FSU baseball: 3 key takeaways from FSU dominating Florida

Series Win!

Florida Head Coach Kevin O'Sullivan talks with Florida State Head Coach Link Jarrett before the
Florida Head Coach Kevin O'Sullivan talks with Florida State Head Coach Link Jarrett before the / Doug Engle/Gainesville Sun / USA TODAY

FSU baseball reached its 20th win in 2024, 14-3 over the rival Florida Gators. The win clinches the series between the two teams and nearly eclipses FSU's total wins for all 2023. The win over the rival Gators was important, but the response after getting embarrassed a few days earlier against Clemson is the real story. It would have been easy for the team to play dejected and wallow in their misery from a few days ago. However, this team showed a lot of moxie and want to. I think playing a rival like Florida likely helped them get over getting swept and refocused quickly. Here are my three key takeaways from the game:

1. The FSU offense wasted no time getting on the scoreboard quickly in the first inning. I thought that was huge to get off to a good start and probably helped settle everyone in. Florida used the same starter as the last time they faced the Gators and other young pitchers, so I wouldn't say FSU faced Florida's best pitchers. The offense is excellent, but I still wouldn't expect them to maintain this level all season. However, they kept pouring it on in nearly every inning. Several of the outs were laser beams for outs, and I can only think of a handful of at-bats that were poor or not good situational hitting.

2. Andrew Armstrong was a bit unlucky as the starting pitcher, allowing three runs. He walked the lead-off batter, but I felt the umpire had a really tight zone in the at-bat. Armstrong allowed a solid hit and allowed what would have been a routine flyout that the wind carried over the wall for a home run(FSU benefited from this once also). Joe Charles and John Abraham were lights out from the bullpen. Brendan Oxford came in a high-leverage situation with runners on first and second with one out and struck out both batters he faced. It's important because all three guys were on the mound in relief against Clemson. Florida has a good lineup, but the atmosphere isn't near what Clemson has, which helped the FSU pitchers. FSU recreating the big lead situation like the two Clemson games, and the FSU bullpen experiencing that same situation, but coming through flawlessly was great to see. It should be a big confidence booster for that group. FSU only having to use those guys was huge with the weekend series starting on Thursday instead of Friday. It wouldn't have been good if they had to run through several other arms while playing a day earlier than usual due to Easter.

3. The FSU defense continues to make the routine play. It was another errorless game, but credit to Daniel Cantu at first base, who saved a couple of throwing errors by coming off the bag to catch the throws before applying tags to the runners going to first base. Their fielding percentage is up to .985, which is outstanding.

When teams play good defense, and pitchers throw strikes, any team with any semblance of an offense will win the majority of their games. Two of the three phases have been fairly consistent for the Noles this season. I'm curious to see how the Louisville series shakes out. It's one the Noles should win if they play well. If they win the series or get the series sweep, it would be quite the response after the Clemson debacle. Good job guys!

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