The Daily Nole

FSU’s Carlton Looks for Repeat Performance in Durham

Larry Novey/FSU athletics

The start of the 2016 ACC Tournament just two days away and Florida State is putting its faith in sophomore Drew Carlton to get the Seminoles off to a strong start.

Carlton was pegged as the starter for Wednesday’s 11 a.m. EST contest between the fourth-seeded Seminoles and No. 5-seed N.C. State. As was the case last season, Carlton may be peaking for FSU at the right time.

After what’s been an inconsistent season for the sophomore from Lakeland, Carlton is coming off oone of his best outings of the season. In a 4-2 loss to Miami on Thursday, Carlton allowed just a run on two hits in five innings of work. Carlton also struck out six without walking a batter.

Unfortunately for Carlton, the bullpen was unable to hold the lead, but his effort in the rivalry contest could signify the beginning of another late season run.

As a freshman in 2015, Carlton was used primarily as a midweek starter before finally making major noise in the ACC and NCAA Tournaments. Carlton pitched FSU into the ACC Championship, which it would win, last May by throwing seven shutout innings in a 6-0 victory over top-seeded Louisville in a de facto ACC Tournament semifinal.

Carlton was able to carry that success over into last year’s Tallahassee Regional, when he worked 6 2/3 shutout innings in a regional-clinching 8-1 victory over College of Charleston.

With freshmen Cole Sands and Tyler Holton having inconsistent seasons as starters and redshirt senior Mike Compton limited with tendinitis in his elbow, the Seminoles will need to find a consistent arm at the front end of the rotation.

With Carlton tagged as the first pitcher to throw for FSU this season in Durham, it appears that head coach Mike Martin feels that the sophomore has the best chance to be that guy. Carlton is 6-3 this season for FSU with a 4.07 ERA. Carlton is tied for the team-lead in wins and tops the Seminoles in innings (73) and strikeouts (64).

At 34-19 overall and with a national ranking and RPI in the mid to high teens, FSU will need another strong showing at the ACC Tournament to solidify itself as a regional host for the NCAA Tournament. It’s up to Carlton to make sure that endeavor starts off on the right foot.

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