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3 up, 3 down: Seminoles start ACC play with win over Wake

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FSU baseball pounces on highly-regarded Wake prospect.

Larry Novey

The Florida State Seminoles entered ACC play with an undefeated 13-0 record. However, they had yet to face a pitcher as good as the one on the mound for Wake Forest on Friday. The ’Noles had their struggles early but were able to come through with a 7-3 victory over the Demon Deacons.

Three up

  • For the second game in a row the Seminoles picked up a home run. After 11 games, the club only had three long-balls. They’ve now equaled that total in the last two games. Jackson Lueck’s two-run homer in the seventh inning broke a 2-2 tie and kick-started a five-run inning. Drew Mendoza added two RBI while going 1-for-4 on the night.
  • Cole Sands did exactly what you would like your Friday night starter to do. He pitched six innings, allowed two runs, and struck out a career-high nine Demon Deacons. His previous high, eight strikeouts, was recorded on May 27, 2017 during an ACC Tournament game against Duke. With a double-header scheduled for Saturday, it’s important to minimize the use of bullpen arms. Sands made Head Coach Mike Martin’s job a little easier by working six full innings.
  • Not only was Friday the first conference game of the season for FSU, it also marked the biggest test for Seminoles’ hitters. Baseball America ranks Wake Forest senior Griffin Roberts as the No. 80 prospect in their Top-200 MLB Draft Prospects list. Roberts, according to Michael Lananna, is “in the conversation” when discussing the best breaking-balls in college baseball. Despite striking out 10 times, Florida State got to Roberts for six runs on seven hits, including five walks.

Three down

  • Throughout the season, the Seminoles have been extremely inconsistent with runners in scoring position. For example, FSU started out 0-for-9 with RISP on Friday before finishing 3-for-7 in the later innings. Yes, the ’Noles got to Wake’s top-prospect for two runs over six-plus innings, however neither of those runs came courtesy of a base hit. In fact, Lueck’s go-ahead home run in the seventh was their first base hit with runners in scoring position.
  • Squandered opportunities are limiting the offensive efficiency of this team. Florida State put three runners on in the first inning and two runners on in the third inning, yet remained scoreless entering the fourth. In total, the ’Noles left eight runners on base — four of those were in the first three innings.
  • In what will remind many of the 2015 ALDS between the Texas Rangers and Toronto Blue Jays, Cal Raleigh found himself on the wrong end of a Top-10 list.

With Wake’s Johnny Aiello batting, Raleigh attempted a pick-off throw to third base — the problem was that Aiello was in the way. The FSU catcher threw the ball off of the Demon Deacon third basemen’s helmet, allowing D.J. Poteet to score from third.