Charlotte, NC - The Florida State Seminoles picked up a run in the first and ran away with the game from there, scoring in five separate innings. The difference maker was the third inning which saw FSU score six runs against the Virginia Cavaliers. In total, FSU would tie a season high in runs against an ACC opponent with a 13-3 win.
The Seminoles jumped out to an early lead in the first with a two out rally. After Tyler Martin and Jordan Carrion started the inning with strikeouts, Jaime Ferrer reached by single and Brett Roberts doubled him in to give FSU a 1-0 lead. Bryce Hubbart allowed a lead off single in the bottom of the first but then sat down the next three UVA batters in a row. Both teams went quietly in the second before the Florida State offense made major noise in the third. Colton Vincent and Martin both singled to start the frame. After a Carrion strikeout, Ferrer hit a double to right center that scored both runners. Roberts followed with a single of his own and James Tibbs plated both men on base with a double down the right field line. Alex Toral put a stamp on the inning with a two-run shot to right field. The ‘Noles went to the bottom of the third up 7-0.
Virginia went silent in their half of the third and FSU scored again in the fourth. Martin doubled before Carrion brought him in with a single. Ferrer walked and an error on a Roberts hit to third scored Martin. The Cavalier offense broke through in the bottom of the fourth with a two out rally of their own. Hubbart picked up a key double play to pick off runners advancing to third and second. With a runner on first, Hubbs allowed a triple, double, and a single to bring the score to 9-3. FSU’s offense cooled in the fifth and Wyatt Crowell took the mound to start the bottom of the inning. Crowell went 1-2-3 with two strikeouts to send the game to the sixth inning. FSU went 1-2-3 in their half and UVA reached base with their first two batters of the inning before Crowell induced a fly out and then struck out the next two batters. In the seventh, the Florida State offense decided two innings was enough of a cool down as Reese Albert deposited his first homerun of the season over the fence, a two-run shot to give FSU an 11-3 lead. UVA picked up one base runner in the seventh but nothing else. In the eighth, Roberts walked, Tibbs reached by error and Toral came through again with a two-run single to up the run total to 13. Crowell cruised from there and FSU won 13-3.
FSU offense sets the tone
The Florida State offense has been in a season long malaise. The potential was evident and glimpses were seen with random outbursts, but overall the offense has been a sore spot for the team. Today, the bats were hot from go and 7/9 starters recorded a hit. Albert came off the bench and was the eighth batter for FSU to reach base. They batted .500 with runners on base and over .400 with runners in scoring position. Their advancement opportunities were an eye-opening .619. The top four of the lineup were 7 of 17 on the day, setting the plate for the offense to feast.
Martin pulls the right strings
We’ve documented our concerns with some of Coach Mike Martin Jr’s decisions. There has been finger pointing, rightfully so, at recent choices. Today, Meat made a positive impact on the game. First, his lineup construction was one that several had clamored for. Red-hot Brett Roberts was moved into the four spot to follow Martin, Carrion, and Ferrer. This lineup assembled FSU’s hottest hitters in order to allow FSU the best chance to maximize their opportunity at scoring. Second, pulling Hubbart after the fourth worked for two reasons. It saved Hubbart for later in the tournament (68 total pitches), if FSU gets that far and it forced UVA to adapt to a new pitcher and effectively ended their chances at a rally. As we have stated before, his growth is as important to the success of this team as the player’s growth.
Crowell sits ‘em down
Wyatt had an dominant stretch through May before the blip against North Carolina this past weekend. Dominant Crowell was back with four shutout innings. Overall, his line was 4.0 IP, 3 H, 6 K, 0 R.
Hubbart’s so-so performance
All things considered, Hubbart did his job today. He got the ‘Noles to the fifth inning with a lead. The left-hander still looks to be trying to re-catch his strikeout pitch that he excelled at in the first half of the season. In the inning where UVA scored, it was the inability to once again pick up the third out that led to the runs.
Up next: FSU could clinch their spot in next round with a win over Notre Dame tomorrow at 3:00 PM.