FSU baseball gets breather ahead of Duke series

Florida State (14-6, 4-2 ACC) will play host to Duke this weekend in a three-game series that will be sure to test the stamina of the Seminoles after a rainy and exhausting week of baseball.

It’s been quite the marathon for FSU as of late. If not for the cancellation of Wednesday’s game against UCF, the Seminoles would have played four games in five days — including the second game of Sunday’s doubleheader that went 17 innings. 

“It kind of worked out,” FSU coach Mike Martin Jr. said. “They had some arms go down, we had the tripleheader and the rain. All signs pointed towards letting the guys catch up. That’s how you get hurt. When your players are shot, they’re putting everything on the arm and pulling hamstrings. Nothing good comes from that.”

With the reigning ACC champions coming to Tallahassee this weekend, Florida State might have lucked out with getting a day off. 

The Blue Devils (11-10, 2-4 ACC) are second to last in the Coastal division. 

While the start to their season may not show it, the Blue Devils are returning a mostly identical roster to the team that ran through not only Florida State but the entire ACC tournament last season. Duke defeated Florida State 12-1 in the opening round en route to their program’s first ACC Championship. 

“They are really good, they kicked our tail,” Martin Jr. said. “Why they’ve gotten off to a slow start, I don’t know. It’s hard to put a finger on it.” 

Whereas Florida State has not lost a series yet this year, Duke has dropped both its ACC series to start the year against nationally ranked No. 10 Virginia and No. 13 North Carolina. While they did deliver Virginia their only loss of the season thus far, Duke was outscored 8-24 against the Cavaliers over the course of the weekend. 

The Blue Devils are also coming off a bad 14-3 loss to William and Mary on Tuesday. Meanwhile, Florida State is coming off a 10-2 victory against UCF. Carson Montgomery earned his third straight victory and threw a career-high seven innings

For the Seminoles, the starting pitching will be looking for a slight rebound against the Blue Devils. Parker Messick and Bryce Hubbart easily had their worst outings of the season last weekend against NC State. The hitting for Florida State also continues to improve despite some slumps across the lineup.

With that all said, it becomes a question of whether this weekend is the weekend that Duke becomes the team they were expected to be coming into the season. Florida State, of course, is hoping that resurgence delays another week. The Blue Devils have thus far gone down without much of a whimper in conference play, but it’s hard to tell how much of that is a product of their own faults or if Virginia and North Carolina are that good. Florida State has played neither of those teams yet, so it’s hard to get a good benchmark.

We are going to find out a lot about both teams this weekend. 

Up next: Duke at FSU

Game 1 between Florida State and Duke is 7 p.m. on Friday (ACC Network).