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3 up, 3 down: No. 9 FSU baseball beats UVA in extra innings

Once more, the ’Noles won a game on a walk-off; this time in the ACC Tournament.

Florida State hosts Stetson Steve Johnson

Don’t give FSU a chance. For the 3rd time in a week, Florida State (40-17) won a baseball game in their final at bat. This time, it was Reese Albert hitting a line drive off the right field fence to score Drew Mendoza from 1st with 2 down in the 11th.

Three up:

  • Albert not only had the winning double, he also added a single earlier in the game. The freshman outfielder now has a pair of walk-off hits in the last week, as he also had a game-winning 3-run HR against NC State Saturday. He’s now hitting .286 with 6 doubles and 7 HR and continues to improve as the season progresses.
  • Florida State’s bullpen has struggled this season, but that wasn’t the case on Tuesday. Freshman LHP Austin Pollock relieved C.J. Van Eyk after back-to-back Virginia hits to start the 4th and went on to pitch 4.1 innings of 1 hit ball. The southpaw allowed 1 of the 2 inherited runners to score, but he was able to prevent further damage even though he walked 3 without any strikeouts.
  • When Pollock finally got in trouble by loading the bases with a walk, single and hit by pitch in the top of the 8th, Clayton Kwiatkowski (4-1) was the man for the job. With just 1 out, the sophomore southpaw was able to strike out the next 2 Cavaliers on just 6 pitches, extinguishing the threat. He went on to throw 3 more scoreless innings in picking up the win. Pollock and Kwiatkowski combined to throw 8 innings, allowing just 1 hit and 0 runs!

Three down:

  • After a weekend where he collected 2 wins, FSU expected Van Eyk to give the ’Noles a quality start against UVA, but the freshman phenom struggled. He wasn’t terrible, as he didn’t give up any walks and struck out 4, but he only lasted 3+ innings, giving up 2 runs in the process, which could have been more if not for poor base-running by the Cavaliers. This criticism isn’t completely fair as Van Eyk doesn’t have a defined role (he pitched out of the bullpen twice last week), making it difficult physically/mentally to be prepared.
  • Virginia has a very talented but sometimes erratic lefty in Daniel Lynch. Both sides of him were on display as he walked 4 and gave up a few extra base hits, but FSU must do better than 12 strike outs. Rafael Bournigal, the lead off hitter, was the biggest offender, going 0-5 with 3 K’s. I know it sounds like a broken record, but there’s no good reason for the graduate transfer to be playing this much, especially against left-handed pitchers.
  • The ACC has 12 teams in the conference tournament, hoping to help the league to get as many teams as possible into the NCAA Tournament. In 2016, UNC was left out of the NCAA Tournament partly due to their absence from the ACC Tournament. Unfortunately, this results in a silly scenario where FSU plays Tuesday, but not again until Friday, while NC State plays Thursday and Friday. Making matters worse, Thursday’s Wolfpack game is meaningless, as NCSU only needs to beat FSU to advance (they hold the tie breaker over Florida State as the higher seed, despite losing the season series to the ’Noles), while UVA has already been eliminated. Not only is the tournament confusing for fans; it also minimizes the regular season (only 2 teams don’t make the ACC Tournament).



On Deck:

The Seminoles have notched another 40 win season. They look for the right to advance on Friday at 7 PM as they take on the NC State Wolfpack for the 4th time in a week.