Left-hander Parker Messick had one thing on Friday night that he hasn’t had all season.
With that lead, Messick and right-hander Hunter Perdue pitched a combined shutout and led the Seminoles (3-4) to their first ACC win on the season in a 2-0 victory against the No. 16 ranked Virginia Cavaliers (5-4).
Messick threw 114 pitches in eight innings, relinquishing only three hits, striking out a career high 11 batters and hitting two batters. One of those pitches hit Virginia outfielder Brendan Rivoli in the head. He exited the ballgame and did not return.
Virginia failed to reach third base all night.
Perdue came into the game in relief of Messick in the ninth inning and closed the door. This is the team’s first shutout of the season and the team’s first shutout since Florida last March. Messick had a hand in that shutout victory as well.
“Parker was everything,” Mike Martin Jr said. “He was exactly what we needed until we can get this offense going. He’s super competitive, good athlete and he pitches mean. He was dynamic tonight.”
“I felt great,” Messick added. “That’s why I wanted to add that fourth pitch over the summer and it did a lot for me. They tried to key up on my change-up a couple of times. I was able to throw the slider and curveball and I could beat them with the fastball because they were looking off-speed. Throwing all four pitches for strikes is what I wanted to do, and it worked out the way I wanted it to.”
The Seminoles needed every bit of Messick and Perdue’s performance on Friday as the offense struggled yet again.
Florida State struck out 18 times after striking out 47 times in last weekend’s series against Pitt.
Virginia left-hander Andrew Abbot had 12 strikeouts in the first five innings alone. He finished with 16, the most by a Cavalier pitcher since 2014.
“College baseball fans, you are seeing major leagues left and right. Abbot was fantastic,” Martin Jr. said on the opposing performance.
The Seminoles’ lone offense came off the bat of outfielder Robby Martin, whose single to center field scored Tyler Martin and Matheu Nelson after their walks in the third (Nelson’s run was unearned due to an error).
Apart from that lone spurt of offense, the night for the Seminoles’ offense was par for the course — uninspiring. Situational hitting, plate discipline and the aforementioned strikeouts continue to plague the ’Noles.
The Seminoles had an opportunity to add more runs to the board in the eighth inning. Tyler Martin had his second hit of the night. What followed were strikeouts by Nelson and Robby Martin, both looking. After an Elijah Cabell walk and Martin stealing both second and third, Reese Albert went down swinging for his third strikeout of the night.
Nobody wants to beat the same drum, but as long as it stands to be true, most of the Seminoles’ offensive opportunities as of late have been squandered by the inability to put the ball in play.
Regardless, that shouldn’t take away from the fact that Messick was sensational on the mound on Friday. Consistently hitting the low 90’s on the gun late into his outing, Messick had batters off-balance, guessing and bewildered at times. Each final out resulted in Messick screaming from the mound and puffing his chest towards the Seminoles dugout.
“The rest of the team loves it. It’s crazy that he can keep up that energy,” Perdue said. “It’s something the dugout talks about all the time. We all love it.”
Friday’s FSU-Virginia box score can be viewed here.
The Seminoles will look continue that energy and momentum to take a win in the series in Game 2 on Saturday at 2 p.m. (ACC Network Extra). Bryce Hubbart will make the start for FSU.