On The Hill

In this first of two parts, Florida State pitching coach Jamey Shouppe talks about his staff as it enters the season's second half. Of course, lefty Trent Peterson has emerged as the Seminoles' No. 1 starter. "He (Peterson) has answered every question we've had. Trent Peterson has been outstanding. He's pitching like a No. 1 starter at Florida State," Shouppe said. Click here for much, much more.

You received some solid pitching over the weekend against North Carolina, including nice efforts from Rhett James.

"Rhett James is a very good pitcher, a junior-college All-American coming in so the credentials are there. Has been a little inconsistent but hopefully we've done a few things that will help get him to where he needs to be every time out. He got a big double play ball for us (Sunday) and, of course, (Daniel) Hodges came in and mopped up at the end like he always does. It was a good win."

You said following Satuday's loss that you weren't disapppointed with Matt Lynch's effort.

"I said that after talking to Matt Lynch on Saturday night. I told coach Martin it's kind of hard to look at a guy who gave up 11 hits in five innings and tell him he didn't have a bad outing. But, he really didn't. It was one of circumstances where everything they hit seemed to find a hole. Three or four of those 11 hits were infield hits. He never could seem to get in a groove pitching because things weren't going well our way. But he did what Matt Lynch has always done throughout his career. He doesn't always have the best stuff but he always competes very, very well and he did that Saturday night very well. We were one big hit away from being back into the ballgame at any point."

Trent Peterson has obviously come on this year. There had been some concern in the past in how he coped when maybe things weren't going well. But that doesn't seem to be the case this season.

"Trent has really answered all the questions or what few questions we had about his ability. We just were concerned coming into the season on how Trent would do when the situations were difficult. Pitching out of jams. Not getting good run support. The mental aspect of pitching. We were concerned about that. He has answered every question we've had. Trent Peterson has been outstanding. He's pitching like a No. 1 starter at Florida State. He has always been very good. He was thrown into a situation where, especially with Marc LaMacchia going out (injury), where he had to come through and he has answered the bell there. I think it makes you feel good as a pitching coach – it makes me feel good – because he's ready. He has been in the program for three years and he should be ready, when you think about it. He has pitched in ball games for three years for us. He's pitching very, very well. That's what we envisioned out of him."

Marc LaMacchia's injury aside, have you had to juggle your staff a little more than you had anticipated coming into the season?

"We really hadn't. We thought we would. Daniel Davidson kind of answered the bell there for our third starter, and that was the big question mark. We knew Matt (Lynch) and Trent, one of those two, would be capable and are capable of holding down one or two of those spots. The question mark was who was going to be our third guy? Coming into the season, Mark Sauls pitched in that role a little bit. Trent even pitched in that role. So, Daniel Davidson stepped in and really performed well. He pitched a very good game (Sunday). Because he has been so consistent and so steady in that role, it kept us from having to do too much juggling. There have been some years at Florida State that, if this would have happened to us, you would see three or four guys continue to come in and out of that spot in the rotation. But Daniel has secured that for us. He has pitched well and gives us an unusual look of having three left-handers on a weekend rotation as well."

A concern from the series might be the offense. Is that a concern for the coaching staff or do you look at your talent and know it's going to come together?

"I think you hit the nail on the head there. We are not concerned. We are not panicking. I understand that from a fans' perspective. You want to go out and see 10 or 12 hits every game and balls leaving the ball park. But with the strength of the schedule that we play, that's not going to happen every night out. We would be a little more concerned if we didn't feel like the talent level was there. We were basically in the same spot we are this time last year and we got things rolling offensively. We've had a lot of things this year that a lot of people don't know about. ... even though guys like Blake Balkcom have been in the lineup and Tony McQuade and Jerrod Brown yesterday, we've had a lot of nagging injuries with our hitters. That has kept them from being as consistent as they need to be and want to be. From a coaches' standpoint, we are not panicking. We are not concerned. We know the talent is there and we still feel like we are going to hit at some point. I think the main thing that's keeping us from reaching that goal of being more consistent offensively is just the consistency of getting guys out there day in and day out. It's the little nagging injuries that you don't hear much about but they have an affect on players when they get in the batter's box. We will get healthy. We are going to get going offensively and hopefully keep it going pitching wise and we'll see how far we can take this thing this year."

You have had some new faces step up this season. Can you talk about Kevin Lynch and his role. He threw some quality innings for you last season.

"We only threw three or four relievers (last) weekend and Kevin needs to get the ball more. We are going to try to get the ball in his hands a little bit more. He is a guy who has proven he's very effective against right-handed hitters. It's really a situation this weekend where we kept waiting for the right situation to put him in, and he would have pitched Saturday had the situation dictated it. But, as I said, we were always one hit away from away of getting back into the game. So, he's definitely not an overlooked guy on our pitching staff. He's a guy that we got in our mind who can come in and get guys out. He's going to be utilized. ... I tell guys that the situation on weekends this time of the year when we are not.. ... Earlier in the year when we had week day games and we are playing teams that are not ACC-calibre teams on the weekend, we can kind of map out how often and how much somebody throws. But this time of year when there are no midweek games and we are playing ACC games or Miamis on the weekend, we just kind of go by feel and go by the guys that match up in the right situation. So I tell Kevin and I tell all the guys to be ready. It's not a matter of if you are going to pitch, it's just a matter of when you are going to pitch. You have to be ready when that opportunity comes. Kevin will be ready. Kevin can pitch. He will be on that hill a lot more times before the season is out. It was unfortunate we didn't get him this weekend but he will be out there before long."


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