Armed and Dangerous

Florida State's impressive power show aside, the Seminoles' pitching staff also enjoyed a solid effort in regional action. South Alabama coach Steve Kittrell was certainly impressed, as the Jaguars were limited to four hits in the Seminoles' decisive 12-2 win Sunday at Dick Howser Stadium. "You just have to tip your cap. They had so much pitching depth, they were ready for whatever happened. I really have to give them a lot of credit," Kittrell said.

Florida State's impressive power show aside, the Seminoles' pitching staff also enjoyed a solid effort in regional action.

Starters Matt Lynch and Daniel Davidson registered complete games, Rhett James looked solid in five innings of middle relief and even freshman starter Glenn Simon, who was not on the team's travel roster to start the season, did his part in Sunday's decisive 12-2 victory over South Alabama at Dick Howser Stadium.

And let's not forget FSU trotted out five pitchers in Saturday night's elimination game against Rutgers. Additionally, starter Trent Peterson kept FSU within striking distance of South Alabama in the Jaguars' 8-5 victory Saturday.

Okay, ace reliever Daniel Hodges has struggled to find the strike zone with his offspeed pitches and has been an easy target for opponents recently. His future effectiveness is certainly a concern. However, it still appears the Seminoles' staff is poised and primed for super regional play against defending College World Series champion Texas this weekend at Dick Howser Stadium.

"You really have to be amazed with the pitching that Florida State has," UAB coach Steve Kittrell said.

"The lowest guy on their team has a four-something ERA and most of them are in the twos. They don't walk many people. They are hard to run on. They are quick to the plate. (FSU pitching coach) Jamey Shouppe evidently does a tremendous job. You just have to tip your cap. They had so much pitching depth, they were ready for whatever happened. I really have to give them a lot of credit."

UAB leftfielder Ryan Mulhern, the program's leading power hitter in school history, agreed as he shook his head in disbelief.

"They just kept coming. It was crazy," Mulhern said.

Crazy as in beautiful.

"Jamey Shouppe is the best pitching coach in the country in my opinion," FSU coach Mike Martin said.

"We held them to four hits the last game and Jamey deserves an awful lot of credit. Certainly, that has been the strength of our club all year. We used a lot of guys, and Jamey prepares each and everyone one of them.'

James, a junior-college transfer from Pensacola Junior College, played a key role in Sunday's decisive 12-2 win. James was summoned in the third inning after Cole Craig's double off freshman starter Glen Simon trimmed the lead to 5-1. James ended that inning. In the fourth, after the Jaguars scored a run, James was staring at the bases-loaded situation. He got shortstop Brett Parker to hit into an inning-ending double play in the game's pivotal moment. The next three innings, he did not allow South Alabama a hit.

"He's a real good pitcher," said Mulhern, who hit his 20th home run in Sunday's first game, a 13-5 FSU victory. "Normal guys, you see the break (curveball) and it's going to end up here (off the plate) but it keeps going and going. He got a lot of guys to swing at his pitch and stuff and he did a real good job of keeping it down."

Kittrell also said Martin made a good choice by going to the bullpen early with James in the second game.

"I thought Mike went to the pen and pulled the freshman (Simon) out early," Kittrell said. "He did a good job for them but he pulled him in a good time and got out of that inning. It worked out very well for him.

"I also thought Mike Martin did a smart thing - he saved his No. 3 guy (Davidson) and was able to save him and got a great game out of him (first game Sunday). We were kind of short on pitching and they took advantage of it.

"That's what champions do, they rise to the occasion. We came to a tough place. I think there's a lot of regionals we could have won. I am not going to say we would have, but I think we could have. It's tough to beat the No. 1 team in the country on their home field two out of three and that's what we had to do."

James, who threw a career-high 4.1 innings to earn the victory, was all smiles after the game.

"I went up to coach Shouppe before the game and told him if he needed anybody to go a long period of time I was going to be there for him if he needed me," James said.

"But it's an easy job to go out there when your hitters are putting up seven home runs, 12 runs on the board. All we are doing out there is pitching right down the pipe, getting the ground balls. There were a couple times I needed ground balls and got them. And I had great defense behind me."

Kittrell commended the Seminoles' overall effort.

"I think they were ready to play. They knew they had a mission to accomplish and kids like that who are on championship programs. ... I just think it was their day. They were extremely ready to play," he said.


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