Florida State baseball looks to rebound from tough week

Tallahassee, Fla.- The Florida State Seminoles entered last week as the number one team in the country, but a series of bad performances threatened to derail their season. The Seminoles lost three of their four games last week with a mid-week loss to rival Florida and two losses to Georgia Tech over the weekend.  The Seminoles struggled in every facet of the game and will need to rebound in order to keep their hope of winning a championship alive.

At the plate:

Florida State has been one of the top offensive teams in the ACC throughout the season, leading the conference with 258 runs scored, 40 more than the second place team Clemson. The bats have gone cold for the Seminoles lately and they were outscored 29 to 12 in last week’s four games. During its streak of poor performances the team has a combined batting average of just .212, well below the Seminoles season average of .279. Florida State looked to finally turn it around on Sunday scoring three runs in the eighth inning to avoid being swept by Georgia Tech. Josh Delph led the way for FSU on Sunday going 3-4 with 2 RBIs in the win. The key for the Seminoles going forward will be consistent hitting throughout the order. DJ Stewart (who leads the ACC with a .386 batting average) and John Nogowski (who leads the ACC with 35 RBI) have been the only consistent everyday starters for FSU. Veterans Justin Gonzalez (.256 average) and John Sansone (.245 average) must find ways to contribute in order for FSU to rebound from last week’s losses.

In the field:

Fielding issues, most notably in the infield, have plagued FSU all season. The Seminoles rank seventh in the ACC with a .967 fielding percentage (tied for 124th in the country). Led by second baseman John Sansone, who ranks third in the ACC with 12 errors, the Seminoles have committed 46 errors through 35 games. Third baseman Jose Brizuela, with 11 errors, and shortstop Justin Gonzalez, with 7 errors, join Sansone in the top 20 for errors in the ACC.

On the Mound:

The strength of Florida State’s roster is the weekend pitching rotation. Luke Weaver, Brandon Leibrandt, and Mike Compton combine to form one of the best weekend rotations in the country. Recently though, the trio has been plagued by inconstancy and injury. Compton has struggled in three of his last four starts with poor outings against Clemson, Boston College, and Georgia Tech. He flashed his potential with a dominant performance against Notre Dame when he scattered 10 hits over six innings allowing only one run. Weaver has been equally inconsistent over the last four series with sub par performances against Clemson, Notre Dame, and Georgia Tech. He showed why he is one of the best pitchers of the country against Boston College when he threw a complete game shutout and allowed only one hit, but he has to find a way to consistently find that form. Leibrandt has missed his last three starts with a mix of the flu and a bone bruise on his knee. Bryant Holtmann joined the weekend rotation in Leibrandt’s place. Holtmann has done well while filling in, but the wheel completely fell off on Sunday when he last only a third of an inning and gave up four runs on four hits.

Florida State will host Jacksonville on Tuesday and travel to Wake Forest on Friday for a three-game weekend series as they look to rebound from last week’s poor performance.  Billy Strode (0-1) will start for the Seminoles on Tuesday.