The Florida State offense did it’s job, but the Tar Heels were up to the task and manhandled FSU 16-8.
- Once again, the ’Noles fought. Down 5 runs after the 1st inning, FSU answered with 5 runs in the top of the 3rd. Jackson Lueck hit a 3-run round tripper, before Steven Wells tied it up with a 2-run double. After UNC got 1 back in the bottom of the 3rd, the Seminoles responded in the top of the 4th with a Lueck sacrifice fly. The Tar Heels got 2 in the 5th on a HR off Clayton Kwiatkowski (3-1), but the ’Noles struck back in the top of the 7th to cut the lead to 1.
- North Carolina’s bullpen has been great this year.
Florida State scratches one run across in the top of the seventh, cutting UNC's lead to 8-7. That was the first run the Tar Heels' bullpen had surrendered in 28 1/3 innings.— Pat James (@patjames24) March 23, 2018
FSU ended up plating 2 runs against that vaunted pen in the final 6 innings.
- Reese Albert was the only Seminole with more than 1 hit in the game, but it seems Jackson Lueck may finally be breaking out of his season long slump. The Jr. LF cut the lead to 2 with a 3 run home run in the 3rd, tying Nick Derr for the team lead with 4. Lueck’s average is beginning to creep up, and the FSU lineup is getting more formidable each day.
- Cole Sands saw 10 batters in the first inning and watched 5 of them cross the plate. Sands walked 2 and gave up 2 doubles and 3 singles. 37 pitches in the first inning of a double-header is certainly not the way you want to start things off. While Sands eventually gutted out 4 innings, he surrendered at least 2 base-runners in each. The UNC offense is certainly hot, but that’s now back-to-back games Sands has given up 6+ runs. And he constantly struggles to start games. It’s not what you want out of any starter, let alone your Friday starter. It’ll be interesting to see if he remains the man going forward.
- You’ll notice a theme in the downs. It’s pitching. Each pitcher gave up at least 1 earned run. The staff had 10 walks to only 4 strikeouts, 6 extra base hits (3 of which were home runs), 28 base runners and 17 hits. North Carolina did not bat in the 9th so those stats are only over 8 innings. Again, UNC has hit the ball well recently, but they played Pittsburgh (not a perennial powerhouse). Maybe it’ll end up being just one game, but FSU needs to pitch better.
- Trailing 8-7 in the bottom of the 7th, Mike Martin seemingly decided the Tar Heels needed batting practice. For some reason, Gage Hutchinson keeps getting chances. Hutchinson surrendered 7 runs in the 7th on 2 home runs. It would likely had been worse had UNC not laid down a sac bunt to move a runner from 2nd to 3rd. The redshirt junior now has 9 appearances on the season (3rd most among relievers) but has a WHIP over 3 and an ERA of 13.00. Only Shane Drohan had a higher ERA heading into this game, but he’s only pitched 0.1 innings. This isn’t a knock on Hutchinson, but it’s clearly a mismanagement by Martin. At this point, there’s little reason to pitch Hutchinson in anything resembling a close game, but he keeps chance after chance. And today, it cost Florida State any chance at coming back for an important win.
FSU falls to 18-4 (3-4 in ACC) and will face UNC later today in Game 2 of the double-header.