No. 22 Florida State overcame an early 2-0 deficit and the weather held off just long enough for the Seminoles to come away with a narrowly official 3-2 victory over No. 20 Florida Gulf Coast University on Wednesday which was delayed for lightning in the middle of the fifth inning and never resumed.
Since the game was condensed, an equally condensed recap seems fair. Here’s what went well and not so well in FSU’s abbreviated win:
1. There was plenty of good as well as bad in Will Zirzow’s first career start at Florida State. First, the good.
His five strikeouts in three innings of work were more of what we have come to expect from him this season. He also issued no free passes over his brief appearance in the game.
Furthermore, he did well to work his way out of an early jam which saw a runner on third with no outs in the first inning thanks to an error by Taylor Walls, doing so by striking out two straight batters before inducing an easy flyout.
2. Grant Stewart, the only reliever FSU used in Wednesday’s win, impressed once again, both in preventing baserunners and working his way out of the dangerous jam he got himself into.
His two innings of work were highlighted by four strikeouts. He started hot, retiring the first five batters he faced before getting himself into a two-out jam. A single followed by a hit-by-pitch and an intentional walk loaded the bases after Stewart was nearly out of the inning.
However, the freshman rose to the occasion, striking out FGCU’s Corey Fehribach to escape unscathed and, in the end, preserve the victory for the Seminoles while earning the first win of his career.
3. FSU’s offensive attack was a balanced one in the win over the Eagles as the Seminoles had six hits over four innings at the plate with no more than a single hit coming from any player.
The middle of the order provided the biggest boost for the ’Noles as FSU’s four, five, six, and seven hitters (Quincy Nieporte, Dylan Busby, Cal Raleigh, and Drew Mendoza) each had a hit with Raleigh and Busby knocking in a run each.
1. For all that Zirzow did well on Wednesday, I would not classify it as a good start for the junior. His two runs allowed, both earned, on four hits over three innings are far too many and put FSU in an early hole, raising his ERA from 2.45 to 2.88.
Zirzow remains a candidate to start future Wednesday games for the Seminoles, but his first start was not exactly a good launching point.
2. As mentioned above, the finale against the Eagles started just like many of last weekend’s games against North Carolina played out: with an error. Walls made his second throwing error in as many games, giving an extra base at the end of what was already a leadoff double. Giving away free bases against top-25 foes is a very deadly habit to get into, especially when the team has multiple other issues at the moment.
3. Hard to find another negative takeaway from such a quick game so I will not force the issue. After all, the Seminoles just took a pair of games which felt like must-wins against a top-25 opponent.
The win clinches a series victory over the Eagles and moves the Florida State winning streak to two games for the Seminoles before their trip to Raleigh for a three-game set with NC State this weekend.