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FSU wins weekend series against UNF

FSU baseball swept North Florida in a Sunday doubleheader to win the season opening series.
FSU baseball swept North Florida in a Sunday doubleheader to win the season opening series.(Florida State Athletics)
Published: Feb. 22, 2021 at 1:48 PM EST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - No. 9 Florida State earned a weekend series victory with an 8-4 victory over North Florida on late Sunday afternoon. The Seminoles (2-1) swept both games of Sunday’s doubleheader, after losing to the Ospreys (1-2) on Saturday afternoon in both team’s season-opener. FSU has not dropped a season-opening head-to-head series since 1981.

“I like the energy in the dugout. Guys that played a lot of innings today, kept their energy level up. It’s good to see,” head coach Mike Martin Jr. said after the game. “[Starting pitcher] Conor [Grady] got us off to a good start in game two.”

The Seminoles got on the board in the bottom of the first inning when catcher Matheu Nelson hit a solo home run off the scoreboard in left. It was his second home run of the weekend and the ninth of his career.

FSU would open things up by posting five runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. Vince Smith hit a three-run home run, bringing home Jackson Greene and Nander De Sedas. It marked Smith’s first career hit as a Seminole. Dylan Simmons brought in Tyler Martin from third when he reached on a fielder’s choice. Simmons would then come around to score on a double by Reese Albert.

With FSU leading 6-0 heading into the sixth inning, UNF found some offense. First they drove FSU starter Conor Grady off the mound. Grady (1-0) finished the day with a good showing as he went 5.1 innings, allowing two hits, two runs (both earned), while walking three and striking out six. He has 16 career victories now. Then, with Tyler Ahearn pitching, Alex Kachler drove in a pair with a double down the left field line. Ahearn would then throw a wild pitch allowing another run to score from third. Jonah Scolaro replaced Ahearn, closing out the sixth inning. The Ospreys closed the gap to 6-3.

After an error in the field, Scolaro was chased from the mound in the top of the seventh inning as UNF had the corners with one down. Brandon Walker entered and immediately got a ground ball for a 6-4-3 to escape the situation.

FSU would add an insurance run in the bottom of the seventh inning when Dylan Simmons singled through the left side to score Matheu Nelson. FSU led 7-3 as they entered the eighth frame.

Brandon Walker walked the first two he saw in the eighth inning, leading to Chase Haney entering the game. It marked Haney’s second appearance of the weekend. Haney threw a wild pitch allowing the runners to move to second and third, then allowed a sacrifice fly by Cade Westbrook, before ending the threat by the Ospreys. FSU went to the bottom half of the eighth inning with a 7-4 lead.

FSU got that run back in the bottom of the eighth inning when Nander De Sedas scored from third on a wild pitch, making it 8-4.

The ninth inning for UNF at the plate involved an illegal bat situation which resulted in a scoring play being erased.

Chase Haney pitched the final two innings, allowing a hit, walking one, striking out four and throwing a wild pitch. He earned a save, his first of the season. He has 109 career appearances, which ranks fifth in school history.

FSU finished the day at the plate with eight runs on nine hits, including two doubles and two home runs. They also had seven walks and seven strikeouts.

The Seminoles wrap up their three-game weekend with a 2-1 record and a mix of good and bad returns from their first 27 innings of play. On Tuesday, when they return to the field at Dick Howser Stadium for practice, it will be time to fine-tune things after some real-game experiences.

“I’ve got a list longer than I’ve ever had,” Martin Jr. said of things he wants to correct after the weekend. “Can’t wait to get back to work Tuesday.”

Leadoff hitter Tyler Martin went 6-for-8 (.750) over the opening three games of the season, with five runs scored and two RBI. He added four walks and a. hit by pitch. He reached base safely in 11 of 14 plate appearances (.786 on-base percentage).

Also on the weekend, Nander De Sedas focus on batting from just one side appeared to play off as he went 4-for-8 and had an on-base percentage of .636. Robby Martin also had a good weekend with four hits and four walks in 14 plate appearances for an on-base percentage of .571.

Dylan Simmons had six RBI on the weekend, leading the Seminoles in that category.

Logan Lacey had both of FSU’s stolen bases on the weekend. UNF was 1-for-2 on stolen base attempts.

FSU committed five errors over the three games, with third baseman Vince Smith committing three of them.

FSU used a total of 15 pitchers over the weekend, with Chase Haney being the lone pitcher to make multiple appearances.

A total of ten Seminoles made their debut on the weekend, with nine seeing their first action on Sunday. Vince Smith started all three games at third base. On Sunday, AJ Shaver, Casey Asman, Richie Morales and Colton Vincent were position players to get their first opportunities, while Carson Montgomery, Kyle McMullen, Jackson Nezuh, Ross Dunn and Chris Ruckdeschel all saw action on the mound.

FSU hosts Pitt for a three-game series next weekend. The series starts on Friday evening at 6 p.m.

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