Auburn, AL - The Florida State baseball team struggled from the start and never seemed to find their footing in the Auburn Tiger’s rout of the Seminoles. Auburn plated seven runs in the fourth inning on their way to an 21-7 blowout of Florida State.
The Seminoles were the home team in today’s matchup which meant Bryce Hubbart led FSU onto the field to start the game. The lefty’s control was not crisp in the first inning, allowing a one out walk and single before settling down for a strikeout and a hit by pinch which was reversed for the batter leaning into it. The reversal changed the pitch to a strike and in this instance was also the third strike, ending the inning. Tyler Martin led off the bottom of the inning with a single to center. After back-to-back flyouts, Martin was thrown out at second on a steal attempt to end the inning. Control issues once again crept up in the second inning for Hubbart as he walked the leadoff batter and then gave up a double to left. Hubbs induced a shallow fly before Auburn got on board with a sacrifice fly to deep left. Auburn picked up their third walk of the game before a foul out ended the inning. The Seminoles went 1-2-3 in their half of the second.
Brett Roberts was playing on the left side of the shift to start the third and was unable to hold onto a shallow fly to right after a long trek. Hubbart would pick up one more out before allowing a home run to Brooks Carlson, giving Auburn a 3-0 lead. Hubbart gave up a single following the home run and was relieved by Conner Whittaker. Auburn welcomed Whittaker with a double to left, but the Tigers were thrown out at the plate with a perfect block of home by Colton Vincent. Whittaker struck out the next batter to end the top of the frame. Logan Lacey led off the bottom of the third with a walk before Alex Toral brought him home with a double roped to right center. Vincent would walk but Toral was picked off between second and third. Martin followed up with a walk of his own before Jordan Carrion lined into a double play.
The wheels came off in the fourth for Florida State as Auburn opened the inning with a single, walk, double, pitching change (Ross Dunn), intentional walk, an error by Carrion, a single with an error on Ferrer, single, wild pitch, double, pitching change (Kyle McMullen), and a walk before finally recording the first out of the inning via strikeout. FSU would record two more outs to finally end the seven run Auburn inning. The ‘Noles went 1-2-3 in their half of the inning before Auburn struck again in the fifth. The Tigers opened the inning with back-to-back walks before hitting into a double play. Brody Moore then tripled in Auburn’s 11th run of the game. Lacey singled in the fifth, but nothing else for the Seminoles in the frame. McMullen kept Auburn off the board in the sixth and FSU had another 1-2-3 inning at the plate.
Jackson Nezuh took the mound in the seventh and gave up a run off two singles and an error. He followed that up with two straight walks to bring in Auburn’s 13th run of the game. Andrew Armstrong came in for relief after the bases loaded walk. A fielder’s choice picked up the second out of the inning while bringing in the 14th run for Auburn. Armstrong would then hit the next two batters giving the Tigers their 15th run before finally getting a groundout to end the inning. James Tibbs opened the bottom of the seventh with a walk followed by a Roberts single to finally chase Auburn’s starter, Joseph Gonzalez. Treyton Rank pinch hit for Lacey and absolutely crushed a home run to center field, his first of the year, to cut the score down to 15-4.
In the eighth inning, Armstrong issued FSU’s 13th walk of the night and then Ferrer misjudged a double to right to allow AU’s 16th run of the game. Armstrong would record two strike outs in the inning but also issue two more walks before giving way to Dylan Simmons. One pitch from Simmons ended the inning. In the bottom of the inning, Sebastian Jimenez pinch hit and smoked a pitch over left center to bring the score to 16-5.
The Seminoles would load the bases and score two more runs before Toral grounded weakly into a double play. Headed to the ninth, the ‘Noles trailed 16-7. Auburn rallied right back in the ninth when Sonny DiChiara crushed a home run to left off Simmons. After a single, Simmons allowed another home run, this time to right field to extend Auburn’s lead to 19-7. With two runners on, Tibbs attempted a diving catch in left for the third out but missed. The ball would roll to the fence and Auburn would lead 21-7. A flyout would finally end the inning. FSU would go 1-2-3 in the ninth and head to the elimination game tomorrow.
Rank and Jimenez make the most of their opportunity
Rank pinch hit for Lacey in the seventh inning with two runners on base. The freshman connected on a deep home run to center for his first home run of the season. It was a no-doubt shot. In the eighth, Jimenez in his only eighth at bat of the season obliterated a homerun to left center. Great to see glimpses of FSU’s future.
Hubbart loses his grip
It was clear from the first batter that Bryce Hubbart’s control was not there tonight. He looked to be struggling with his grip and his off speed pitches were either down the middle or way out of the strike zone. Auburn was able to sit on the fastball and make Hubbart pay. The sophomore only lasted 2.1 innings with a line of 4 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 K, 3 BB.
The Seminole arms find little success
After Hubbart, the bullpen did not fair better. Whittaker lasted 0.2 innings, Dunn allowed three hits and four runs without recording an out, and McMullen walked five batters. Armstrong walked three and plunked two and finally Simmons allowed two home runs in the ninth. An overall disaster of a night for the FSU pitchers.
The bottom of the third/top of the fourth season microcosm
The consistent theme for Florida State this year has been inconsistency. This was on display when FSU led off the third with a walk and a RBI double. FSU would then have their slowest runner picked off base before a solid hit was turned into a double play. On the defensive side the pitching fell apart and the defense booted routine plays. FSU’s line in the bottom of the third, 1 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 1 DP. Where as FSU’s defense in the fourth was 5 H, 7 R, 3 BB, 2 E, 1 WP. It is a frustration to see this team display such potential at times and then completely fold in other games. For the night, the Seminoles walked 15 batters and committed four errors.
Up next: Florida State and UCLA play for their season tomorrow at 2:00 PM.