Florida State began a turnaround with a three-game sweep of Clemson.
But the Seminoles received another jolt with the return of outfielder Reese Albert to the lineup against Virginia on April 18. Albert missed 10 games due to a shoulder injury and has hit 7 for 18 with four RBI, seven runs scored and four walks.
“It’s going better than I expected it to go,” Albert said. “Obviously I had some trouble with the injury but we’re working hard to keep it strong for the rest of the season.”
Albert is a tough out at the top of FSU’s lineup, reaching base with a discerning eye and a consistent bat. He is hitting .321 this season but his .446 on-base percentage leads the Seminoles, who have won five of six games since Albert’s return to the lineup.
“It changes our lineup tremendously,” third baseman Drew Mendoza said. “It turns over. Every inning I feel like I’m about to come up.”
Mendoza had a pair of home runs and Albert had two triples as FSU took down Stetson 10-4 on Wednesday to complete a two-game sweep of the Hatters. The Seminoles are now 26-14 after digging themselves out of a midseason rut where they were just 19-13 after the home loss to Florida on April 9.
After suffering through a 2-7 stretch that culminated with that third loss to the Gators, the Seminoles have bounced back and played some of their best baseball.
“I think we’re capable of anything,” said Mendoza, who now has 12 home runs this season. “I think we knew that early on. It took a little shot to our confidence in the middle of the year. We know we can play with anybody in the country and we’re looking forward to continuing to prove that.”
Flowers takes day off: J.C. Flowers was hit by a pitch on Tuesday and was given the day off on Wednesday. Coach Mike Martin thinks that Flowers will be good to play this weekend.
Up next: FSU is a three-game series against Wake Forest (25-17, 11-10 ACC), which begins on Friday at 6 p.m. at Dick Howser Stadium. All three games will stream live on ACC Network Extra.
Rotation adjustments: Martin said that right-hander Conor Grady (6-3, 3.12 ERA) will likely start on Sunday against Wake. Left-hander Drew Parrish (5-3, 4.53) and right-hander C.J. Van Eyk (5-3, 4.14 ERA) will start the first two games.
Regional projections: FSU is firmly back in the field of 64 by many national writers’ predictions and most websites have the Seminoles headed to a regional hosted by an SEC school.
Baseball America slots FSU as a No. 3 seed to a regional in College Station, Texas. D1baseball.com has FSU headed to a regional in Nashville as a No. 3 seed. Previously, the sites had mentioned regionals in Athens, Ga., or Starkville, Miss., as potential landing spots for FSU.