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3 up, 3 down: FSU bullpen shuts down UCF in midweek victory

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The Seminoles relievers threw five innings of near-perfect baseball to preserve the win.

The Florida State baseball team kicked off its first five-game week of its 2017 season Tuesday night with a trip to Orlando for the first of two games at UCF. The Seminoles led nearly the whole way in a Tuesday win over the Knights, going up 1-0 in the top of the first en route to a 5-2 victory which was preserved by a stellar combined bullpen performance.

3 up

1. Florida State’s pitching staff put together a complete and impressive performance in Tuesday’s victory. On the road, starter Andrew Karp did not go into the later innings, lasting just four innings. However, he was productive while in the game, allowing two runs on two hits, walking two and retiring 6 of his 12 outs by way of the strikeout.

Although Karp set up FSU well, the bullpen was what really led the Seminoles to victory. Alec Byrd, Chase Haney, and Drew Carlton combined to pitch five innings of shutout no-hit baseball, facing only one batter over the minimum while striking out six. This progress was especially welcome for Byrd and Haney, who were both off to slow starts to their seasons.

2. In what was a moderately contested contest throughout, the difference in the scoring margin proved to be FSU’s first baseman Quincy Nieporte. The senior knocked in three runs, one on a first inning sac fly and two more on a fifth-inning single which put the ’Noles up for good.

On the year, Nieporte now has four home runs and 22 RBI. For some perspective on how much of an improvement this has been, he has reached these totals in 12 games this year while he had five homers and 38 RBI in 54 games in 2016. Nieporte’s emergence is just another dangerous addition to Florida State’s stacked lineup.

3. While UCF was quite error-prone, finishing the game with three defensive mistakes, the Seminoles put up an uncharacteristically perfect showing in the field which saw them commit no errors. Error-free baseball is obviously unsustainable, but progress in this facet could further cement the elite status of a very well-rounded team.

3 down

1. Florida State’s freshmen, who have been instrumental to the team’s early success this season, perhaps showed some inexperience in just their second road game with the Seminoles.

Nick Derr, Tyler Daughtry, and J.C Flowers, batting sixth through eighth in FSU’s lineup on Tuesday, were a combined 0-9 with four strikeouts, three of which were by Daughtry. The one redemptive quality of the three was their three walks, but it was a poor showing for a few of Florida State’s pleasant surprises so far this season.

2. The Seminoles’ walk-to-strikeout ratio at the plate on Tuesday left plenty to be desired. FSU combined to work only three walks while striking out nine times. This is admittedly an extremely critical takeaway, but it could make a difference in the outcome in a different scenario.

3. It proved inconsequential on Tuesday but Florida State finished the victory over UCF having left nine batters on base. Somehow, all of these runners were left by a pair of FSU batters. Taylor Walls left four on base while Cal Raleigh stranded five.

The second game of the midweek set at UCF is scheduled for a 4 PM start on Wednesday.