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3 up, 3 down: No. 12 FSU beats Cincy behind late-game surge

‘Noles win opener behind big blast from Elijah Cabell

2019 Florida State Baseball Season Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

It was another slow start for FSU on Friday night, but the Seminoles showed their ability to bounce back, once again. After getting behind 3-0 and having no hits through five innings, the Florida State offense produced 11 runs on eight hits. Florida State took game one by a score of 11-4 after posting three crooked numbers in the last three innings on the offensive side of the ball.

Three Up

  • Elijah Cabell provided the light show for FSU on Friday night with his first home run of the season. After taking a called first strike, Cabell unloaded on a breaking ball for a three-run bomb, giving FSU its first lead in the sixth inning. The at-bats have been much better for Cabell this year (since opening day), but the results hadn’t followed. He showcased his raw opposite-field power with an inside-out swing that put the ball way past the right-center fence. If he can continue to use an opposite-field approach, it’ll be a productive sophomore season for Elijah.
  • Reese Albert has had a really slow start to the season, coming into tonight’s game just 1-12. However, the junior has put good swings on the ball. Albert finally saw a line drive drop for a hit in the 6th inning, as he roped a double to RF. The lefty added another double in the eighth inning, as he sent another ball down the RF line. Tonight could get FSU’s 3-hole hitter going after a slow start to the season.
  • The bullpen was lights out, once again, on Friday night. Clayton Kwiatkowski relieved Van Eyk and stranded two men on base in both the fourth and fifth innings. Tyler Ahearn gave up one unearned run, but he threw efficiently and in control. The junior recorded three outs on just nine pitches (only two balls). Chase Haney continued to dominate, working around his first walk of the season for a scoreless inning. The only blemish to the pen was a leadoff home run given up by Davis Hare, but the JUCO transfer bounced back with consecutive K’s before a weak grounder. Bryce Hubbart finished off the Bearcats with a 1-2-3 inning. Jimmy Belanger’s pen put up seven strikeouts (against one walk), while allowing just four hits and one earned run in 5.1 innings of work.

Three Down

  • CJ Van Eyk simply didn’t have it tonight. The righty struggled right out of the gate as Jace Mercer ripped a leadoff double on the second pitch of the game. After that, the junior lost his command and rhythm, as he gave up two free passes in the first. Another leadoff hit and two more free passes in the second brought in his first earned run of the night. The RHP was taken out with two outs in the fourth after his fourth walk. He finished the night with a line of 3.2 IP, 5 hits, 1 ER, 4 walks, 1 HBP, and 3 K. Everyone has off-nights, but the best pitchers limit the damage when they’re off, and CJ accomplished that tonight. However, FSU needs more efficiency/production out of its ace going forward.
  • FSU’s defense produced most of the Cincinnati runs on the night. Two of Cincinnati’s four runs came off of Florida State errors. In the first inning, an errant throw from Mat Nelson brought in a run before a missed catch by Cooper Swanson led to a run in the sixth inning. The ‘Noles aren’t giving up many runs, but when they do, they’re either unearned or reach on a free pass. On the night, FSU made three errors. The rate of errors from the infield has to go down if this team wants to be successful in the long run.
  • Half of FSU’s first 12 outs came by way of called third strikes. This problem is a carry over from Tuesday night’s game when the ‘Noles had six backwards K’s on the night. When you don’t take the bat off your shoulder, nothing can happen. There’s a difference between working walks and looking for walks. The Seminoles finished the night with seven strikeouts looking. FSU needs to get the bats off the shoulders and be ready to hit.