FSU turns to bullpen, gets shutout of Florida

Florida State’s coaching staff went into scramble mode after deciding to scratch Carson Montgomery (shoulder stiffness) before Tuesday’s rivalry game with Florida. The Seminoles opted to lean on closer Jonah Scolaro in an “opener” role, and he set the tone for a critical bounce-back win over the Gators.

Scolaro tossed 3.1 shutout innings and Conner Whittaker followed with 3.2 shutout innings as FSU routed Florida 5-0 before 5,916 fans at Dick Howser Stadium on Tuesday night. Wyatt Crowell and Davis Hare each tossed scoreless innings to wrap up the victory.

The Seminoles (19-13), who are ranked 19th by Baseball America, had been just 2-7 in their last nine games but picked up an emphatic win over the Gators — which had just taken two of three games against No. 2 Arkansas.

Alex Toral and Brock Mathis hit back-to-back home runs as part of FSU’s five-run first inning.

FSU coach Mike Martin Jr. is 9-4 against rivals Florida, Miami and Clemson. The Seminoles won the only matchup vs. UF in 2020, split a pair of games in 2021 and the teams have split their 2022 games. The final FSU-Florida game will be May 17 in Gainesville.

The Gators (21-12) managed just two hits and were shut out for the first time this season. FSU pitchers struck out 14 hitters, each batter in the lineup with the exception of Mac Guscette.

Scolaro went 3.1 innings, allowing one hit and two walks while striking out five. Conner Whittaker (1-1) inherited runners on second and first as well as a 2-2 count on Kendrick Calilao, but Whittaker got a strikeout on the next pitch. He then issued a walk to load the bases but got Guscette to line out to center field to end the threat in the fourth.

Whittaker tossed 3.2 shutout innings, allowing a single in the seventh but walking one and striking out five. 

Scolaro has only made one other start in his FSU career, against Florida in March 2019. Scolaro pitched four innings, allowing one run (none earned), three hits and two walks. He had two strikeouts.

Martin Jr. said on the TV broadcast that Montgomery had a “stiff shoulder” and he skipped the start as a precaution. Montgomery’s availability moving forward will be closely watched, as will that of FSU’s bullpen — which will get tested on a short week with a series against No. 9 Louisville beginning on Thursday.

Box score

The FSU – Florida box score can be viewed here.

Up next

FSU plays host to Louisville on Thursday (7 p.m. on ACC Network Extra). The series wraps up on Saturday afternoon due to the Easter holiday.