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3 up, 3 down: Florida State pitching shuts down UNC Asheville, ’Noles still perfect

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Austin Pollock and CJ Van Eyk dazzle the home crowd.

NCAA Baseball: Troy at Florida State Joe Rondone-USA TODAY Sports

The No. 5 Florida State Seminoles defeated the UNC Asheville Bulldogs 4-2 on Sunday afternoon to sweep the series and remain undefeated, 11-0. Austin Pollock (2-0) and CJ Van Eyk shut down the Bulldogs offense, allowing three hits all game and striking out a combined 16 batters.

Three up:

  • Freshman phenom Austin Pollock threw six innings in his second career start and struck out nine batters and he earned the win. The left-handed pitcher ended five of his six innings pitched with strike outs and gave up just two hits, one of which was a double to left field on a ball that Cooper Swanson misread. On the season Pollock has allowed just one earned run in 16 innings pitched and has 17 strikeouts. His development into a reliable Sunday starter has been the driving force behind this Seminoles’ pitching staff.
  • Just 24 hours after playing hero with a walk-off single, Drew Mendoza saved the day once again for Florida State. After four scoreless innings, Mendoza drove in Rhett Aplin with an RBI single up the middle to put FSU back on top. He would later come around to score on a Jonathan Foster single to left field to push the lead to two runs. His RBI was his second hit of the game, after he singled in the first inning, and his ninth of the series against UNC Asheville.
  • Freshman right-handed pitcher CJ Van Eyk shined in his second outing as a Seminole. He threw three innings, struck out seven of ten batters he saw and walked none. However, the one hit he did give up was a home run to right field, but apart from the homer he was perfect. The Lutz, Florida native recorded the save and is the latest development in a deep bullpen that has been a pleasant surprise this season.

Three down:

  • Just minutes before the first pitch it was announced that Jackson Lueck would not play for undisclosed reasons. He was set to start in left field and hit second. In his absence, infielder and freshman Cooper Swanson moved to left after originally being scheduled to start at shortstop and leadoff, and Mike Salvatore played short and batted second. Lueck has been struggling at the plate as of late, but had three hits in Saturday’s win. After the game, head coach Mike Martin clarified that Lueck was experiencing pain in his shin.
  • To say Cooper Swanson had a rough day would be an understatement. He led off with a double off the wall to center field and came around to score the first run of the game, and it was all downhill from there. The aforementioned lineup change put Swanson in unfamiliar territory in the outfield and it certainly showed. He ran in on a ball that was way over his head in left field, allowing a double in the fifth inning. Later in the inning, with two outs, Swanson had a chance to make up for his err in judgment on a routine fly ball. Instead, he dropped it, allowing a run to score and the Bulldogs to tie the game. He was pulled in the seventh inning for Reese Albert after striking out in his fourth at-bat.
  • Hitting has been sporadic for the Seminoles this season and today was no different. After scoring one run in the first inning on three hits, Florida State was quiet for four innings, before rattling off three in the sixth inning and going scoreless for the remainder of the game. Another issue for this team offensively has been leaving runners on base. In today’s game, nine runners were left on, pushing the season total to 109 in 11 games, just under 10 per game. This inability to create with runners on will plague this team as the season progresses if they do not address this problem.

Next up for Florida State will be the Kansas Jayhawks (8-2) tomorrow night at 6:00 at Mike Martin Field at Dick Howser Stadium.