After dropping yet another game on Tuesday, this time to the Jacksonville Dolphins, Florida State (13-18, 4-11) finally won a game, beating Clemson 5-1 on Thursday night and snapping its 10-game losing streak.
Immediately after that, the Seminoles started another losing streak by dropping the final two games of the Clemson series 8-1 and 6-2 — FSU has now failed to win a series since the team’s March 10-12 matchup vs. the Pittsburgh Panthers. Florida State continues to stumble in games, struggling in too many categories to see a complete turnaround as likely. However, baseball is a weird sport where a little bit of momentum can snowball for a team and previous FSU teams have done that before.
- The Seminoles finally broke their losing streak.
Ignore the fact that they started a new one — they had gone three weeks since their last win. It obviously didn’t carry over to the rest of the series but maybe they can gather themselves and take something from that. FSU used extra-base hits to put up five runs on Clemson and a great pitching performance to make the lead stick. Four of FSU’s eight hits were of the extra bag variety, with two of them over the fence.
- FSU got some pretty good starting pitching for the first time in a long time. In game one of the Clemson series Jackson Baumeister pitched seven strong innings giving up just four hits and two walks compared to 14 strikeouts. In game two Connor Whittaker gave up five runs in 7.1 innings but that was related more to the ‘Noles inability to respond to Clemson’s aggressiveness than the quality of his pitching. Both pitchers gave their team a good chance to win the game and Florida State did just that in game one. If FSU is able to turn this season around both Baumeister and Whittaker continuing to pitch like this are going to be big reasons.
- In the third game against Clemson Carson Montgomery pitched well. He threw 5.1 scoreless innings striking out six. Unfortunately, FSU was already down six runs and was not able to make up the difference but it was nice to see Monty hold a team down and play to his ability. Fans have seen this before though. Was this just another flash in the pan for the talented junior or a step in the right direction?
- Under Mike Martin Jr., Florida State wanted to hit the ball hard and throw the ball hard. Everything else seemed pretty much secondary, no matter how much coaches said otherwise.
Under Link Jarrett, Florida State wants to be more of a pest, playing smart, forcing mistakes and taking advantage of unforced errors. Both strategies certainly have merit but exist on almost the exact opposite sides of the spectrum. If FSU were as talented as recruiting rankings suggest they should be (mostly referring to the pitchers here) maybe they’d have an opportunity to make this work but it seems like the ‘Noles are struggling with growing pains.
- Having said all of that, the staff has to practice what they preach and they really blew it in the second game against Clemson. Cam Smith connected on a nice double and was moved up on a Nander DeSedas sac bunt. Unfortunately, he was picked off third on a hidden ball trick by Clemson and it wasn’t because he was ignoring coaches or his dugout. Nobody was paying attention to alert Cam, who would have his back to some of the play while running to third. If FSU did the other things well that this staff prizes this would not be that big of a deal but you are trying to change the culture on this team and you need to be mindful of things like that.
- It’s hard to pinpoint something the offense is doing badly. While they don’t walk a bunch they also aren’t striking out in an obscene amount but they are not scoring runs. Since their 19-run outburst against Boston College, FSU has scored five runs or more twice (one time in a 9-5 loss to Florida and another in a 5-1 win against Clemson). The team is hitting fine but they aren’t stringing hits together and are really only getting singles. They don’t steal a lot so they just aren’t putting much pressure on defenses.
Up next: Florida State travels to Gainesville on Tuesday for a showdown against Florida at 6:00.