing couldn’t be more ideal for Florida State.
2. In the first ACC game of his young career, Drew Parrish never let the moment get too big for him, getting himself out of every jam, while throwing six scoreless innings in Saturday’s nightcap.
The freshman allowed six hits over his six innings, but only one of those six was an extra-base hit. He also only issued two walks, while striking out five. He may have been thrust into the weekend rotation unexpectedly three weeks ago when Drew Carlton was moved into the closer role, but through his first three starts, Parrish has seemed ready for each challenge, flashing how bright his future could be.
3. With the exception of an early throwing error by Parrish, the Florida State defense put together a flawless performance in Saturday’s finale. Walls made some exceptional plays at shortstop; Tyler Daughtry looked natural playing third base, as well as leftfield; and J.C. Flowers had a spectacular diving catch in centerfield, taking away a potential extra-base hit.
It’s impossible to completely ignore the error by the pitcher, but it should be noted that it was a perfect showing from FSU’s everyday fielders.
1. It was a weekend to forget for Rhett Aplin. The junior college transfer from Seminole State College, who served as the designated hitter Friday and in game one on Saturday before playing in right field for the second game, finished the series going 3-15 (.200). He went 1-5 in each game, finishing with an RBI and a run, but also had five strikeouts.
Aplin needs to rediscover whatever he was doing well early in the season (when he hit two massive homers and jumped out to a solid batting average) if he wants to keep a spot in the starting lineup once freshman phenom Drew Mendoza returns from injury.
2. Immediately after Parrish’s six innings of work, Florida State turned to Alec Byrd for garbage-time relief work. The senior wasn’t up to the task, facing just two batters (a four-pitch walk and a hit-by-pitch) before he was pulled.
A trainer came out to check on Byrd after the walk, meaning there could’ve been an injury explanation for Byrd’s control issues. Whether it’s injury or ineffectiveness, Byrd and a few other veteran relievers continue to struggle in finding consistency out of the bullpen nearly a month into the season.
3. Quincy Nieporte didn’t start Game 2 of the doubleheader after feeling something in his hamstring while attempting to leg out a single in Game 1. Martin said he didn’t know the severity, and he expects Nieporte to consult with the training staff before knowing whether or not he’ll be available against Florida.
For Florida State’s sake, the team better be sending good vibes because Nieporte has gotten off to a red-hot start this year, and a lineup without potentially Nieporte and Jackson Lueck (shin splints) could significantly impact Tuesday’s game.
That matchup in Gainesville on Tuesday is slated for a 6:30 start, and is the first of five games the Seminoles play on the road next week, more than the three road games total they’ve played so far. Martin confirmed after Saturday’s finale that Andrew Karp has thrown twice on the side without issue since leaving his start early against UCF earlier this week due to back pain. He’s scheduled to start Tuesday, as the Seminoles look to win their first regular season game in Gainesville since 2013.