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3 up, 3 down: No. 13 FSU baseball stages late comeback to remain unbeaten

’Noles use long-ball in comeback win.

Joe Rondone-USA TODAY Sports

Florida State (5-0) found itself down early against Youngstow State, but the Seminoles rallied behind timely home runs and stellar relief pitching to win by a score of 4-2 in game one of the weekend series. The ’Noles are back on the diamond against the Penguins Saturday afternoon with a doubleheader, due to predicted inclement weather on Sunday.

Three Up:

  • In games like Friday’s, you rely on your best players to produce. Drew Mendoza, the Seminoles’ best player, hit a game-tying home run in the sixth inning, the 18th of his career, tops amongst current players. Every pundit under the sun predicted freshman phenom Nander De Sedas to be FSU’s best newcomer and battle for ACC top freshman. He hasn’t disappointed, and the switch-hitter came through in the clutch Friday, slugging the first HR of his college career in the 7th inning, an opposite-field shot that gave the Seminoles their first lead and proved to be the difference.
  • The Florida State bullpen has surrendered just two earned runs through 21.1 innings this season. Their dominance continued with JUCO transfer Antonio Velez allowing only two hits across four shutout innings. J.C. Flowers closed out the game with two strikeouts in the ninth inning to pick up his first career save. The duo faced the minimum over the final four frames.
  • Through five games in 2017, the ’Noles committed eight errors. They cut that total in half last season. In 2019, the Seminoles’ defense has made just one error, and the staff appears to have finally placed an importance on defense with a strong lineup through the middle of the field. One of the best defensive plays in the young season came in the top of the ninth with a runner on first, and the potential tying run at the plate. With one out freshman catcher Matheu Nelson made the following throw:

Flowers struck out the next batter, and Florida State remained undefeated.

Three Down:

  • When you’re expected to compete for a national title, you expect more out of your ace. LHP Drew Parrish allowed a two-run HR in the first after issuing a two-out walk, putting Florida State in an early hole. The junior bounced back, allowing only one more hit over the next three innings but labored somewhat, as he threw 74 pitches in just four innings. It’s unfair to judge a pitcher based on the first nine innings of the season, but you’d like to see your No. 1 give you more.
  • Leadoff hitter Mike Salvatore has been everything you could ask for early in the season, reaching based in half of his plate appearances entering Friday’s game. But in Game 1 of the weekend series, he saw just six pitches in his four plate at bats. If the second baseman wants to keep his spot at the top of the order, he has to consistently work the count better.
  • The Seminoles’ offense success is predicated on their ability to wear down pitchers by taking pitches and earning walks. Over the last decade, Florida State has either led the country in walks or been in top-3 by season’s end. On Friday afternoon, FSU’s plate discipline was not up to par walking only twice, while striking out five times.