Florida State baseball is six weeks away from opening day. The Seminoles will have 18 newcomers on the roster in 2022 after bringing in a strong recruiting class and hitting the transfer portal for some immediate needs. The newcomers will be vital to FSU’s potential success in the regular season, but the Seminoles’ veterans will be key to the season.
The ‘Noles have six redshirt seniors that have been in Tallahassee for at least three seasons. Jonah Scolaro and Reese Albert are the elder statesmen, as they’re entering their fifth seasons at FSU. Former junior college transfer Kyle McMullen is entering his fourth season as a Seminole, while Davis Hare, Logan Lacey, and Isaiah Perry are entering their third season in Tally after coming from the JUCO ranks.
Scolaro and Albert came to FSU as part of the 2017 recruiting class. The left-handed pitcher out of Durant High school wasn’t highly-rated, but has been a crucial part of the bullpen since coming to Tallahassee.
The southpaw has made 92 appearances in his Florida State career, by far the most on the pitching staff. In each of his full seasons, he’s appeared in 26+ games. Through 122.1 innings at FSU, he’s posted a 3.75 ERA. This summer, he headed to the Cape Cod League and threw the ball extremely well. After being named a Cape Cod League All-Star, Scolaro received some attention from MLB teams as an undrafted free agent. Despite that, he knew the best place for him was Tallahassee.
When speaking with Tomahawk Nation recently Scolaro said: “I wasn’t going to leave this place. It can’t get much better than Florida State, especially with the atmosphere. I’ve been with Meat (Mike Martin, Jr.) for five years now and I love Belly (pitching coach Jimmy Belanger). So it was never a bad thing that I came back because I love this place.”
Even with a team of new faces (including transfers from the Florida Gators and Miami Hurricanes), that atmosphere has stayed the same. Scolaro mentioned that the fall gave the team time to come together as brothers: “No one’s out there for themselves, which is a big thing because it just makes the whole team mesh better when everyone’s about the team and not themselves.”
Meanwhile, Albert was a highly-rated recruit out of Jupiter High School. He showed early in his career why he was thought of highly, but has struggled with injuries the past couple seasons.
Albert played in just 26 games this past season due to knee surgery. He’s also dealt with a shoulder surgery and a concussion during his time on campus. After the 2021 season, he didn’t expect to come back to Florida State. But after some thought, he decided it’d be in his best interest to come back to FSU with a fresh start, better health, and a new mindset: “My mindset heading into this year is to have fun and win a lot. I feel like this is the best I’ve felt both mentally and physically in a long time. I’m very happy with where I’m at,” said Albert.
“The things I’ve been through have just helped me become a better version of myself. I’ve learned to have a broader outlook on all the things that life offers, as opposed to just focusing on being successful at baseball. Realizing and learning these things has made me more successful in all aspects of my life.”
Like Albert, McMullen has dealt with injuries in his time at FSU. In 2019, he came to FSU from Palm Beach State College. After winning the midweek job, he suffered a season-ending shoulder injury that lingered for most of the next two seasons. Because of that, he’s only thrown two innings as a ‘Nole. Despite the minimal number of innings, McMullen has made a great impact at Florida State.
The redshirt senior has made the ACC Academic Honor Roll each year at FSU. Last year, he was the program’s Gold Torch Award winner, presented to the player with the highest GPA. Scolaro compared McMullen’s personality to Chase Haney, who was honored last season by wearing Mike Martin’s No. 11: “I’d put Kyle and Chase in a very similar group of people because they do everything the way it’s supposed to be done. They’re diehards for Florida State, for the team, for everything. They don’t care about how they do themselves.”
Lacey joined Florida State in 2020 after two seasons at Tallahassee Community College. Late in his first season (the Covid-shortened season), Lacey emerged as an important piece in the lineup. Last year, he was the spark plug that made FSU’s lineup go. He hit .295 with 10 home runs in 48 starts. The Tallahassee-native also made the All-ACC Academic Team.
Albert said, “Logan’s a huge part of this team. His personality is just what you want around when the pressure gets heavy because it seems like he doesn’t feel pressure in those situations. I think he makes things happen in the game, too. Rally starter.”
Hare came to Tallahassee the same year as Lacey. After two strong seasons at Wallace Community College, he quickly moved into a back-end role in FSU’s bullpen. Last season, he posted a 2.67 ERA over 27 innings and picked up three saves. Scolaro said, “Davis, he’s pitched a lot of big games for us…you can just count on him. And it shows the younger guys what it’s supposed to look like, how they’re supposed to handle those situations.”
Perry joined the Seminoles after stints at Texas Southern and Santa Fe College. The outfielder has made just four starts at FSU, but he’s made them worthwhile. Perry hit a home run off All-American Doug Nikhazy in the Ole Miss Regional and started FSU’s final two games in center field.
Albert said, “IP’s one of the best dudes I’ve met in my time here. Having him around makes the team better right out of the gate. He can also provide some excitement in the game. Quick-twitch. When he gets on base, he’s trying to get to third in two pitches. That kind of stuff really gets a team going.”
The examples set on and off the field by Florida State’s veterans will greatly aid the Seminoles in 2022. After having just three seniors last season, the ‘Noles will have these six veterans to lean on in tough situations.
“It’s not necessarily the things on the field that take it all home, it’s lots of things off the field. Once you get into the postseason, everyone’s tired, so you need that team chemistry and you have to be like brothers out there. That’s how you get to Omaha. I’m excited because this team’s real close,” said Scolaro.
For the first two pieces of our countdown series, see below:
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