The Daily Nole

FSU Baseball: Five Takeaways From Duke Sweep of Noles

Phil Kelly/FSU athletics

Well, at least Florida State fans had the spring game to distract them from what took place at Dick Howser Stadium over the weekend. No. 10 Duke (30-7, 12-5 ACC) swept the No. 9 Florida State Seminoles (24-12, 8-9 ACC) in a weather-shortened 2-game series. The Seminoles have now lost five in a row, and now sit 4.5 games behind Atlantic-leading NC State.

Florida State will welcome in Stetson for a 2-game midweek series before heading to Boston to take on Boston College. Saturday’s game against Boston College will be played at Fenway Park — the home of the Boston Red Sox — to raise awareness for ALS.

1. Trending downhill
It is safe to say things have not been going as planned as we enter the middle of the season for the Seminoles. Currently riding a 5-game losing streak, and a conference record of 8-9., the Seminoles have been far from consistent this year, but they have always been able to play comfortably at home. That was until Duke came into Tallahassee over the weekend and took the 2-game weather-shortened sweep over the Seminoles by a combined score of 13-6.

Yes, one of the losses came in extra innings, but coming off of an embarrassing series at Georgia Tech, and yet another loss to the Florida Gators, FSU needed a series win against Duke. Instead, it fell to 19-5 in Dick Howser Stadium and remains stuck in reverse. The schedule does ease up a bit in the coming weeks and the Seminoles will need to take full advantage of it if they want to help themselves out come postseason time.

2. Cole Sands’ first inning blunders
Cole Sands’ struggles have been documented this season. Sands (6-2) has an ERA of 4.80 and allowed 27 earned runs to cross the plate this season. A lot of his struggles this season have come in the first inning and they continued against Duke on Friday night when the Blue Devils plated three runs in the first frame.

In his last four starts, opposing teams have scored 11 runs in the first inning with Sands on the mound. That’s 41 percent of the total number of earned runs allowed by Sands this season. The last time a team did not score in the first inning when Sands was pitching was on March 16 against Notre Dame. Sands allowed eight runs in that start.

3. Double trouble 
Manufacturing runs in hard enough as it is, but when you ground into seven double plays in two games, gaining positive momentum becomes almost impossible. Duke proved it was an excellent defensive team over the weekend. After turning three on Friday night, the Blue Devils turned four double plays on Saturday — a game they went on to win in extra innings.

One may be able to chalk it up as a little bit of bad luck, combined with good pitching and good defense from the Blue Devils. Winning however, does not come easy when you are giving up outs in pairs.

4. Reese Albert’s holding his own
Losing J.C. Flowers to jaw surgery is a big blow to the Florida State defense, but Reese Albert was able to make a couple of nice plays in center field over the weekend. Albert went 2-for-5 over the weekend with three strikeouts, but he did make two impressive diving catches to take away a pair of base hits.

In 66 at-bats, Albert is hitting .242 with 10 runs driven in. Albert is also the only Seminole that has had over 40 plate appearances not to be hit by a pitch this season.

5. Parrish continues to shine
Parrish has been the glue holding this weekend rotation together this season. Despite a bad third inning against Duke where it was able to score three runs on two hits off of Parrish, the sophomore was able to give Florida State seven innings, allowing six hits and four earned runs on the day. Parrish struck out seven Blue Devils and leads the team with 61 on the season.

He may be the Saturday starter, but Parrish (2-0) has been the ace of this staff in Holton’s absebce. Parrish has allowed fewer hits (39) than any other starter for the Seminoles while throwing the most innings (54 1/3). Opposing hitters are also swinging it at a dismal .203 clip.

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