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3 up, 3 down: ‘Noles handle Cards

Florida State scored early and often to take the opening game against Louisville.

7th ranked Florida State put the game away early against 20th ranked Louisville on the back of impressive hitting at the top and bottom of the order. Cole Sands pitched well over all to secure the 9-4 win for the ‘Noles.

Three up:

  • Cole Sands started off shaky, hitting a batter, walking another and getting called for a balk before giving up a 2 out single to put Louisville up 2. The start of the 2nd inning wasn’t any better as the Cardinals led off the inning with a home run. After that though the sophomore settled in quite nicely. Sands pitched 7 innings with only the 2 walks to 8 strike outs. No Cardinal even reached 3rd base until the 9th. The junior did not start the season as the ace of this staff and has struggled a bit in that role but this game was definitely encouraging.
  • FSU’s 3, 4 and 5 hitters where just 1-11 on the day but the rest of the lineup was dialed in. Mike Salvatore was 2 for 4 on the game with 2 runs and 2 RBI and now has 6 game hit streak going while still maintaining good plate discipline. While he struggled with his bat early in the year Salvatore is rounding into a very nice lead off hitter for FSU.
    After sitting out the 2nd game of the Notre Dame series Jackson Lueck has hit safely in 8 games now and is really starting to square the ball up. Lueck ties for the team lead in home runs, has scored the most runs on the team and is 3rd in RBI. As the weather has warmed so have Salvatore and Lueck’s bats.
  • Florida State continues to shuffle it’s lineup and with J.C. Flowers expected to miss 6-8 weeks FSU will give many of it’s younger players spots to shine. Cooper Swanson got the call to start in center field and didn’t disappoint. The sophomore went 1-2 with 2 walks and 2 runs scored. Similarly FSU continues to look for a solid contributor at DH instead of constantly looking for the hot bat and has maybe found one in Jared Herron. Herron was 2-4 with 2 runs scored. These 2 combined with Salvatore and Lueck’s day were the reason FSU put up 9 runs on Louisville. While Herron and Swanson have only just over 20 ABs on the season both freshmen are hitting around .350 and slugging over .500. If they can cut down on their strike outs both could be stars not just in the future but in the present.

Three down:

  • Drew Mendoza is batting over .380. Drew Mendoza has not hit safely in the last 3 games and has just 2 hits in the last 5 games. In the 3rd inning with the bases loaded and 1 out Mendoza went down swinging. This slump won’t last but a 0-5 night with 2 strike outs is not what you want out of your 3 hole hitter.
  • FSU has been quite good in the field as of late. As a team the Noles ranked 40th before the game in fielding percentage at a clip of .977. Unfortunately that is going to drop as FSU mishandled the ball twice. Mendoza committed his team leading 8th error on the year and Raleigh his 4th. While neither of these errors cost FSU the game the regularity at which they happen is cause for a little concern.
  • With the Seminoles up 6 runs heading into the 7th and Cole Sands already over 100 pitches it would have been nice to see a reliever come in but Sands was sent back out to the mound. He pitched well that inning and ended the 7th on only a handful of pitches but why? Running a pitch count up makes sense late in the season when a team is preparing for a post season push and wants to see what their pitchers have left in them but half way through the season innings like this are better spent on the pen. FSU didn’t use any relievers in mid-week against the Gators so they had a full pen but they decided to run Sands out there for another inning.

The Seminoles are back in action Friday night starting at 6 PM and the series finale is Saturday afternoon at 1 PM.