Florida State baseball and Mike Martin Jr. took the field in front of the public for one last time before opening day on Saturday evening. After an autograph session, the ‘Noles took part in an 8-inning scrimmage which saw the pitchers dominate, as they have most of the fall and early spring. The Garnet team went onto win the scrimmage 2-1 on a perfect night for baseball at Dick Howser stadium.
Shane Drohan got the start for the gold team in his last tuneup for the season. The junior started the night out hot, striking out the side in order on 16 pitches. Drohan worked 92-94 MPH with the fastball, 83-84 with the changeup, and 79-81 with the curveball. On the night, he gave up just one hit, but started to struggle with the command again. In four innings, the lefty walked three and hit another batter. He still gave up no earned runs as he got swings-and-misses from righties and lefties, striking out six batters.
Dylan Simmons got the start on the bump for Garnet as he touched the mound in front of the public for the first time as a Seminole. The freshman worked 90-93 MPH with the fastball, 80-83 with a sharp slider, and 81-83 with a changeup against lefties. He struggled to find command early, but settled in as the night went on. He gave up just two hits and no runs in four innings of work. Simmons could be a top option to start midweek games for the Seminoles. As he may be in the starting lineup, he’ll likely be used as a starter instead of a reliever throughout the season. Simmons may be the Seminoles’ only two-way player.
Freshman Brandon Walker came in relief for the gold side and looked much improved from the fall. He struggled with command in his first inning of work, walking two, but worked efficient and effective in the sixth inning. The fastball sat 92-94 MPH and the rest of the arsenal looked much different from the fall. After throwing a power slider in fall as his out pitch, the RHP went to an 11-5 curveball that he throws for strikes at a much higher rate. He also effectively used a changeup against lefties in the low 80’s. The arm speed and physical presence down the hill is impressive from the Tallahassee-native.
Clayton Kwiatkowski came out of the pen for the garnet side and ran into some early trouble because of his defense. The gold side plated a run on two errors and a walk in his first inning of work, but he bounced back in the sixth inning. Clay K struck out the side in order as he was nailing his spots. Carter Smith’s glove barely moved as the junior consistently painted both sides of the plate. His fastball also had an uptick since the fall, sitting 88-90 MPH with the fastball. The veteran reliever looks fresh and ready for the season to start.
Davis Hare got the last two innings of work for the Garnet side, giving up one run after a walk and a wild pitches. Despite giving up the run, Hare’s stuff looked the most effective it’s been since he got to FSU. The fastball worked 92-94 MPH in the bottom half of the zone with sink. He worked a 1-2-3 eighth as he got swings-and-misses from lefties with his nasty splitter.
The most impressive outing of the night came from Tyler Ahearn as he closed the game out for the gold side. The junior didn’t give up a baserunner in two innings of work while striking out five, including striking out the side in the seventh. The fastball-slider combo made right-handed hitters look silly. The fastball sat 91-94 MPH and was kept all around the zone. The slider was also consistent around the zone, coming in at 83-86 MPH. If he continues to go in this direction, he’ll be a weapon in the pen.
Not many FSU hitters had a good night, but Tyler Martin might’ve had the best. The freshman didn’t produce any hits, but he put a good swing on the ball in 3⁄4 at-bats. The freshman had three hard hit balls, which had an exit-velocity of at least 92 MPH, including driving a ball to the RCF warning track.
Cooper Swanson also had a good night at the dish. The junior started his night with an opposite field single that was 93.5 MPH off the bat. Instead of trying to pull a low, outside pitch, he went with it with a simple approach. Swanson also produced the highest exit velo on the night at 106 MPH on a foul ball. More swings like this will produce a good season for Swanson.
Logan Lacey put together a couple good at-bats on the night. Dropping a single into LF in one at-bat and ripping a ball to third in another. He produced two hard-hit balls over 90 MPH off the bat, including a 98.2 MPH exit velo.
Tyrell Brewer showed why he should be an option for the FSU’s starting lineup, as he created havoc on the base paths, leading to the winning run. After working a 10-pitch walk, the freshman easily stole second, before coming around the bases on two wild pitches. He also forced an error on a push bunt earlier in the game. Brewer’s speed is elite and game-changing.
Florida State is going to drag bunt when the third basemen is playing back, no matter the situation. Every time the third basemen played back behind the base, players would look for a first-pitch bunt. Not only is a well-executed bunt a free base when a third baseman is playing back, but it can also cause an unforced throw from third basemen which leads to errors. Also, showing the will to bunt forces infielders to play in, and leaving more gaps on the infield.
The ‘Noles and Mike Metcalf hosted 2021 commit Edwin Arroyo-Agosto on Saturday evening. The Puerto Rico-native also had a lengthy conversation with Nander De Sedas before the scrimmage. Keeping the #2 ranked prospect in PR will be a priority for the 2021 recruiting class.
This may be because it was a scrimmage after a two-hour autograph session, but FSU’s defense looked lazy last night, plain and simple. Behind the plate, Florida State catchers stabbed at balls in the dirt all night instead of dropping and blocking, leading to a ridiculous amount of wild pitches. In the infield, FSU’s defense made five errors on night. The throws across the infield consistently came up short and the first basemen couldn’t come up with picks all night. The ‘Noles may have just been going through the motions because it was a scrimmage, but it was a porous showing for FSU’s position players on Saturday night.
The Seminoles will have five days to figure it out on defense before the season opener against Niagara on Friday at 6:00 PM.
For the rest of the hitting videos from last night, you can check out this playlist.
For pregame infield videos, click here for another playlist.