Typically you don’t have one-sided rivalries. After all, if one team is constantly winning then it’s not much of a rivalry. Right? Well, on Tuesday night, the Florida Gators continued their lopsided dominance of Florida State. The Gators have now won 13-out-of-14 and eight consecutive against their in-state foes.
- In his last appearance against the Gators right-hander Andrew Karp pitched a complete game, allowed one run, and struck out seven. Unfortunately, the eight inning effort was not enough to secure his team a victory. On Tuesday, Karp pitched well — given the defensive miscues behind him — throwing 77 pitches, striking out five Gators over four innings of work. The elevated pitch count was largely due to his strikeout total and the two errors behind him. His final line shows two earned runs on six hits in four innings, but he pitched better than that line might suggest. He now leads all FSU pitchers with 56 strikeouts.
- Cal Raleigh threw out two would-be base-stealers on Tuesday night. Entering tonight’s contest, the junior backstop had thrown-out just 19% of base runners this season. Of the 32 stolen base attempts against them this year, Raleigh has thrown out six runners.
- Left fielder Jackson Lueck’s seventh inning home run — his eighth of the season — lifted him passed Nick Derr for the team lead. Derr, who has outplayed Rafael Bournigal this season, started on Tuesday and went 0-for-2 with two walks. Over his last 16 games the second baseman has five home runs, 17 RBI, and 10 runs scored.
- Where we give praise we must also recognize areas of improvement. There’s no questioning Raleigh or his durability (157 consecutive starts, 153 at catcher) however, his defense has been inconsistent throughout the season. In the fourth inning, with Jonathan India on first, the FSU catcher threw wildly to second base on India’s stolen base attempt — allowing him to move to third. One pitch later the game was tied. Later in the inning, trailing 2-1, Lueck fired toward the plate in an effort to cut down the Gators’ third run of the inning but Raleigh was unable to keep the ball in front of him. The ball one-hopped in front of the Seminoles’ catcher but it was a well placed throw from the outfield that would have prevented Florida from taking a 3-1 lead.
- Three errors for the Seminoles defense — all of which were deserved. Responsible for the team’s third miscue of the night, shortstop Mike Salvatore unleashed a wild throw to first baseman Rhett Aplin. The error is charged to Salvatore, who in hind-sight probably shouldn’t have thrown the ball, however Aplin did very little to prevent the ball from getting by him. When playing against the No. 1 team in the country it is virtually impossible to expect a victory when you commit three errors, allow two stolen bases, miss your cut-off throws, and throw to the wrong bases. The Gators have won 13-of-14 and eight in a row against Florida State — and, quite frankly they deserve it because they play fundamentally sound baseball and limit their mistakes.
- Missed opportunities are preventing this FSU team from winning games. The ’Noles put the leadoff man on base in four of the first seven innings. The biggest pitfalls on Tuesday came in the sixth and seventh inning. Florida State put runners on the corners with nobody out in the sixth — and plated zero runs. Center fielder Steven Wells reached base to begin the seventh after being hit by a pitch before Salvatore grounded into the 6-3 double play. Why was this important? The next batter was Lueck — who homered for the seventh time this season. Instead of a 2-run shot, the FSU faithful celebrated a solo home run, bringing the club within two runs. In fact, every time the Seminoles plated a run, the Gators added a run in the next half-inning.