FSU softball must find answers on the mound to change their trajectory

2023 NCAA Division I Softball Championship
2023 NCAA Division I Softball Championship / Ian Maule/GettyImages

FSU softball (5-3) has lost its last two games after winning the first in the Shriner's Children's Clearwater Invitational Classic. It hasn't been due to a lack of offense, as the Noles scored 10 runs in each of the two losses. It's been the problems inside the circle on the mound since Allison Royalty shined against Stanford in a shutout win. The issue has been present a few times this year, but FSU pitchers have struggled to find the strike zone in the last two games. They have consistently gotten behind in the count, which is a recipe for disaster against good-hitting teams. They have thrown 348 pitches, 182 for strikes(52.2 percent), which is abysmal. FSU pitchers have either walked batters or gotten shelled in hitter counts. FSU pitchers walked 23 batters and hit another four over the past two games, allowing 27 hits (7 home runs) and 34 runs (27 earned). Makenna Reid and Ashtyn Danley were two names mentioned, who needed to get on track for the Noles to find success against top-tier teams this season. Both have struggled mightily and Danley, I can understand because she's a freshman with no experience.

Reid was one of the top freshman pitchers nationally last season, but it appears she doesn't have the confidence to be the pitcher Coach Alameda needs right now. She is struggling to throw strikes and doesn't have the confidence to throw anything offspeed to keep hitters off balance. That allows hitters to sit dead-red on the hard zone and punish her in the event she throws a strike in hitter counts. I believe she's feeling the pressure with Kathryn Sandercock gone. Danley will be fine but needs more experience since she's shown the ability to change speeds effectively at times. Some people are writing this team off, but it's still REALLY early in the season. Coach Alameda schedules these games to gain experience that will pay dividends early in the season. It's ideal to play well now, but the most important thing is playing well later in the season and into the postseason. The good thing for FSU softball is Coach Alameda specializes in coaching pitchers. It'll be interesting to see how she navigates this early challenge. The Noles will play Tennessee Sunday at 8 p.m. ET n ESPN to close out the Clearwater Invitational. The bats have shown up the entire tournament, and here's hoping the pitching will show some semblance of life.

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