Hubbart battles, Roberts productive at plate as FSU wins series

Florida State clinched its third straight ACC series win with a 7-2 victory over Duke on Saturday. 

Florida State (16-6, 6-2 ACC) has yet to lose a weekend series, claiming six in a row to open 2022. The Seminoles have won six straight series to open the season for the first time since 2016.

Bryce Hubbart (5-1) had a rebound performance from last weekend, throwing seven innings and only relinquishing two runs on eight hits. The two runs were a pair of solo home runs by Duke catcher Alex Stone. 

“It was really good to see Hubbart grind through it,” FSU coach Mike Martin Jr. said. “I think he landed maybe one off-speed pitch in the first four innings. That shows you a gutsy performance but it’s also a credit to Jimmy (Belanger), who knows you can’t get through a lineup with just one pitch … I pulled Hubb aside and said, ‘It weren’t long ago that you would have been out of that game really quick.’ It’s that maturation process.”

Davis Hare came in to close out the remaining two innings for FSU. 

The Blue Devils (11-12, 2-6) were putting the ball in play all afternoon but could not drive them home, stranding 10 runners on 11 hits. This was in part due to a pair of great defensive plays from FSU. Third baseman Brett Roberts caught a line drive that would have scored runners in the fifth, and left fielder AJ Shaver made a diving catch in the sixth inning to save a run as well. 

“I think our defense is really good,” Roberts said. “I don’t think we’ve shown the full potential we have but we are going to keep getting better.”

Speaking of Roberts, the sophomore had three RBI on the day, including a two-run homer to put FSU on the board first in the second inning. Jaime Ferrer also contributed a two-run home run, and Alex Toral launched his team leading 7th home run of the season — a 436-foot bomb over the fence in right field. Toral finished with two RBI.

Martin Jr. told the media earlier this week that the coaching staff was making tweaks to Roberts’ swing. And while he went 0 for 4 on Friday, Roberts turned in a performance on Saturday that kick-started the offense early. 

“His exit velocity the last two days was much improved,” Martin Jr. said. “Those were the kind of Brett Roberts swings we have got to have.”

“I felt tremendous, widening out my stance a little bit and keeping my hands back,” Roberts added. “I felt great going into this series.”

Box score

The FSU-Duke box score can be viewed here.

Up next: Duke at FSU

Florida State will attempt a series sweep against the Blue Devils on Sunday with first pitch at 1 p.m. (live stream on ACC Network Extra).