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3 up, 3 down: FSU baseball victorious on opening day, trounces Xavier

Stellar pitching and big bats get it done for the ’Noles.

NCAA Baseball: College World Series-Florida State vs LSU Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

New season, new video board, same Seminoles. On Opening Day at Mike Martin Field at Dick Howser Stadium, No. 5 Florida State took care of business against Xavier, defeating the Musketeers 11-1.

Three up:

  • The Seminoles lineup delivered from top to bottom today, racking up 11 runs on thirteen hits. Nine batters had hits and eight players scored in the game. The lead that FSU maintained throughout the game allowed several bench players to see at-bats and time in the field. Mike Salvatore drew two walks in the leadoff spot in his first game in garnet and gold while Rhett Aplin and Cal Raleigh each drew two as well for a total of 10 walks for the team.
  • Nick Derr had a huge day, following up a strike out in his first plate appearance with a home run over the right field fence, the second of his career. Derr added a single as well as a walk and scored two runs on the day. He was the only FSU player with two hits and two runs scored.
  • Following a dominant showing by Holton in 4.2 innings pitched, the bullpen was nearly perfect, save for an unearned run scored as a result of an error. Andrew Karp threw 1.1 innings and struck out two of the five batters he faced, he also earned the win. Following up Karp was Clayton Kwiatkowski who also struck out two of the five batters he saw. To close, Cobi Johnson came in and K’d four in two innings to put away the Musketeers.

Three down:

  • Tyler Holton had been dealing up until he was visited on the mound by a team trainer in the fifth inning and promptly left the game, clutching his arm as he headed to the dugout. RHP Andrew Karp replaced Holton, who headed straight to the clubhouse following his departure. The junior LHP had a no-hit bid going through four innings before surrendering a double. This was after he retired 12 straight batters following an error to start the game. The southpaw went 4.2 innings, striking out six of the 17 batters he faced. Later in the game Holton returned to the dugout and was seen doing arm stretches. Head coach Mike Martin said after the game that Holton will undergo an MRI due to tightness in his arm.
  • Although the Seminoles’ bats were alive today, the team struggled to produce timely hits. In total, FSU left 14 runners stranded on the base path. Salvatore and Raleigh accounted for eight of those runners left on base, not the kind of crunch-time production this team needs out of its leadoff hitter and fifth batter.
  • Drew Mendoza recorded an error on a routine ground ball in the first at-bat of the game. Luckily that error did not turn into a run as Holton retired the side, but later in the game, an error cost FSU the shutout. Rafael Bournigal botched a ground ball in the seventh inning, allowing a Xavier runner to advance to third and the batter to reach first. On the ensuing at-bat, the Musketeers scored their first run of the game on a sacrifice fly to center field. These mistakes can and will cost the Seminoles games down the stretch.

Tomorrow afternoon the Seminoles and Musketeers will be back on the diamond at 1:00 for the second of three games in this series.