Quiet and relaxed. That’s how everyone else in the Seminoles dugout describes the two new Florida State starting pitchers. Boomer Biegalski and Drew Carlton weren’t at Florida State last year. Biegalksi played his first year of college baseball at the College of Central Florida and Carlton was a senior in high school.
Despite their lack of big time experience these two pitchers, along with senior Mike Compton, have been downright dominant over the last seven games. Biegalksi and Carlton have combined to throw 27.2 innings over their last four starts, against Clemson, Louisville, and College of Charleston twice, and given up just two runs in that span.
Biegalksi has one of the best changeups in college baseball and has used it to devastating effect. Pitching coach Mike Bell talked about why Biegalski’s changeup is so hard for opposing hitters to read.
“The biggest thing with his changeup is the speed differential from the fastball to the change,” Bell said. “His delivery, arm speed, the way it comes out of his hand, it makes it look like a fast ball. It’s got great speed differential and the great ones do have that. Not to mention the ability to throw it for a strike, any time any count, always helps.”
Biegalski going to a Junior College last season may have been more helpful to him than coming to Florida State directly out of high school. At least that’s what Bell believes.
“When you look at the recruiting process with Boomer, at the time he was ready to come out of high school, you had three quality starters already in place here,” Bell said. “He probably looked at it as an opportunity to go get innings and develop a little bit more. It ended up being a win-win for each of us.”
Normally you see pitchers start to decline as the innings rack up throughout the season, but that hasn’t been the case with Biegalski. He thinks that has a lot to do with the confidence he’s gained throughout the year.
“I think that has a lot to do with it,” Biegalski said. “We’re all playing well together so that helps you with confidence even more. Mechanics are clicking even more at the end because you’re getting in a groove.”
Biegalski has been very good for most of the season. Carlton, on the other hand, has had his ups and downs. Prior to the start of the post season he had four straight outings where he didn’t pitch past the fifth inning.
Against national seed Louisville and College of Charleston, however, he threw 13.2 scoreless innings in big time spots. Florida State had to beat Louisville to get to the ACC Championship game, and his win over College of Charleston propelled the Seminoles into the super regionals.
Coach Bell said that he had a problem with throwing too many strikes to start the season.
“It’s an easy pace for him,” Bell said. “If anything he’s had to expand the zone a little bit. That’s something we talked about in the fall where sometimes he would throw too many strikes. Sometimes he would get himself hurt in situations where he had a hitter in a pitcher’s count and he wasn’t expanding enough. That’s something he’s worked on hard. He’s worked on hard with his slider and his changeup to compliment his fastball.”
Bell went on to compare his demeanor on the mound to one of the all time great pitchers.
“He’s like a Greg Maddux,” Bell said. “He’s very simple. He’s looking three pitches for strikes. He’s going to attack the zone. He’s unflappable. He’s just a quiet manner. Under control. Not just with his body but with his emotions as well.”
Florida State is looking to make their 22nd trip to the College World series this year, but will have to get through rival Florida in Gainesville to do it. If the Seminoles are going to make that trip to Omaha these two pitchers will need to continue their momentum and keep a very talented Gator offense contained.