The Florida State baseball team had its chances and put together a number of mini rallies, but when the score went final, the Seminoles had not done enough to take the rubber match with No. 21 Wake Forest, falling 10-9 to the Demon Deacons. What went well - and not so well- in FSU’s tough loss with big stakes?
1. In what is almost definitely his last game at Dick Howser Stadium, FSU designated hitter Quincy Nieporte had a career day.
The senior fan favorite went 5-5, setting a new career high. He also had two RBI and a run, adding to his heroic performance.
Nieporte, who was pinch run for after reaching base on an infield single in the eighth inning, took a moment to tip his cap to the crowd after he was subbed out, thanking the Florida State faithful for their support over the last three years. He made it incredibly clear how much the moment and his time at FSU have meant to him.
2. What a weekend for Tyler Holton.
About 17 hours after he wrapped up his complete game shutout in Saturday’s nightcap against Wake Forest, Holton got the start in right field. He reached base three times in his five plate appearances, two singles and a walk, and scored on each of these occasions, accounting for three runs.
On the weekend, Holton put together the aforementioned shutout, but also went 4-8 with a home run, two RBI, and four runs.
3. Another day, another impressive defensive performance from Florida State. The Seminoles made it a flawless defensive week with no errors in any of their four games played this week after playing error-free baseball once again in Sunday’s finale against the Demon Deacons. In all, FSU has committed no errors over the last 50 innings, a stellar run which could be important down the stretch.
1. Drew Parrish was highly ineffective in his role as the starting pitcher on Sunday. He did strike out six batters, but that was about the only thing he did well.
The true freshman went just three innings, his shortest start of the season, and allowed six runs on five hits.
Parrish also flashed some uncharacteristic control issues. He had issued just 17 walks in 62 innings this season entering Sunday, but gave up a career-high four free passes, including three in the first inning, in his brief outing on Sunday.
2. When things were going south in the fourth inning, Florida State used four different pitchers to escape the inning with minimal damage. Somehow, none of those pitchers were Drew Carlton, who had not been used in either of the first two games against Wake.
Instead, Mike Martin and pitching coach Mike Bell elected to go with four different relievers before finally turning to Carlton in the seventh inning to the relief of many FSU fans. However, once he finally entered the game, Carlton’s impact was underwhelming.
The junior, who remains in an undefined role entering the final weeks of the regular season, gave up a homer to the second batter he faced, Scott Aiello. From there it hardly got better as he allowed two runs on five hits over three innings of work, notching a walk and a HBP as well as two strikeouts.
I would venture to say that Carlton has struggled lately as a result of not having a consistent role. He started the season as the Friday starter, but has worked in the bullpen almost all year as a closer, a mop-up pitcher, and an innings eater. Asking him to play so many different parts has proven too tall a task, as it would for just about everyone.
3. With Florida State in desperate need of production throughout the lineup, some of its key hitters underwhelmed on Sunday. The 2, 3, 5, and 6 spots in the FSU lineup (Dylan Busby, Jackson Lueck, Drew Mendoza, and Cal Raleigh) were a combined 3-18 (.167) with six strikeouts and only one walk. Now, Raleigh redeemed himself somewhat with a two-run homer which could finally break him out of his season-long slump, but it’s hard to expect much success as a team when the production is so minimal from so many key offensive pieces.
With the loss, FSU drops to 33-21 (12-15) on the season. Florida State returns to action next Thursday for its final games of the regular season, a three-game set at Louisville, who has already clinched the top seed in the ACC Tournament and enters on a 15-game winning streak. If the Seminoles want to avoid their first losing ACC record in their 26 years in the conference, they will have to sweep the Cardinals.