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3 up, 3 down: FSU starts 2020 with series win over Niagara

Conor Grady and Robby Martin lead the way to a rainy day W

Florida State picked up their first series win of the season with a 11-1 win over Niagara on Sunday morning as rain fell for the entirety of the game. FSU put up double digit runs for the second day in a row as they had 11 hits and three extra base hits. The Seminoles also drew 12 free passes. On the mound, FSU gave up just four hits, while striking out 15 and giving up just one free pass. After an opening day loss, picking up a series W was huge for the ‘Noles and Mike Martin Jr to start the season.

Three Up

  • Conor Grady got his first start of the 2020 season and showed his ability to work efficiently, as he often did last year. In 5 innings, the junior threw just 65 pitches and put up a strike percentage of 74%. On the day, the RHP gave up just 2 hits while not allowing any free passes. After a bit of a struggle in the first inning, Grady settled in for three straight 1-2-3 innings. The slider looked untouchable on the day as it produced 10+ swing-and-misses on the outing. The Tampa-native also worked fast on the mound which helps to keep the defense engaged. If he continues to miss bats at such a high rate, he could see his draft stock rise as the season goes on. It was a spotless first start for the junior.
  • Robby Martin started out slow on opening day, going 0/4 with 2 K’s. Since then, all he’s done is hit, going 3-6 with 5 RBI’s, 2 doubles, and a walk. Robby has done a really good job of looking to the opposite field with fastballs and crushing off-speed pitches to his pull side. Tyler Martin once again showed why he deserves the leadoff spot to start the season, going 13 with 2 RBI’s and a double. Dylan Simmons did make an out today, but it didn’t happen till his 6th career plate appearance. Simmons started the day with an RBI-single that was ripped off the bat and finished it with his second two-bagger of the season.
  • The coaching staff has stressed using the opposite field all offseason and the last two days they’ve done that well after barely utilizing it opening day. In the first inning alone, FSU used the opposite field 3/7 times they put the ball in play. The opposite field approach is important because it keeps the hitter from lunging out on the off-speed pitch and gives them the ability to sit on those pitches. FSU’s hitters are good enough to wait back and flick fastballs to the opposite field.

Three Down

  • In each of my first two inside the box score articles, I’ve touched on the importance of situational and 2-out hitting. FSU was unimpressive in that department despite scoring 11 runs today. Florida State six four pop ups or strikeouts in the game with a runner on third and less the 2 outs. Luckily for FSU, one of those pop ups dropped so they still got a run home, but a good result doesn’t always mean it’s a quality at-bat. FSU also went 0/7 with 2 outs today. With a runner on third and less than 2 outs, FSU has to avoid more strikeouts and pop ups.
  • Nander De Sedas early season struggles continued on Sunday. The sophomore picked up his first hit of the season and two RBI’s, but he had a pretty awful day in the field. In just four defensive chances, the shortstop made two errors, which brought his total up to three errors in three games. His first error came on a flatfooted throw that was short of first and the second came on a fielding error where he just couldn’t get around the ball in time. Florida State cannot win baseball games consistently if their everyday SS continues to make errors at this rate.
  • Reese Albert has looked a tick behind at the plate to start the season. Albert picked up his first hit of the season today, but it came on a pop up that fell in between the second basemen and RF. After three games, the junior is 1/7 at the plate with 4 K’s and 3 walks. I think a lot of his struggles are due to missing the fall season and not seeing live pitching till this spring. He looks behind on fastballs and his timing is a click off. I think as the season goes on he’ll get that timing back and be back to his normal self at the plate.