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3 up, 3 down: Pollock struggles with command, ’Noles fall in finale against Cardinals

’Noles unable to capture sweep against Louisville.

Just 10 wins away from becoming the all-time winningest coach in NCAA history, Manager Mike Martin called on freshman Austin Pollock to get Florida State its first ACC series-sweep of the season on Saturday afternoon at Dick Howser Stadium.

Struggles with Pollock’s command forced Martin to call on the bullpen early. Despite six strong innings from the relief core, Louisville stalled FSU’s efforts for a sweep with a 6-1 victory in the series finale.

Three Up

  • Having struggled early this season, left fielder Jackson Lueck continues an impressive turnaround to his 2018 campaign. After his eight-game hit streak was snapped on Friday night, the Orlando native didn’t waste much time before getting back into the hit column. Louisville starting pitcher Nick Bennett was dominant through three innings, holding FSU hitless, before Lueck led off the fourth with a base hit to right field. He later scored giving FSU their first run of the day — a sac-fly off the bat of Cal Raleigh.
  • CJ Van Eyk pitched a very impressive six innings in relief of Pollock — allowing just two hits. After appearing in only one of the team’s first 10 games this season, the newcomer has pitched quite well throughout his 20 13 innings this season. His six innings of one run ball on Saturday now give him a 0.87 ERA over his last two outings. On the season, the Steinbrenner High School (Fla.) product has 20 strikeouts in as many innings. The biggest area of improvement for Van Eyk is with his command — he’s allowed 13 free passes this season.
  • Florida State started slowly this season in conference play, having lost two-of-three against Wake Forest earlier this month. However, since then the Seminoles have won three consecutive series’ (Notre Dame, North Carolina, Louisville) against Atlantic Coast Conference foes.

Three Down

  • Leadoff base runners and early-game struggles are an issue for the FSU starting rotation. Cole Sands on Thursday and Pollock on Saturday, both were unable to keep the opposition off the board in the first two frames. Pollock surrendered a leadoff walk to Josh Stowers in the first inning, he later scored on a groundout. In the second frame, the Tallahassee native gave up a single to Danny Oriente, who eventually scored on a groundball double-play, to start the inning. The Cardinals scored first in all three games of the Thursday-Saturday series. Oriente later doubled to put Louisville up 5-0 in the third inning.
  • Cardinals base runners successfully stole four bases on Saturday. Raleigh has allowed 16 stolen bases in 22 attempts this year. The entire FSU roster has only attempted to steal 13 times this season. However, the combination of Pollock and Van Eyk walking the speedy Stowers on three occasions didn’t help Raleigh’s cause. The Cardinals’ center fielder now has 13 steals on the season. ’Noles pitching combined for seven walks in the series finale.
  • When the season started, the country was on notice — Florida State had one of the best weekend rotations in the nation. Fast forward through half the season: The ’Noles are playing without their ace, Tyler Holton, and the other returning starters have been inconsistent. As it stands right now, their weekday starter, Andrew Karp has been the best pitcher this season. It remains to be seen how long the Sands, Drew Parrish, Pollock combination will continue to garner weekend duties. If Karp continues to perform well, he could join the weekend rotation before the end of the regular season. Plus, with the recent success of Van Eyk, coupled with his lofty expectations, he too could work his way into the mix by season’s end.