An added day of rest helped the Florida State baseball team re-charge for the postseason.
Following a marathon 15-11 win over NC State on Saturday in which the Seminoles used seven pitchers, FSU has had time to recover and practice. The Seminoles also didn’t have to play on Day 1 of the ACC Tournament on Tuesday, instead holding a practice ahead of their first game against Duke on Wednesday at 11 a.m.
That allows FSU to keep freshman left-hander Bryce Hubbart (6-4, 3.43 ERA, 92 strikeouts and 25 walks in 65.2 innings) in the starting role against the Blue Devils.
“We kind of caught a break being able to go Wednesday-Friday,” FSU coach Mike Martin Jr. said. “It keeps the rotation intact and we don’t have to go short days’ rest or have an opener or anything like that.”
FSU will have Thursday off before its second and final pool play game against Miami on Friday at 3 p.m. Because the Seminoles are the No. 5 seed and the Hurricanes are the No. 4 seed, FSU would need to win both of its pool games to advance. (Regardless of Wednesday’s result, the Seminoles will play the Friday game.) Martin Jr. said he has learned to accept the positives of the format for the ACC Tournament.
“Back in the day, I didn’t like it,” Martin Jr. said. “But I’ve seen what happens to arms and to guys getting hurt and going through a grind to play twice a day. The old format that we used to have, I just think it’s better to do it this way. Yeah, it can be frustrating. The highest seed, everybody’s 1-1 and this meaningless game and all the different scenarios. But it sets up your pitching. And it doesn’t tax you so much to where you run into issues the following week.”
Left-hander Parker Messick (6-2, 3.30 ERA) will pitch on Friday vs. Miami. Both of FSU’s games will be televised by Regional Sports Networks. In Florida, the FSU-Duke game will be televised by Bally Sports Sun (full RSN listings here). Games will also stream on ACC Network Extra but may be blacked out in your area.
Greene’s bat warming up
Jackson Greene’s .187 batting average definitely stands out as a sore spot at the bottom of FSU’s lineup. His defense at second base has been a reason why he is in the lineup every day, and Greene has played the position remarkably well with just two errors in 46 games.
But Greene has been hitting better in his last eight games, going 10 for 27 (.370) with nine runs scored, seven RBI and two home runs.
“It’s really fun to see and you just feel good for those types of guys that have done their best and kept plugging,” Martin Jr. said. “He hasn’t taken his at-bats out to the field with him, which is shown by his incredible defensive play that he’s had all year. He’s never pouted. He’s just been grinding away. He sure has. He’s put together really good at bats the last couple of weeks.”
Anderson good to pitch
FSU right-hander Jack Anderson was hit on the hand by a line drive in Saturday’s game, but Martin Jr. said the reliever is good to pitch in the ACC Tournament.
“We caught a break,” Martin Jr. said. “He threw a light ‘pen yesterday, no pain, no stiffness, nothing in the hand. But that was a close one. We caught a break there.”
Duke’s 16-17 ACC record may not look impressive but the Blue Devils have found a winning formula, cranking 61 home runs — the fourth most in the program’s history — led by RJ Schreck (15 home runs) and Peter Matt and Chris Crabtree (12 home runs each). Duke is also third in the ACC in 2021 with a .285 batting average. (By comparison, FSU has 72 home runs and is hitting .247.) The Blue Devils (28-20) have won eight straight games going into the ACC Tournament, a stretch that includes sweeps of Clemson and Virginia Tech.
Right-hander Billy Seidl (3-0, 6.75 ERA) will start for Duke. He has 24 strikeouts and six walks in 18.2 innings, including just three starts. Since he hasn’t thrown more than two innings in a game in 2021, it’s likely he is an “opener” and will only pitch a few innings before yielding to the bullpen.
The Blue Devils enter the postseason on an eight-game winning streak and have won 10 of their last 12 games.
“Duke is the classic Duke team,” Martin Jr. said. “They’re really good. They defend. They can get a bunt down. They can do a little bit of everything offensively. Pitching-wise they will give you different looks. And they are as hot as anybody in the country right now.”
Duke’s 2021 stats can be viewed here.
The ACC Tournament has moved from its recent home of Durham, N.C., to Charlotte, N.C. Truist Field is a Triple-A park (the Knights are affiliated with the Chicago White Sox), and historically the park has been hitter-friendly with just 315 feet to the right-field wall. In 2018, the park was rated No. 1 in the minor leagues by Baseball America.
NCAA Tournament projections
The NCAA Tournament projections change week to week, although FSU has consistently been a No. 2 seed in recent weeks following the selections of 20 regional host sites (which will be narrowed to 16). D1baseball.com has projected FSU to the Tucson Regional, which is hosted by Arizona. The Wildcats are the No. 4 national seed in D1baseball.com’s view this week.