No. 7 Florida State defeated No. 22 UCF Tuesday night at home 6-4 in the first of two games between the two teams.
- After getting shelled a week ago against Florida, Andrew Karp stifled the Knights’ bats, which have been lively as of late. In their last three-game series, the team scored 38 runs – Karp held them to three runs in 7.1 innings on the bump, his longest career start. He struck out 10 batters on the day putting him at 39 for the season, the most on the team. In the second inning, he worked his way out of a jam with the bases loaded and just one out, striking out one batter and forcing a pop out to end the inning unscathed. Karp did allow a solo shot in the fourth inning and a two-run home run in the eighth before he was pulled after 117 pitches.
- This is the first win for the Seminoles over a ranked opponent this season. Granted, this is just the second time the ’Noles have faced a top 25 team – the other being Florida, a six-run loss. A tough schedule is on the horizon with a road series against UNC, a neutral site game against No. 2 Florida and a home series against No. 15 Louisville. Showing up against top talent will be vital for Florida State during this stretch, and the team did just that tonight.
- In his first game batting leadoff this season, Nick Derr delivered. The second baseman finished with one hit, one RBI and one run scored as well as a walk. Salvatore had previously been hitting first and with his average still below .200, Derr is a more viable option to leadoff. His position in the lineup will be something to monitor in tomorrow’s game as well as in the weekend series against UNC.
- The ’Noles went cold after the fifth inning, allowing a late UCF comeback. With a 6-1 lead, Florida State went scoreless for the remainder of the game until a three-run eighth inning by the Knights made it a game. With FSU in danger of blowing this win late, Connor Grady came in the ninth to close and went three up three down.
- After hitting two home runs last week, Rhett Aplin did not show up at all tonight. The first baseman went 0-4 with a strikeout. He is one of the better hitters on this team, and this lineup relies on his production to manufacture runs. Luckily tonight, Drew Mendoza and Jackson Lueck had strong outings and picked up Aplin’s slack.
- In his past two starts, Karp has given up three home runs – the two tonight and one against Florida last week. He is now tied with Drew Parrish for the team lead in home runs allowed with four on the year. Karp is doing a good job of keeping batters’ bats off the ball, but when they do make contact, it goes deep. In Karp’s defense, the wind was certainly a factor tonight, carrying a lot of balls further than expected.
FSU improves to 17-4 with this win. Mike Martin said either CJ Van Eyk or Cobi Johnson will be on the mound tomorrow afternoon against the Knights.