Florida State led TCU 6-5 in the bottom of the fourth inning during the series finale on Sunday. The Horned Frogs had just cut deep into the Seminoles 6-2 lead with a three-run top half of the inning but, before FSU had a chance to respond, a hard rain fell over Dick Howser Stadium.
After a 90-minute delay, the series finale was ruled a no-contest as TCU had a curfew of 4:15 p.m. due to flying commercially back to Fort Worth. Despite the rain halting around 3:15, the lightning continued and eventually forced both sides to call the game.
“You win some, you lose some and, sometimes — there is lightning,” FSU coach Mike Martin Jr. said to his press conference. “I feel bad for the guys, but we got to keep plugging away. TCU has got a lot of money. We need to get them some chartered flights. The lightning just wouldn’t stop.”
Even without a potential Game 3 sweep in the cards, Florida State (26-15, 11-10 ACC) picked up a series win against TCU (27-16, 12-6 BIG 12) this weekend that is potentially its most important on the season. The Horned Frogs were coming off back-to-back series wins against No. 8 Oklahoma State and No. 9 Texas Tech and were coming into Tallahassee motivated with playoff seeding on the line. With a pair of wins over TCU, the Seminoles’ RPI has jumped to No. 8 nationally as the calendar flips to May.
With their own postseason ambitions, Florida State opened Friday with a dominant pitching performance by Parker Messick and a 10-0 victory. They followed up Saturday with a come from behind 7-3 victory. The Seminoles then exploded out of the gate on Sunday with a five-run first inning that led to a 6-2 lead by the end of the third.
“I was very pleased,” Martin Jr. said. “I thought the energy level was outstanding today after a short night. For them to jump out and score in the first and we turn around with two outs, nobody on base and score five. Even though it doesn’t go in the books, it’s providing some guys with some confidence.”
The week in which FSU beat a No. 23 Florida and swept a No. 9 Louisville might be the team’s best week of the season. But make no mistake about it, the series win against No. 20 TCU is one that Florida State needed to have with a challenging few weeks ahead.
The Seminoles now have three weekend series left this season against Boston College, North Carolina and No. 3 Miami. According to Martin Jr., there are a few players on the team that have been dealing with sickness, including left-hander Bryce Hubbart, who started on Sunday. Even with the extra day (Hubbart usually starts Saturday), he looked uncomfortable on the mound and struggled with his command.
“He’s had ‘the crud’ for a while now,” Martin Jr. said. “He was sweating real bad and he needs to get his strength back. That’s why we gave him another day to get a bullpen in and give him a chance, but he wasn’t right.”
Among those mentioned to also be sick was shortstop Jordan Carrion, who has a 10-game hitting streak for the Seminoles and has come on late in the season.
The Seminoles’ bats overall have seemed to come alive as of late, averaging 6.8 runs per game over the last three weeks.
With the school year coming to an end earlier this week, Martin Jr. hinted that improvement would continue over the next few weeks.
“I think it definitely helped,” Martin Jr. said. “Any time you talk about the weight and stress of school — it’s always in the back of your mind whether you realize it or not. It can take energy away from you. This is the time of the year that you strive like crazy to get better. We are excited about that.”
Florida State must continue to get better and get healthy. In addition, Martin Jr. and his staff will need to solve the pitching dilemma that resides on Saturday and Sundays. With Hubbart recovering, Carson Montgomery not excelling, and Ross Dunn being reworked, there are some questions that need to be answered.
Florida State travels to DeLand for a game against Stetson on Tuesday at 5 p.m. (ESPN+). A starter has not yet been named.