FSU vs. NC State Weekend Wrap

Florida State came away with a sweep against an outstanding NC State ball club over the weekend. What did we learn about the Seminoles along the way?

No. 2 Florida State sent a message to the College Baseball world this weekend that it deserves to be the No. 1 team in the country. The Seminoles swept the No. 7 team in the country and did it in dramatic fashion. In the first game Florida State was able to withstand the pitching duel between future first round picks Carlos Rodon and Luke Weaver. The Seminoles got to the NC State bullpen after Rodon went out and ended up with a 6-1 victory. On Saturday Florida State went down in the first inning, but then bounced back and dominated the game winning 8-2 on stellar pitching and another 4-plus run inning. Game 3 is where it got Dicey for the Seminoles as the game went 13 innings. We ended the ninth tied at 7. NC State was the first team to score after a wild pitch put a runner in scoring position and then a Knizner single drove in the runner in the top of the 13th. Florida State responded in a big way. Singles by Justin Gonzalez and D.J. Stewart and then a beautiful bunt single by Josh Delph loaded the bases. John Nogowski came in and got the sacrifice fly to left which tied the game at 8. Jose Brizuela came up and hit a ball that landed just fair inside the left field line scoring Stewart and Florida State had swept the series with the 9-8 victory.

Here is how I grade the performances this weekend from Florida State.

A+:

Luke Weaver: Weaver pitched an outstanding 6.1 innings where he gave up only 1 run on 7 hits and two walks to go with 7 strikeouts. He was also fantastic in the field with two great plays to get himself out of a jam including fielding a bunt on the first base line and getting the runner at home.

Brandon Liebrandt: Liebrandt was also excellent on the mound for Florida State. He threw 5.1 innings of 1 run baseball and allowed 6 hits and 3 walks to go with 8 strikeouts. He was also able to throw a runner out at home after a bunt.

Jameis Winston: Winston came in and pitched the ninth, tenth, and eleventh innings for Florida State during game 3. He allowed 2 hits, but struck out 7 batters during that time including 5 in a row.

Ben DeLuzio: DeLuzio was excellent all weekend. He finished the series 6-15 with 1 RBI and scored 4 runs. He also stole 2 bases and notched his first career homerun.

John Nogowski: Nogo finished the series an incredible 7-16 with 4 RBIs and 3 runs scored. He did make a fielding error at first, but his outstanding play at the plate makes up for it.

Justin Gonzalez: Gonzalez went 5-11 during this series, but posted an amazing 6 walks to go with it. As per the usual he was also excellent in the field.

Jose Brizuela: Now we couldn't leave the guy who got the walk off hit off this list could we? Brizuela went 3-12 on the series, but was hit by 4 pitches and as we noted earlier had the biggest hit of the weekend when it mattered most.

Gage Smith: Gage pitched in every game this weekend including coming back to pitch an inning in game after going 2.1 innings in the first game of the double header. He allowed 0 runs. And has a magnificent mustache and beard.

The Animals of Section B: They got after NC State all weekend and were superb with their references to the NC State baseball player's twerking video. They were also loud and vocal all day long on Saturday as we played 10 hours of baseball.

A:

Danny De La Calle: De La Calle went 3-11 from the plate this series with 2 walks and 2 RBIs, but where he really made his mark is behind the plate. He caught all but 1 inning this weekend including 21 of the 22 innings that were played on Saturday. That is a tough task.

Brett Knief: Knief platooned this weekend with Casey Smit and Josh Delph, but he took advantage of the time he had. He went 4-8 with 4 RBIs and saved a run by throwing out an NC State runner at third base before the runner coming home could score in Game 3.

John Sansone: Sansone didn't have a good weekend at the plate and that is the reason he isn't in the A+ category, but he was incredible on defense all weekend. He showed great range and a good arm throwing to first multiple times while his body was headed the opposite direction. He went 1-10 with an RBI.

B+:

DJ Stewart: Stewart went 4-14 with 3 RBIs and a walk this weekend. He really struggled in game 3, but he was able to extend his now 46 game on base streak with a hit when it mattered the most.

C:

Mike Compton: Compton had a rough outing in game 3 giving up 4 earned runs in 4.1 innings with 9 hits, 1 walk, and only 2 strikeouts. He is still getting back into the rhythm of things after his injury and I expect him to have a bounce back game next weekend.

Final Thoughts:

Florida State was able to come through this weekend with a big series sweep and while a lot of people say that March games do not matter that much this one will. It sent the message that Florida State is for real this year. This team they beat deserved to be ranked where they were and will have an excellent chance of making it to Omaha. Rodon, Turner, and Knizner did not disappoint and I will be very glad to see the first two in the MLB next year.

That being said this Florida State team is the best that I have seen in at least a decade and may rival the 1999 team that played in the National Championship game. Pitching coach Mike Bell has done an excellent job with these pitchers and deserves an immense amount of praise for what he has been able to do with the staff. Mike Martin Jr. is doing an excellent job with the hitters as the Seminoles are doing a great job of working counts and taking walks when they are given to them as well as getting the big hits when they are needed. This team has a great chance to get to Omaha and do some massive damage when it gets there.


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