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Inside the box score: FSU falls to Niagara as bats go silent

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Florida State doesn’t get one hit out of the infield on opening day

Brett Nevitt
  1. The eight men left on base doesn’t tell the whole story of FSU’s situational hitting last night. Florida State didn’t get many men on and when they did, they left them there. The ‘Noles had multiple opportunities to build a lead early against the Purple Eagles but failed to do so. FSU’s only run of the night was unearned after an errant pickoff throw. In the first inning, FSU’s leadoff man got to second with no outs, but never moved from that spot. In the third inning, the ‘Noles loaded the bases with no outs, but came up with no runs after two weak ground balls. In the eighth inning, FSU put two men on with no outs after back-to-back walks, but neither moved from those spots. The Seminoles were 2/16 with runners on and 2/11 with runners in scoring position on the evening. Florida State was also 1-9 with two outs, with the one hit coming on a drag bunt. You have to come up with two-out hits and hits with RISP to win baseball games. More importantly, when a runner gets to third with less than two outs or second with zero outs, they have to score 100% of the time unless you line out.
  2. Last season’s high K-rates for the offense carried over to Friday night. The Seminoles struck out 14 times while swinging and missing 24 times. Nine of the 14 K’s came with runners on base. Elijah Cabell accounted for 28.6% of the strikeouts as he went 0-4 with four strikeouts to pick up the Golden Sombrero on opening night. This strike out rate just can’t continue for FSU, and especially Cabell. The three-five hitters combined for eight of the strikeouts, as Robby Martin and Reese Albert also struck out twice each. You can’t be a productive team if the middle of the order doesn’t put the ball in play, plain and simple.
  3. From innings six to eight, Antonio Velez and Chase Haney faced a minimum of 9 batters while throwing just 29 pitches. The seniors also combined for a 79.3 strike percentage in their three innings of work. In the ninth inning, four FSU pitchers combined to face 9 hitters on 36 pitches. They threw strikes 44.4% of the time while walking four batters. Coming out of the bullpen in a one-run game, you have to throw strikes. Give up a solo shot rather than walk a batter. The last thing a pitcher wants to do in a one-run game is give up free bases. When you bring in a freshman for his first collegiate appearance ever with a one-run lead in front of 4,000 people and a guy that posted a 8.33 BB/9 last season, it’s hard to expect anything besides what happened last night in the ninth inning.
  4. Last night, FSU put 11 men on the base paths including four leadoff men getting aboard. With the offense struggling the way they did, I would’ve expected some more movement on the base paths to test the arm and defense of Niagara. But we saw just one stolen base attempt on the night from the Seminoles, as Nander De Sedas easily swiped second base. None of Florida State’s leadoff men were put in action on the base paths. The rest of the weekend, FSU should be looking to be more active in that area to try and kick start the offense.