Different Feeling

The College World Series starts today at Rosenblatt Stadium. No progam is more aware of that fact than FSU, which is already preparing for next season following its Super Regional defeat to Texas. FSU stands to lose five pitchers, including the weekend starting rotation, plus five position players. The Territory caught up with Seminole recruiting coordinator Jamey Shouppe, who talks about the program's upcoming challenge.

What are your thoughts concerning the Super Regional against Texas?

"I guess wishful thinking would be the best thing. Just wish we could have had the lineup we wanted on the field for the most part of the year. We never really... I don't think we had a handful of games in which we had the lineup that we thought would be the our best lineup when we began the year on the field. That's kind of disheartening. Obviously, when you lost and don't put your best foot forward it doesn't hurt as bad as having all of our bullets in your gun like we did last year and just kind of falling flat on our face. It still hurts but I you just wish... it was one of those where you look back and think what could have been, what might have happened. If we would have (Stephen) Drew, if we had (Eddy) Martinez-Esteve. Even with (Blake) Balkcom, he really never got as many at-bats as a lot of people on the team because he was injured part of the year. I just wish we could have had a cohesive group together on the field rather than one lineup one night and another lineup because of injury the next night."

Injuries also forced others to step up?

"I think actually the injuries helped us be as good as we could be or could have been with the lineup we were able to put on the field. Because of the injuries, a lot of people got a lot of experience during the year that wouldn't have gotten that experience had we been healthy the whole year. So, we were as good as we could be for the team that we were able to put on the field because of the injuries. But we were just not at full strength because of the injuries. You can't replace a Stephen Drew in your lineup. You can't replace the way Eddy Martinez-Esteve hit all year. He was our leading hitter and it's hard to replace those type guys. Neither one of them were in the lineup at the same time except three games I think it was the regular regional."

Talk about your staff's performance against Texas.

"I was not displeased. I would have liked to have pitched better the first night. We gave up a few runs out of the bullpen. It wasn't something that you looked at our staff and said we are not good enough in this area. I think it was more a credit to Texas and the way they swung the bats and the way they were able to put the ball in play when they needed to. Really, I didn't look as much at us and be disappointed as I did look at them and think they did a better job than we did."

Are you getting any type of feeling concerning your drafted underclassmen?

"From meeting with the players, I think Balkcom wants to come back. I think Tony McQuade wants to come back. Trent, I think can go either way. I don't know if he exactly knows what he wants to do right now. We are still in the early process with that."

How much did your senior pitchers mean to this program?

"I was just thinking about Matt Lynch and sending him a letter or a note for just thanking him for what he was able to do for our program through the years. He was just a winner. One word to describe him, you had to put him down as a winner. He ranks up there fourth all-time in ACC wins. Just a guy who really competed every time he got the ball in his hands. Didn't have a great year but he still competed every time out. In the latter part of the season he came through. ... including the regional, I think his last three outings he didn't give up a run. He's just a great guy. A true winner. He's a guy that you are going to have a lot of problems replacing. Not only from what he did on the hill, but for what he offered the younger guys in terms of leadership. For them to be able to see a Matt Lynch go about his work day in and day out. You can't measure that when you start talking about what it means to your baseball team.

"Daniel Hodges is the same way. Hodges is a guy who is not blessed with a lot of athletic gifts but he yet he gets the most out of what he has. You look at him and say he can't be the closer at the No. 1 team in the country, Florida State baseball. He goes out there every night and gets the job done. Hodges offers a lot of hope for a lot of guys. They see Hodges be successful and they realize their fastball is better than his. Their breaking ball is better than his. They just have to develop that knack of getting hitters out like he did."

While Marc LaMacchia's injury was a blow to this team, others such as Trent Peterson and Daniel Davidson had to step up.

"Trent Peterson and Daniel (Davidson), both of those guys benefited when Marc (LaMacchia) went down early in the season with an injury. They grabbed hold of the opportunity they had and made the most of it. Daniel, who has always been a good pitcher, I just don't think people realized how good he was because he was just a situational guy for us. There's another what-if. What if Marc LaMacchia had been healthy and Trent Peterson would have been our No. 2 or No. 3 guy with Matt Lynch in there and we had Daniel Davidson to matchup against left-handers. That's just what-if all day because of the injuries. But those two guys, Trent and Daniel, answered the bell for us. That's the whole key.

"That's what I hope the young guys took from the season - consistency. Mark Sauls, Glenn Simon, DiBlasi, Hunter Jones. Those guys are very capable guys. I just hope they learned the key in being successful at this level is consistency as much as anything. You look at Matt Lynch and he doesn't have an overpowering fastball, but he competes and every time out you know what you are going to get. You are going to get honest innings out of him. The same thing can be said about Daniel Davidson. He's 85, 86 miles per hour. He's not going to light up the radar gun. He's crafty. He knows what he's doing. He's in control. He fields his position good. He does all the little things that puts himself in position to win. I hope the younger guys. ... Mark Sauls has all the potential in the world. He had a great season in terms of learning and he's an intelligent guy. At some point, it just clicks. I hope for his benefit more so than anybody else because I think his ceiling his so high that this year really has an affect on him. I think it will.I hope it will."

You are in a different position than past years where you must rebuild the program.

"We've in the last two regionals as the No. 1 team in the country and we didn't get to play any baseball after that. I kind of like it. We are going to grasp hold of that and see if we can motivate the kids that way. Rather than being the No. 1 team in the country we are going to try to see if we can't become the No. 1 team in the country by the end of the season. Great. We are going to relish that role. We are going to challenge our guys by it and we are still going to hold them to the same standards that we've always had for our program. We are looking forward to having that different role associated with our baseball team. Let's see what we can do with it."

Everyone has said that last year the program had an empty feeling following the Super Regional defeat to Notre Dame. There's a different feeling this year.

"This year was different. This year Texas was better than we were and the reason for that was because we were not at full strength. Had we been at full strength and they beat us, I think it would have been a little harder for us to swallow than it is this year. (Texas coach) Augie Garrido said it pretty good in the press conference. They didn't have the karma. It wasn't meant to be for them. It appeared that way. Last year was a state of depression because it was so unexpected. We just didn't play good on that weekend. We felt we were better than Notre Dame was last year. We just didn't get the job done. That shocked us and that hurt us. You never get over the hurt of losing a baseball game. But it made you wonder what-if rather than why. Last year was a big why. How really was the question we had last year. How in the world did those guys beat us? This year was what-if. What-if this team had been healthy. I would have loved to have seen what happened."


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