Charlotte, NC - The Florida State Seminoles fell to Notre Dame for the fourth time this year and it wasn’t a lot different than the first time. Notre Dame ace John Bertrand put in eight strong innings of work giving up just one unearned run on the day and striking out eight. FSU ace Parker Messick did not fair as well giving up five earned runs in five innings to lose his fourth straight game.
Notre Dame started the scoring in the third as nine hole hitter Zack Prajzner took a 1-0 delivery from Messick and deposited it in the left field stands. FSU did fight back in the bottom of the inning with Alex Toral getting on second due to an error and being driven in on a Colten Vincent single. Carter Putz singled on a swinging bunt that Vincent couldn’t pick up and Jack Zyska brought him with a home run of his own. FSU would load the bases with no outs in the bottom of the inning but strike outs from Isaiah Perry and Toral left the heavy lifting to Logan Lacey. Lacey tattooed a ball to deep center field but it wasn’t deep enough and brought in for the final out of the inning leaving FSU down 3-1.
Once again Notre Dame turned to the long ball as Prajzner doubled and moved to third on a sac bunt before Brooks Coetzee brought him in with another home run to left field. FSU would record just one base runner until the bottom of the ninth inning but did hold Notre Dame scoreless from there.
The Seminoles would load the bases with two outs due to a double and two hit by pitches bringing up pinch hitter Brock Mathis. Mathis nearly tied the game on the first pitch he saw but ended up with a single off the top of the left field wall scoring two. Tyler Martin would fly out near the warning track of left field in the next at bat to end the game.
With the win Notre Dame advances from pool play and the best scenario for both Virginia and FSU is a 1-1 tie amongst all the teams and the higher seed advances. Florida State finished a respectable 1-1 at the tournament as the lowest seed in their poolbut very well could have won this game if not for some key strike outs.
The bullpen shuts down the Irish
Notre Dame has a decent but not great offense. They do have a very good plate approach that makes difficult outs one through nine of the lineup. After Messick gave way Ross Dunn, Carson Montgomery, Davis Hare and Jonah Scolaro combined for four innings of no run ball giving up just one extra base hit, walking one and striking out six. That’s nice to see from a pen that has struggled to pitch to their potential at times.
Roberts doubles up
Brett Roberts had a nice two for four game with two doubles. He recorded FSU’s only extra base hits of the game and started the ninth inning rally that fell just short. Roberts did a good job of hitting what was given two him and both of his doubles were down the left field line. He did have two strike outs but you’ll take the four total bases for that.
Mathis almost plays the hero
When Vincent came up with the bases loaded and the game on the line Mike Martin Jr made the right move bringing in the more offensively minded Mathis. Mathis came ready to play and almost ended up with a game tying grand slam but the park held it and he settled for a two run single. Having a pinch hitter that’s ready to go on a moments notice is a good sign for post season play and if FSU can find a bit of fire it might be ignited by Mathis.
Messick struggles again
Parker Messick has struggled quite a bit in his last few starts. Wait, let’s restate that, Parker Messick as struggled in his last few starts compared to a normal Parker Messick start. Messick only walked one but gave up eight hits, three of which were home runs. FSU needs better from Messick if it intends to make any noise in the NCAA Tournament. It would be nice if his offense would show up for him.
The offense is a mess
FSU has cut down on it’s strike outs a bit as of late but it’s not translating those plate appearances into runs. FSU’s four, five and six hitters each struck out twice. For his credit Roberts did up with two doubles and had the only multi-hit game of the day and James Tibbs pitched in a single and a walk but that’s a lot of empty outs from the spots you expect to be run producers. The ‘Noles finished the conference season with the second worst runs/game average in the ACC, second lowest slugging, second worse average and least number of home runs. They also struck out the most times and walked the third least number of times. While recruiting certainly fell off in the last years of Mike Martin Sr and it’ll take a few years for Meat to repair the roster it’s clear something is missing between what the coaches are asking of these players and what those players can contribute.
Despite all of the negatives on display for FSU, the ‘Noles could very well have knocked off the fourth seed of the ACC tournament but with the bases loaded and no outs Florida State came up empty. They did rectify that error later in the by bringing in two runs with the bases loaded but it was too little too late. The fourth to fifth inning transition was a microcosm of FSU’s season. That’s when the Seminoles failed to score in a high leverage situation and Notre Dame responded with by taking advantage of a misplay by Vincent to take the lead. Vincent just took his eye off the ball and didn’t pick it up. These sorts of things are just more indications that coaches are just not getting through to these players.
Up next: FSU looks to be a lock for the NCAA Tournament but the last six games have been very damaging. Before the Florida game a bit more than a week ago FSU looked to be a regional host, now they’re likely above the last four in line but it can’t be by much. Was the UVA win enough to salvage a two see at a school in the southeast? Tune into ESPN2 at 12:00 PM ET on May 30th to find out.