Days after the final game at Miami was rained out on Sunday, the Florida State baseball team was back in action, wrapping up its short road trip with a game at Stetson in Deland on Tuesday.
The Seminoles, desperately in need of wins in each of their remaining midweek matchups, answered the call against the Hatters, running out to an early lead and coasting to an 11-5 win to improve to 26-16 on the year.
1. The freshmen led the way for Florida State at the plate in Tuesday’s win. Nick Derr, getting a spot start for Rhett Aplin in right field, and centerfielder J.C. Flowers brought in three RBI each, accounting for over half of FSU’s runs between them.
Those two may have been most productive in key situations for the Seminoles, but it was an extremely balanced performance throughout the lineup. Seven of the nine position players in FSU’s starting lineup had at least one hit in the victory and the two who did not register a hit, Cal Raleigh and Matt Henderson, each had three walks, taking advantage of struggles in finding the strike zone from the Stetson pitching staff.
2. Drew Parrish was about as consistent as he has looked in weeks in the first midweek start of his career for all but his final inning of work on Tuesday.
The freshman allowed the first two baserunners of the game to reach, one by error and one by walk, to put himself into an early jam. However, he managed to work his way out of it after a sacrifice bunt and two consecutive popouts. From there, he took over.
Parrish allowed two runs on five hits over the next five innings, walking no additional batters while striking out three. He may have been kept in the game a smidge too long (see below), but the midweek appearance was a marked improvement for Parrish, who is very much in need of some positive momentum.
3. A large part of Florida State’s offensive success was due to its ability to consistently get leadoff batters on base. The Seminoles scored one or more run in each inning from the second through the sixth. Perhaps not coincidentally, the leadoff man reached base in each of those five innings. In all, six of FSU’s nine leadoff batters reached base.
Taylor Walls, the leadoff man in the Florida State lineup, also played a big role in this as he finished Tuesday’s game 3-6, He may not have knocked in any runs, but his two runs show that he was filling the leadoff role well.
1. For as good as Parrish was through six innings, it’s a fair question to ask why he returned to the mound for a seventh inning of work with Florida State holding an 11-2 lead. That chance could have provided a perfect opportunity to get some bullpen work for the less utilized arms in the Florida State bullpen.
Instead, Parrish was on the hill for the seventh inning which saw him surrender a three-run home run. It hardly put the outcome of the game in danger, but the sour ending to his outing was surely not as good a confidence builder as if he had been pulled after the sixth frame.
2. Florida State began Tuesday’s game at Stetson the same way it ended its most recent official game before then in the field: With an error by Walls.
The junior infielder had the first SU batter in the bottom of the first hit a grounder his way. It was hardly a tricky play, but Walls lost the ball in transition between his glove and his hand, committing his eighth error of the season.
Cal Raleigh added an eighth-inning throwing error which also did not lead to any unearned runs coming across, but poor defense would make the Seminoles’ upcoming stretch of difficult games that much more tricky.
3. Florida State may have walked nine times in the victory over Stetson, but that is somewhat negated by a disappointing nine strikeouts. It may have been a balanced problem as only one Seminole struck out two times with no one else registering more than one, but it’s a concern when the team returns to facing more elite pitching staffs beginning this weekend.
This weekend’s series against No. 14 Virginia begins an 11-game home stretch which will be crucial if Florida State wants any chance of hosting a Regional.