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3 up, 3 down: No. 11 FSU baseball hands Mercer first loss of 2020

Tyler Martin sends the Bears home with a walk-off single.

Brett Nevitt

After a short two-game losing streak, the ‘Noles are back in the win column with a 9-8 walk-off win in 11 innings over previously unbeaten Mercer. After holding a 5-3 lead, Florida State’s bullpen gave up five runs to fall behind 8-5 in the eighth inning, but a late-game rally aided by errors gave Tyler Martin a chance to walk the game off in the 11th inning:

Three up

  • Elijah Cabell finds himself right back in this first position. One may ask: “how is a guy who’s hitting below .235 always in this top spot?” Because he picks his spots and produces like not many others when he puts barrel to ball. In the third inning, Cabell deposited his fifth homer of the season over the RF fence. All five of his home runs have been multi-run bombs and four of five have been opposite-field shots. Cabell leads the team with 24 RBI and is the only hitter with more than one homer. With a short porch in RF, he doesn’t even have to make great contact to get the ball over the RF fence; he’s just that strong. The batting average really doesn’t matter for Cabell if he can continue to produce the way he has thus far.
  • Tyler Ahearn had arguably his best performance at Florida State. Ahearn tossed 3.2 innings of one run ball, giving up just two hits and one walk, while striking out a career-high five batters. So far this season, the RHP has compiled a 2.16 ERA and struck out 11 batters. Ahearn’s struggles in his first two years have strictly been tied to his lack of command. Since reaching campus, he’s always had the raw stuff to be a dominant pitcher. If he can continue to pound the zone, he’ll be a top arm out of the pen all season. Davis Hare was also dominant and produced his best outing as a Seminole. Hare worked 3.1 innings of scoreless baseball, giving up just one hit and one walk. The RHP picked up his first career win as he finished the game.
  • Mat Nelson had himself quite the game, reaching base in four of his six plate appearances. Nelly started the game with a 1-out double deep into the LCF gap, before coming around for the Seminoles’ first run. The catcher was also hit by two pitches and scored another run. After a 2-4 night, his average is now up to .256 after starting slowly. Logan Lacey also had a two-hit game, his first ever multi-hit game at FSU. He reached base in three of six PA’s. Lacey could turn into an everyday starter in RF if he continues putting quality AB’s together.

Three down

  • FSU’s pitching staff has been great to start the season. The one flaw has been avoiding the big hit. Coming into the game, FSU was giving up more than two XBH per game. In the second inning, Bill Knight unloaded on a Bryce Hubbart fastball for a solo home run. In the next inning, Colby Thomas followed suit on a 90 MPH 2-0 fastball from Dylan Simmons for another solo homer. The solo homers don’t hurt too bad, but if FSU starts giving up extra-base hits with runners on, they’ll be in trouble, and that’s what got them today. With a 5-3 lead, Jonah Scolaro gave up a three-run homer to Brandon Michie, giving Mercer the lead. The next inning, Thomas smoked a hanging slider for his second homer of the day, this time a two-run bomb.
  • Nander De Sedas was moved back to shortstop on Sunday after making no errors at second base in three games. De Sedas didn’t have an awful game at short, but his eighth error of the season cost FSU another run. In the fourth, De Sedas charged on a slow roller and fielded it cleanly, but never got a grip on the ball, and his throw skipped past Carter Smith, bringing home a Mercer run. The errors aren’t coming at the rate they were earlier in the season, but they’re still happening far too frequently. De Sedas is their best option long-term, and I’d be surprised if he’s moved again after a terrible stint for Jackson Greene.
  • Reese Albert had a rough game, once again. The junior went 0-4 at the plate with four strikeouts (and two walks). He also left four men on base. He’s still reaching base at an above-average rate, but has hurt the team with numerous strikeouts, and an .095 average with runners in scoring position. He’s already been dropped in the lineup once and could see another move if he doesn’t get back in rhythm soon.