Florida State baseball’s seven-game win-streak was snapped today as Wake Forest defeated the ‘Noles 8-7. It was a back-and-forth affair, as the teams swapped leads four times. The Seminoles blasted three homers, but had only three other hits and went scoreless for the last five innings. On the mound, the ‘Noles allowed 10 hits and three walks, while striking out 15. FSU made no errors in another clean defensive outing. Florida State and Wake Forest will have a rubber match tomorrow afternoon.
- The majority of FSU’s win streak came without contributions from Reese Albert and Elijah Cabell. Heading into the year, they were 2⁄3 of an outfield that was supposed to be a major strength of the team, but they both dealt with injuries and struggles at the plate. The Seminoles are going to be at their best when Albert and Cabell get going, and both showed signs of that today. Albert got the Seminoles going in the first inning. After back-to-back K’s with the bases loaded, the senior leader picked up his teammates. Albert launched a low-and-inside breaking ball over the RF fence. The ball came off his bat at 101 MPH and traveled 360 feet. It was his third of the year.
Cabell looked like the 2020 Elijah Cabell today, utilizing the opposite field for production. After his clutch hit last night, he was inserted into the cleanup spot today. The outfielder responded with a laser homer over the right field fence on a middle-middle slider. Later in the game, Cabell was robbed of another extra-base hit as Wake’s RF made a leaping grab at the wall. It looks like it’s starting to click for Cabell, which is a huge development for the ‘Noles.
- After last night’s game, Mike Martin Jr. said that FSU has done a really good job of sticking with the “next man up” mentality this year. Vince Smith was the next man up with Nander De Sedas out with an oblique injury. Smith got the start at short stop and hitting eighth in the order. He stepped up with a two-run home run, a sky-scraping fly ball, in the fourth inning to give FSU a 7-6 lead. It was the freshman’s second of the season. He also looked comfortable and in command of the infield at short stop, which is his natural position.
- Tyler Ahearn has been up-and-down so far this season, but was one of the Seminoles’ most lights-out relievers last season. Ahearn’s high level stuff came to play today. The right-handed pitcher worked three perfect innings, retiring all nine batters he faced. In the seventh inning, he got some help from his defense, as Albert perfectly timed a fly ball at the wall for a web gem catch.
Another angle of Albert's catch in the 7th. pic.twitter.com/m1AwnhxReh— FSU Baseball (@FSUBaseball) March 27, 2021
Ahearn’s FB was sitting in the 93-95 MPH range for most of his outing. He also used his wipeout slider to get swing-and-misses. He induced weak contact and kept the ball on the ground for the most part, inducing four grounders and striking out three batters. His season ERA is down to 3.68.
- Bryce Hubbart has been stellar for FSU this year, but ran into his first trouble of the season today. Hubbart came in leading the conference with a .135 average against, but allowed seven hits in just three innings. The stuff wasn’t down and he wasn’t wild, Wake was just all over the FB. Hubbart struggled to get the ball out of the middle third of the plate, which allowed the Demon Deacons to do damage. All of the RBI against the southpaw came from freshman Brock Wilken. Wilken smashed a two-run homer off the scoreboard in the first, before crushing a grand slam over the RF fence in third. Hubbart still missed bats on the day, as he posted a funky line with 3 IP, 7 H, 7 K, 2 BB, and 6 R. For a guy that has dominated in every outing prior, this shouldn’t be a massive worry for the Seminoles. If he can get back to the edges of the plate with his fastball, he’ll be just fine.
- Florida State’s offense needs power hitting and timely hitting. They got the power with the three homers, and two did come with two outs, but for the most part, FSU couldn’t get the timely hit. The Seminoles were 3-15 with runners on base and advanced runners in just five of 17 opportunities. Often the Seminoles had the leadoff hitter on base, but couldn’t do much with it. In the seventh, Tyler Martin was HBP to open the inning but never moved past first base. After back-to-back two-out walks in the ninth, the tying run was stranded at second base as Robby Martin struck out.
- Clayton Kwiatkowski has been dominant through the first five weeks of the season and was dominant through his first two innings today. But in his third frame of work, he struggled to find the strike zone. After retiring the leadoff hitter, he gave up back-to-back walks. A bunt single loaded the bases as he came out of the game. Chase Haney came in and induced a weak grounder, but it went right in the 3-4 hole as Wake tied the game at seven. Pierce Bennett followed with a sac-fly to center to take the lead at 8-7. Both runs went on Kwiatkowski’s line, his first two earned runs allowed this year.