FSU baseball: Major takeaways from road series win over Duke

Florida State v Wake Forest
Florida State v Wake Forest / Isaiah Vazquez/GettyImages

FSU baseball (34-9, 13-8 ACC) moved back among the top five programs nationally with its road series win over the previously top 10 ranked Duke Blue Devils. Jamie Arnold delivered another quality start despite getting squeezed by the home plate umpire, and Brennen Oxford was lights out from the bullpen in the 4-2 win. FSU had struggled against quality left-handed pitching but exploded in the first inning with four runs. However, they didn't manage any runs afterward and only had five hits in the game. Luckily, Arnold and Oxford kept the Duke bats in check, and the FSU defense was solid. The two pitchers combined for 15 strikeouts, nine hits allowed, and only two walks(and those two walks were on the umpire).

Carson Dorsey continues to excel in his starting role, with Conner Whittaker recovering from injury. He was outstanding in six innings, with seven hits allowed, eight strikeouts, and one walk. The FSU offense built a 7-3 lead going into the bottom of the eighth, and it looked like the FSU bullpen would falter on the road once again. Joe Charles fell apart in the eighth inning after a 1-2-3 seventh inning, and Conner Hultz relieved him to limit the damage. FSU took a 7-5 lead into the bottom of the ninth, and Andrew Armstrong allowed a lead-off home run, single and hit a batter. The runners moved to second and third base with one out on a passed ball before John Abraham relieved Armstrong. Abraham forced a popup and a line out to end the game. 

Sunday's game was a 16-4 blowout loss. It's a culmination of FSU missing two-weekend starters, Cam Leiter and Conner Whittaker. I'm not going to put a lot of stock in that loss because of that reason. The offense started hot, scoring two runs in the top of the first inning, but Duke responded immediately and scored 10 runs in the bottom of the second. The offense responded with two runs in the top of the third, and the FSU pitching staff allowed three in the bottom of the fourth. 

Major Takeaways

Jamie Arnold and Carson Dorsey have become an excellent 1-2 punch, while Leiter and Whittaker have been out. They have provided at least six innings in nearly, if not every start. Brennen Oxford was great, but the others in the bullpen were somewhat shaky. However, major credit to John Abraham for getting those two outs without allowing the tying and game-winning runs to score in Saturday's game. Sunday games will be slugfests until Leiter returns. However, I'd favor keeping Dorsey as a starter and moving Whittaker back to the bullpen to help eat up innings, and you know he'll throw strikes. Hitting-wise, FSU didn't strike out a ton aside from Sunday's game, and the Duke defense made a few nice plays in the series. However, I'd like to see more overall production at the plate. There were questions about FSU beating a good team on the road, and they answered it while not having their full arsenal on the mound. FSU will host No. 20 NC State this weekend and will not have a midweek game. 

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