The Daily Nole

FSU Baseball: Five Takeaways from First Series Loss

FSU athletics

Florida State (14-2, 1-2 ACC) hit its first speed bump of the 2018 season. After topping Wake Forest 7-3 on Friday night, FSU dropped both the first and second game of a doubleheader on Saturday.

Wake Forest (7-9, 2-1 ACC) got the best of FSU via a walk-off home run in game one of the doubleheader to hand the Seminoles a 4-3 loss — their first of the season. The Demon Deacon bats stayed hot in game two as Wake cruised to an 8-1 victory.

The defending national champion Florida Gators are on-deck for Florida State. They will square off on Tuesday. Following the match-up with Florida, Notre Dame will make the trip to Tallahassee for a weekend series. Looking back, here are our five takeaways from Florida State’s first series loss of the season:

1. Cole Sands stays consistent
While the pitching staff has dominated opposing batters early in the season, that will change as we head into conference play. Cole Sands’ first two years on campus have not been what many expected, but entering his junior year, and without Tyler Holton in the rotation, Sands will set the tempo for the remainder of the year for the Florida State pitchers.

Sands pitched well against Wake Forest on Friday night. He turned in six complete innings, working around five hits and two earned runs. The righty struck out nine batters and threw 102 pitches. Florida State has a young staff, and Sands will need to eat up a good amount of innings this season for FSU to be in a situation to steal some games with a sophomore and freshman pitching behind him on Saturday and Sunday. This Florida State team will go as far as Sands will take it and he pitched well again on Friday to improve to 4-0.

2. The closer role is unfilled
A few different arms have made appearances in save opportunities early in the season. Jonah Scolaro leads the team with three saves. He picked up his third on Friday night where he threw three innings of 2-hit ball which eliminated his name from being called for the remainder of the series. 

Cobi Johnson got the call in game one of the doubleheader on Saturday and gave up a walk-off 2-run home run for the first loss of the season. C.J. Van Eyk also has a save on the season and is the third option between Scolaro and Johnson. Van Eyk faced seven batters in game two of the doubleheader. He worked around two walks and one hit.

These are the three arms that head coach Mike Martin seems the most comfortable with on the mound, and all three got their share of work against the Demon Deacons. Now, “11” needs to designate one for the closer role and hold them to it.

3. Unfriendly confines
Besides one road game in Jacksonville, this was FSU’s first test away from Dick Howser Stadium. Now 2-2 on the year away from Tallahassee, the Noles still have something to prove when traveling.

With such a young team and challenging schedule, it will be interesting to see how they handle the hotels and bus rides. It doesn’t get much tougher than traveling to Gainesville on Tuesday.

4. Resiliency to be determined
Heading into Saturday 14-0 on the season, FSU seemed to have all the confidence in the world. With two walk-offs already on their resume, the Seminoles proved they could win close games, but they have not shown how they rebounded from a loss because they haven’t needed to.

Wake Forest handed FSU their first loss on a walk-off home run on Saturday, and the Seminoles did anything but rebound in game two of the doubleheader. In fact, they played their worst game of the season. The Demon Deacons crushed the Seminoles 8-1 and held FSU to just one hit in the first six innings. The losses are going to come, which is part of baseball, but being able to rebound from them is what will make or break this team.

5. Pollock gets rude welcome to the ACC
Wake Forest was anything but kind to freshman starter Austin Pollock in his ACC debut. Pollock got off to an impressive start to his young career, only allowing one earned run in three previous appearances. Wake ran Pollock off the mound after 1 1/3 innings pitched on Saturday. He faced 12 batters and allowed seven hits and six earned runs.

Pollock will have a good career as a starting pitcher at FSU, but his first career start in the ACC will be one that he wants to forget about.

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