Florida State did exactly what it needed to in Tuesday’s matchup with the visiting Jacksonville Dolphins. The Seminoles scored early, often, and in droves while putting together an impressive combined pitching showing. What went well - and not so well - in FSU’s runaway 21-2 victory?
1. On a night where the Florida State lineup flashed what it is capable of when it is clicking on all cylinders, it was a balanced effort from one through nine which set the Seminoles up for success.
Eight of FSU’s nine members of the starting lineup registered at least one hit, eight different ’Noles knocked in one or more runs, and 14 scored at least one run.
The star of the show was Drew Mendoza. The freshman, who had four home runs on the season entering Tuesday, came through with a pair of homers, one of which was a grand slam that capped off FSU’s nine-run seventh inning. He finished the game with 6 RBI, three runs, and a walk.
2. After Sunday’s win, FSU head coach Mike Martin was completely unsure as to who would be his starting pitcher for Tuesday’s game against JU. When the dust had settled on Tuesday, Will Zirzow was pegged as the starter, perhaps due to being one of the few pitchers with starting experience who was available to pitch. Whatever the reasoning was, Zirzow took advantage of the opportunity, putting together an impressive, if slightly brief, outing.
Zirzow went four innings, allowing just three hits and one run. He struck out three, but also walked three in what may have been the weakest aspect of his outing. Still, Zirzow, whose ERA now sits at 3.25, has proven once again to be a reliable bullpen arm as the postseason nears.
3. Tuesday marked FSU’s second straight errorless performance in the field. Mendoza continues to grow into his role at first base, J.C. Flowers made a spectacular throw and catch to gun down a runner attempting to tag from third on a flyball hit his way, and various other Seminoles showed their capabilities in an impressive all-around defensive performance.
1. On a night where everything was going right for FSU, the only starter who finished the night hitless was second baseman Matt Henderson. Given, he extended his streak of games reaching base to 17 with a hit-by-pitch, but with all else going well around him, Henderson’s usual spark of late was missing.
2. Clayton Kwiatkowski, the first reliever out of the FSU bullpen, was not hit too hard, but struggled mightily with his control in the runaway win.
He walked four batters over two innings of work, straying from his usual steadiness out of the ‘pen, allowing one run on only one hit on account of the control issues.
3. While struggling to find a third negative takeaway, I will gripe about a personal complaint.
This game, which was called after the top of the eighth inning with both coaches agreeing due to how lopsided the score was, still went 3 hours and 39 minutes. Had the two teams played the full nine, this could very well have surpassed the four-hour mark. With much of that delay coming in the later innings with the game well in hand, you can’t help but consider the fact that FSU could have saved some of those runs for this weekend’s series against offensively minded Wake Forest.
That series begins Friday evening with first pitch slated for 6 PM.