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Notes from Florida State baseball’s Garnet and Gold game

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Gold team takes home the win on a day of competitive AB’s.

Reese Albert smashes a two-strike changeup over the RF fence
Larry Novey/FSU athletics

Florida State baseball wrapped up their fall ball this afternoon with their annual Garnet and Gold baseball game. After weeks of scrimmages, the ‘Noles had a competitive, back-and-forth game today. We saw power pitching and power hitting. The pitching staff will still be the strength of this team, but the hitters showed that they’re going to be an extremely deep lineup in 2021. After a four run ninth inning, the Gold team took home an 8-5 win. Here’s our notes from the game:

  • Vince Smith has had a good fall and put the exclamation point on it today in a big way. The freshman had three hits, including two doubles. He’s shown an advanced approach all fall, and you saw that in his hits, as he took all three to the back side. He lets the ball get deep, which allows him more time to see and react to pitches. He had an error in the first inning, but made good play after good play at short stop the rest of the game. Short term, his way into the lineup will likely be at second, but he could be the future at SS for FSU.
  • Conor Grady got the start on the bump for the Garnet team. Grady gave up a leadoff single, but settled in quickly. The junior followed the single with three strikeouts for a scoreless first. He’s gotten better and better with each of his outings this fall. His last two outings are the best he’s looked since his start in the Athens Regional in 2019. His fastball is sharper, sitting 91-92 MPH, and being located consistently. He’s re-found his slider, which is his out-pitch, at 83-85 MPH. When he executes, Grady is an extremely reliable pitcher. I’d be surprised if he’s not in the weekend rotation if he continues on the road he’s on now.
  • Reese Albert continued his red hot tear this fall with a home run over the RF fence off Garrett Mathes. It was Albert’s 5th homer in the last ten scrimmages. He’s taken advantage on mistake pitches over the middle third of the plate. Tonight’s HR showed the raw pop in his bat, as he got under a two-strike CH, but was still able to push it out of the ball park with a 100 MPH exit velocity and 351 feet of carry. Albert is going to put up big power numbers in 2021.
  • Freshman Ross Dunn has the potential to be a really good arm for the Seminoles. The southpaw has a powerful fastball, sitting in the 92-94 MPH range tonight. He also showcased a hard-biting curveball in the 81-82 MPH range. Dunn still has some room to add to a big 6’3 frame. He has broad shoulders and gets downhill with ease. With some continued development of his fastball command, he could be a sneaky contender for a weekend spot. Either way, he has a bright future and should see innings as a true freshman.
  • Casey Asman went back-to-back with Albert as he got all of a fastball and drove it over the RF fence. He produced a 106 exit velocity on the homer, as the ball carried 355 feet. Asman has consistently hit the ball hard this entire fall, against all different arms. He has an easy, repeatable swing with a short load and quick hands. He is a gap-to-gap, line drive hitter. With more production like this, the JUCO transfer will carve himself a large role in 2021.
  • Carson Montgomery was on top of his electric stuff tonight. The fastball sat 94-96 MPH, while touching 97, with real sinking life on it. He added a cutter to his arsenal tonight, which sat 90-91 MPH. He also used his high 80’s changeup and low 80’s slider effectively. He showed more consistent control tonight, but struggled to keep the ball out of the middle of the zone, which led to a couple hard hit balls. Every time he touches the mound, you can see the natural ability and potential. The development of his command and refinement of his off speed will determine his role in 2021.
  • Nander De Sedas has consistently hit the ball hard since ditching switch hitting a few weeks ago. De Sedas has looked comfortable on his natural side of the plate and stacked up competitive AB’s the last few weeks. That led to good results today, as he posted two hits, including a 103 exit velo single, one of the hardest hits of the night. If the short stop can tap into his potential as he gets more used to right on right looks, he could be in store for a breakout year.
  • Parker Messick was his normal self tonight. The southpaw did get behind in counts more than usual, but it didn’t matter. He retired all five batters he faced and struck out two. The FB sat 90-92 MPH and gave hitters fits all night. His CH was the most effective off speed tonight, as it sat in the 78-82 MPH range with true fade to it. His fast-paced, efficient work on the mound has been a theme this entire fall. He has likely taken a firm grasp of the Friday night starter role.
  • Matheu Nelson transformed his body after the 2020 season came to a quick end. The two-year starter dropped nearly 20 pounds in the downtime he had at home. Nelson has always had a strong arm behind the plate, but slow feet hampered his ability to throw out runners. He’s now lighter on his feet and you can see the arm strength. He gunned down a couple runners tonight and has posted multiple in-game pop times in the 1.8-1.9 range this fall. With the weight drop, more durability, and lightness on his feet, Nelson is in store for a big year behind the plate.
  • Doug Kirkland showed why he is the favorite to be FSU’s closer as he closed out the win for the Gold team. Kirkland struggled some with his fastball command, as he walked two of his first three batters, but was still extremely effective. All three outs came by way of the K. The fastball sat in the 93-95 MPH range, and jumps on hitters with high spin rates in the 2400-2600 range. He also featured two effective breaking balls. On the night, the hammer curveball was the more effective of the two, in the 80-82 MPH range. As the command continues to develop, he’ll likely be FSU’s number one candidate to put away any close games in the ninth.
  • FSU has been extremely aggressive on the base paths all fall, and that continued today. Nobody was more aggressive or successful than Isaiah Perry. Perry is a weapon on the base paths and creates consistent havoc and worry for defenders. At the plate, when he puts the ball on the ground, it often leads to errors, as infielders have to rush their throws to beat him to first. When he gets on base, he scores. He had a walk, a hit, and three stolen bases on the night.
  • Tyler Ahearn gave up some hard contact tonight, but his stuff was as lively as it’s ever been at Florida State. The right-hander sat mostly 94-96 MPH with the FB, which has some serious sink. He struggled tonight to snap off his slider, which led to hitters being able to get the bat head out on the FB. When the slider is there, Ahearn has the chance to be a power, dominant arm out of the pen.
  • Florida State has a trio of left handed relievers that will be nightmare matchups for hitters in 2021. Jonah Scolaro has been dominant all fall, and he showed that again today. Scolaro K’d two in a scoreless inning tonight, while sitting 89-90 MPH with the FB. He also featured his wipeout slider in the 77-79 MPH range.
  • Clayton Kwiatkowski’s has been as consistent as any FSU arm since the end of last season. He retired all four batters he faced today, while sitting in the 88-90 MPH range. His changeup was his most effective off speed on the night.
  • Freshman Andrew Armstrong sat in the 88-89 range with his fastball and has the most deceptive delivery of the group. Armstrong, who weighs just 150 pounds, needs to hit the weight room some more before seeing an expanded role, but will provide another lights out lefty-on-lefty option for Jimmy Belanger. He also has a plus pick off move, as he picked off two runners tonight.

Other velocities from the night:

Chase Haney: 86-87 FB, 76-78 SL

Hunter Perdue: 94-95 FB, 82-84 SL, 80-82 CB

Dylan Simmons: 90-92 FB, 82-84 SL, 78 CB, 83-84 CH

Leighton Alley: 83-84 SNK, 69-71 SL

Chris Ruckdeschel: 90-92 SNK, 78-80 SL, 86-88 CT

Garrett Mathes: 86 FB, 78 CH

Brandon Walker: 90-91 FB, 77-79 SL, 81 CH

Davis Hare: 92-94 FB, 77-78 CB, 85-86 SPL

Jackson Nezuh: 90-93 FB, 85-87 CT, 84 CH, 75 CB