Notes: ACC leader in OBP, Nelson’s HR pace, consistency from rotation

The Florida State baseball team will play host to Wake Forest in a three-game series that begins on Friday at 6 p.m. All three games will stream on ACC Network Extra.

Here are a few notes on the Seminoles:

Tyler Martin’s .553 on-base percentage leads the ACC. He has been on base in each of FSU’s last 11 games. The redshirt freshman is also first in the league in runs scored (23) and second in batting average (.400) and walks (16). 

Matheu Nelson hit his eighth home run (in 16 games) of the 2021 season in Wednesday’s win over UCF. Projected over the course of a 5\48-game season, that would be 24 home runs (the ACC would allow a 50-game season but it’s fair to expect a rainout or cancellation along the way). The last FSU hitter to surpass 20 home runs in a season was Buster Posey in 2008.

Robby Martin’s nickname is RBI and for good reason. He has 26 RBI in 17 games, but in his last six games Martin has 19 RBI. And it’s worth noting all of those games are FSU wins. Martin’s four home runs over the past two weeks match his career total in the first 91 games of his career.

The experiment of using two-way players has been productive. Friday night starter Parker Messick is hitting .296 with a home run and five RBI as FSU’s designated hitter. Wyatt Crowell is hitting .250 with four runs scored. Crowell has a hit in five of his last six games.

The Seminoles lead the ACC with a 2.81 ERA and .200 batting average against. FSU’s starting rotation remains the same, but there’s also no reason to change it. Messick has 40 strikeouts in 27 innings pitched. He has allowed just one more earned run (nine) than walks (eight) in 2021.

Conor Grady also has allowed just 10 earned runs (and only nine walks) in 26.1 innings. He has 30 strikeouts. Grady is the ideal Sunday starter, putting FSU in position to win — which the Seminoles did at Miami and at Virginia Tech. His outing against Virginia (two earned runs in seven innings) was also exceptional.

Bryce Hubbart has thrown 21.2 innings (with 31 strikeouts) and allowed just five earned runs (also just six walks allowed). He has a 2.08 ERA. Pitching coach Jimmy Belanger has preached three pitches for strikes in any count but the other lesson learned is not to walk batters. And FSU’s starters are keeping walks to a minimum.

Three relievers have yet to allow an earned run this season. Clayton Kwiatkowski (9.1 innings), Hunter Perdue (7.1 innings) and Jonah Scolaro (6.2 innings) have been very tough to hit with Kwiatkowski allowing batters to hit just 125.

Wake Forest is just 6-8 this season, dropping series to Notre Dame and Georgia Tech while losing both games at Miami. Known in recent years as a good hitting team, the Demon Deacons have a team batting average of .220 coming into the series.

The Wake rotation features three right-handers: Ryan Cusick (1-0, 3.63 ERA) will take the mound on Friday, William Fleming (1-2, 4.38 ERA) on Saturday and Rhett Lowder (0-1, 5.59 ERA) on Sunday.

FSU’s 2021 baseball stats can be viewed here

Wake Forest’s 2021 baseball stats can be viewed here