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3 up, 3 down: Holton shines again in FSU’s dominant win over Oakland

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The Florida State pitcher was on fire for the third straight week.

Florida State accomplished what it set out to do on Saturday, jumping out to a 12-0 lead through five innings on the way to a 12-1 win over the Oakland Grizz on Saturday afternoon behind another impressive performance from Tyler Holton. What else went well - and not so well - in FSU’s blowout victory which clinched another series win?

3 up

1. What more can be said about Tyler Holton’s incredible start to his 2017 season? The Florida State starter was at the top of his game for the second straight week.

The sophomore may have the worst stuff of the Seminoles’ weekend rotation, rarely if ever touching 90 MPH with the fastball, but he has emerged as FSU’s best pitcher early this season.

He amassed a ridiculous 13 strikeouts over 6 innings of work on Saturday, making him the first FSU pitcher since Sean Gilmartin in 2011 to record 10 or more strikeouts in consecutive starts. While doing so, Holton allowed no runs on two hits and issued no walks.

Through three starts this season, Holton has thrown 19 innings and allowed one earned run on seven hits, striking out 32 while walking four, earning himself a 0.47 ERA and a 0.58 WHIP.

2. Florida State’s offensive potential was on full display against Oakland once again on Saturday. A nine-run fifth inning helped the Seminoles open up a 12-0 lead before the Seminoles subbed out starters and let off the gas.

Just about every member of the FSU lineup got in on the action with nine players recording at least one hit, nine scoring at least one run, and six knocking in at least one run.

Taylor Walls led the way for the Seminoles with his bases-loaded triple standing out as the big play of FSU’s monstrous fifth inning.

Nick Derr, who got the start at second base over Matt Henderson, showed once again why he may push the senior for the starting job at second as the year progresses. He went 1-2 in Saturday’s win with an RBI and two runs, moving his season batting average to a team high .444 10 games into the year.

3. The early blowout provided the opportunity for Florida State to utilize some of its younger bullpen options in the closing innings of Saturday’s victory. Many of these less experienced players took advantage of the opportunity they had been provided.

Freshmen Grant Stewart, Brandon Reitz, and Clayton Kwiatkowski each had an inning of relief work. Each encountered adversity to varying degrees, but in the end, each worked out of the jam they got themselves into, providing a chance for the coaching staff to see which players are ready to contribute out of the pen when conference play kicks off in the near future.

3 down

1. For the second straight day, Florida State’s offense struggled mightily the first time through the order. On Saturday, FSU’s first nine batters mustered no hits. When combined with Friday’s outing, the Seminoles combined to put together only one hit over their first time in the order in the first two games this weekend. Slow starts are very simple to overcome in non-conference play as evidenced by the opening two games of this series. In conference play, which begins next weekend, the task becomes a bit tougher.

2. Most of Florida State’s production came in the middle of innings. The ’Noles finished Saturday’s game 2-8 (.250) in leadoff situations and 1-9 (.111) with two outs, a combination which could lead to a significantly more dismal offensive showing on a different day.

3. It is admittedly quite nit-picky as the explosive bats deemed this irrelevant, but Florida State’s plate discipline was lacking in Saturday’s victory. The Seminoles, who walked 11 times on Friday, worked just two walks the next day while striking out six times.

The final game of the three-game set between the Seminoles and the Grizz is slated for a 1 PM start time on Sunday. Drew Parrish (1-0, 2.45 ERA) is scheduled to start for FSU against Oakland’s Nick Parr (1-1, 10.80).