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3 up, 3 down: Rally falls short, FSU loses to Notre Dame

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Seminoles have been grounded after four consecutive losses.

Nick Derr
Nick Derr
Photo by Larry Novey

After dropping three spots, to No. 7 in the country, the Florida State Seminoles, in the midst of a three-game losing streak, hosted the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on Friday night. Cole Sands (4-1; 4.40) struggled throughout the night and Notre Dame belted their way to an 8-7 victory — giving the ’Noles their fourth loss in seven days.

Three up:

  • Nick Derr has just 23 at-bats this season. However, he’s homered twice which gives him a team-best 8.6% HR/AB (min 20 AB) rate. His has just five hits on the season, but Derr made a case for more playing time with his 2-for-4 performance, driving in two runs and scoring a pair as well. Perhaps most deserving of more playing time, Jared Herron now has a .429 batting average and three of his last four hits (HR, 2 2B) are for extra bases.
  • The second home run of the season for Drew Mendoza — a line drive shot over the right field fence while trailing in the fourth — made the score 4-2 Notre Dame. The sophomore third baseman joins Jackson Lueck, Cal Raleigh, Rhett Aplin — and now Derr — as team-leaders (2 HR each) in the home run department.
  • Keeping with the long ball, Steven Wells helped FSU rally to within one run after launching his first home run of the season — a 3-run shot in the eighth inning. After staking Notre Dame to an 8-2 lead, the Garnet and Gold posted five-unanswered runs to bring the game within a run heading into the ninth.

Three down:

  • A third-inning leadoff double by Derr, followed by a Herron walk, led to an error by Notre Dame starter Scott Tully — allowing Derr to score — before ultimately the rally stalled. With runners on first and third with nobody out, Lueck, the No. 2 hitter, failed to bring in the run. On the next pitch, Aplin grounded into a 6-3 double play that ended the inning. The top-of-the-order guys (1-through-4) were a combined 0-for-16 on the night.
  • Sands had more first-inning struggles against the Irish. He’s allowed base runners in the first inning of every start this season. And, entering the Notre Dame series, three of his six runs allowed came during the oppositions first at bat. On Friday, Sands, after receiving some help from his defense, was able to get out of the first inning unscathed after allowing a lead-off double and a walk. However, the home run ball did him in on Friday. He allowed a grand slam to Matt Vierling in the third inning plus a 3-run shot to Jake Johnson and solo-blast to Nick Podkuhl in the seventh. Notre Dame scored four runs in each of those innings and FSU could not overcome the deficit. His ERA nearly doubled (from 2.25) after allowing eight earned over 6 23 innings pitched.
  • With an 0-for-5 showing against the conference-rival Fighting Irish, Lueck is now 0-for-16 over the Seminoles’ four-game losing streak. His .197 batting average is not ideal from the second hitter in a lineup. You’ve already seen head coach Mike Martin shuffle different guys into the leadoff spot, perhaps it’s time he entertain the thought of dropping his left fielder a few spots.