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Three up, three down: FSU baseball drops opener to UNF

Defensive and base-running miscues cost the ‘Noles.

FSU sports info

For the second straight season, the Seminoles have dropped their season opener. North Florida took down no. 21 Florida State by a score of 7-4 this afternoon. The Ospreys jumped out to a 6-0 lead, but the Seminoles quickly cut into the lead. Defensive and base-running miscues cost the ‘Noles an opportunity for a come back late in the game. FSU had a chance to tie or win the game in the ninth, but left the bases loaded on their 12th and 13th th K’s of the day.

Three up

  • Nander De Sedas was one of, if not the best player on the field for Florida State today. Last season, De Sedas struggled mightily on both sides of the ball. The most eye-popping number was 0 extra-base hits in 17 games. He quickly erased that egg, as he ripped a double to the right-center field gap for a leadoff double in the third inning. He dropped a first-pitch single into CF on his next at-bat. De Sedas was just as good in the field. He looked confident and comfortable on both sides of the ball. He ripped off mutliple bullet throws from his back hand side across the INF, which were both on the money. This was likely the biggest development on the day. De Sedas living up to his potential and playing with confidence raises FSU’s ceiling as a team.
  • After Matheu Nelson posted six homers as a freshman, he had just one in the shortened 2020 season. Nelson’s power has been one of the biggest breakouts over the last few months of scrimmages. He put that on display on opening day. The 3rd-year sophomore crushed a 1-1 fastball from Tony Roca over the left-center field wall. Nelson has come up clutch in many big moments in his time at FSU, and this was another. Nelson’s homer cut a six-run deficit in half with one swing of the bat, as he pushed Nander De Sedas and Tyler Martin across the plate. Martin was another highlight on the day, reaching in all five of his plate appearances, with three walks and two singles.
  • Clayton Kwiatkowski was the Seminoles’ best pitcher of the day. Kwiatkowski came into the game with two runners on and no outs in the fifth. He quickly extinguished the UNF rally, with back-to-back K’s before a weak grounder to end the inning. Kwiatkowski’s first K was his biggest pitch of the day, as he threw a full count changeup with conviction to get a swing-and-miss. Those three outs kept Florida State in the game. The southpaw also worked a 1-2-3 inning in the sixth, including two more strikeouts. The Tampa native’s off-speed was dominant on the day, getting multiple swing-and-misses on both his changeup and curveball. He posted a line of 2 IP, 0 H, 0 BB, 0 R, and 4 K’s. Chase Haney also did his job to keep FSU in the game. Haney entered the game with runners on the corner with no outs in the eighth inning. He promptly struck out his first batter on three pitches, before inducing a 6-4-3 DP to end the inning.

Three down

  • Parker Messick got his season off to a rough start. The southpaw’s stuff was at its usual level, but he struggled with his spots. Pitches over the middle third of the plate cost Messick. He got tagged for a HR on the first pitch, an 88 MPH fastball, of the 3rd inning. The next batter doubled off the bottom of the LF wall. It once again came on a fastball. Three of the four hits came on fastballs. The adrenaline for Messick was up, and it led to his ball being up in the zone a lot. His final line was 2.1 IP, 4 H, 1 BB, 5 ER, and 3 K’s. Messick gave up just one run in 11.2 IP last season. As he settles down into his role and the adrenaline starts to wear off, he’ll be effective when hitting his spots.
  • Between location, efficiency, and command, it wasn’t the FSU pitching staff’s day. The Seminoles struggled to put UNF hitters away, which rose their pitch counts. They also mightily struggled to get ahead in counts. Jack Anderson had trouble commanding his fastball, walking three batters in just 1.2 IP. Davis Hare also struggled with his command. He walked just one batter in one+ inning, but also gave up four hits as he couldn’t execute. Haney also had a walk in his inning of work. Messick has to be more efficient on Fridays to keep the Seminole bullpen intact. Florida State’s relievers have to attack the strike zone at a much higher rate to keep the Seminoles in games.
  • Mike Martin Jr. stressed defense and base-running all preseason. Both burnt the ‘Noles on opening day. FSU extended a UNF inning early in the game as a miss-timed throw on a dropped-third strike flew into the OF. Logan Lacey had a chance to gun a runner down at home from the outfield in the third inning, but bobbled the ball as it got to him. Freshman Vince Smith got the start at third base and was sure-handed for the majority of the game. But Smith bobbled a slow roller in the seventh inning with bases loaded and two outs, giving the Ospreys an unearned run. FSU wasn’t awful defensively, but they weren’t good enough to win a close game. The Seminoles were awful on the base-paths. In both the seventh and eighth inning, the ‘Noles were picked off first base to end rallies. Getting picked off first base is simply unacceptable.

For Ariya Massoudi and my instant react of the game, make sure to check out Sunday Golds: A Florida State Baseball Podcast.

Florida State and UNF will play a double-header tomorrow. First pitch of game one is at 11:00 AM. Freshman Carson Montgomery will get the ball for FSU.