Eyes were firmly planted in Tallahassee on Saturday after the Florida State baseball team blew an 8-1 lead over Pacific on Friday before nearly losing the game. The Seminoles did not disappoint on day two of the weekend series.
FSU made quick work of the Tigers in the doubleheader, running away with a 18-5 victory in the afternoon stint and using some late runs to come away with a 5-3 victory in the nightcap. Here’s what went well, and not so well, in the Seminoles’ necessary doubleheader sweep.
1. Both starting pitchers played key roles in setting up the Seminoles for success on Saturday.
Tyler Holton (6-2, 3.05 ERA), the starter of game one, was his usual dominant self, racking up 10 strikeouts to two walks over his 5.1 innings of work. He may have fallen off a bit in the sixth, surrendering four runs, two earned, thanks in part to shoddy fielding behind him, but the sophomore did exactly what he should be doing against an opponent of Pacific’s caliber.
Meanwhile, Andrew Karp, making his second weekend start in a row, bounced back after recording no outs and surrendering four runs to Virginia last Sunday to dominate the Tigers in quite possibly the best outing of his career. He went seven innings, a new career-high, and threw only one really bad pitch, a homer he allowed to Pacific catcher James Free, the only run he allowed on six hits while he issued no walks and recorded eight strikeouts.
Furthermore, Karp’s outing, the better of Saturday’s two starters, was well timed as it paired up with the Seminoles’ more underwhelming outing at the plate which saw them plate two runs over their first seven innings. Still, Karp pitched well enough to overcome the offensive woes and was rewarded for his efforts with his first win of the season.
2. Florida State second baseman Matt Henderson has been a low-key key to the Seminoles’ lineup over the last few weeks, putting it together more than he ever has in his two years in Tallahassee heading into his final stretch with the program.
Henderson finished Saturday’s doubleheader a combined 4-6 (.666) with a double, three RBI, two runs, and two walks. He also extended his consecutive games reaching base streak up to 15 games, a sneaky trend he has been on over the better part of the last month.
3. After some bullpen troubles on Friday which allowed the game to get far closer than it had any business being, three of the four relievers used in Saturday’s game put together very impressive performances.
In the first game, Chase Haney helped Holton get out of his jam, giving up one hit over 0.2 innings. From there, Ed Voyles excelled in an extended appearance, surrendering one earned run on three hits over three innings, striking out three batters and walking none.
In the nightcap, Alec Byrd preserved the tight 2-1 lead with a scoreless inning of work, furthering the positive progress he has been building over the last few weeks. The final reliever of the evening was a tad more underwhelming, but that will be addressed below.
1. Particularly in Saturday’s second game, some poor situational hitting showed up for the Seminoles at the plate, allowing the game to remain close for longer than it probably should have.
Nine hits and seven walks combined to create 17 FSU baserunners. Of those 17, nine were left on base thanks to Florida State finishing the game going 2-12 (.167) with runners in scoring position and 1-8 (.125) with two outs.
2. Drew Carlton’s clutch work in the closer role on Friday was crucial in preserving the win over Pacific. His outing Saturday night took a different path.
The junior was called upon to pitch the ninth after FSU came through with three insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth to open a 5-1 lead. In the non-save situation, Carlton gave up a single to the leadoff batter before giving up a two-run bomb to cut FSU’s lead in half.
From there, he struck out the next three batters, settling in nicely to preserve the victory, but the outing is just the latest in a run which have not fully realized Carlton’s potential in the closer role.
3. Dylan Busby, who became ill Friday evening after hitting the game-winning home run, missed the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader while still recovering. He returned for the second game of the day, but his impact was hardly positive in any way.
Busby finished the game going 0-4 with a pair of strikeouts. On the bright side, it was just the second time since the beginning of April that he was held hitless in a game he started. One game is hardly cause for concern, but if this illness puts an end to the torrid pace Busby has been on, it could spell trouble for FSU.
Saturday’s two wins improve the Seminoles to 30-18 on the year, ensuring another 30-win season, if nothing else. FSU will look to make it a clean four-game sweep of the Tigers on Sunday when true freshman Drew Parrish (4-2, 5.13 ERA) goes up against Pacific’s Ricky Reynoso (4-5, 3.90 ERA). First pitch on Sunday is set for 12 PM.