On the Spot

Marc LaMacchia beat Clemson on consecutive weekends, including the ACC Tournament championship game. LaMacchia beat South Florida in the regional final last Sunday. Now, LaMacchia must tame a hot-hitting Notre Dame team in Monday's Super Regional to help FSU advance to the College World Series. "Last year, the second half the season, Marc LaMacchia faded on us. This year, the second half he has gotten better. ...," FSU pitching coach Jamey Shouppe said Sunday.

Florida State pitching coach Jamey Shouppe sat down with TheTerritory's Jim Henry following Sunday's 12-5 victory over Notre Dame in the NCAA Super Regional at Dick Howser Stadium. The winner of Monday's game advances to the College World Series. Marc LaMacchia (11-1, 3.41 ERA) is scheduled to start for the 'Noles.

What's your book look like against this Irish team?

"You just throw balls that limit them to 18 hits (laughing). It's a very good, free-swinging team. You just have to get ahead. That's the key. Get ahead and throw something a little bit off the zone and see if you can get them to chase something because they are going to put good contact on the ball. They are hot right now. They are swinging the bat well. I thought Blair Varnes did a tremendous job of just hanging in there and battling.

"I think it's a team -- though I haven't seen them enough to know this -- it's a team if you catch them hot you are in trouble. And they are pretty hot swinging the bat. But hopefully in 18 hits and only limiting them to five runs will do a little bit to kill their enthusiasm. That's what you hope for. When you get a team that's hot and they are free-swinging as these guys are, they are tough to beat. We were lucky today. We were fortunate that they just hit singles instead of doubles. We played good defense. You have to play good defense. You can't walk people because they are going to get their hits. I think we allowed just two walks on the day (three), turn three double plays if I am not mistaken, maybe four (four). And that's key as well. You have to play defense when a team gets 18 hits. You can't walk people. That's what we did. That's why we were able to hold them to five runs to 18 hits."

Talk about Blair Varnes' performance?

"What happened to Blair to me was, he went out, the first guy gets a bunt, the next guy gets a hit-and-run bloop single, the next guy gets a bloop single and then he thinks he has to start changing what he's doing is working fine. And he got out of himself a little bit. He started slinging the ball a little bit, which is how he got into trouble in the first half of the season rather than just staying within himself and pitching. You can always tell because he falls off when he starts overthrowing. He tried to do more than what he was capable of doing, simply because they got three hits in a row off of him. Then it clicked in. I have to stay within myself. He got out of that first inning and then put it in cruise control for awhile. We played good defense behind him."

You should be in good shape from a pitching standpoint.

"This time of year everybody better be ready. Daniel (Davidson), he only threw 10 pitches. And Daniel is throwing the ball well. He walked a left hander and he can't do that. He's got to make left handers hit the ball. But his curveball looked good. I thought he had the leadoff hitter struck out a pitch before and the umpire didn't call it. So, he's throwing the ball pretty good. Kevin Lynch only threw four pitches today. He didn't throw any the first game. We are fresh enough to win. This point of the season it doesn't matter. We are playing for the right to go back to the College World Series."

Marc LaMacchia is your scheduled starter. How does he match up against Notre Dame?

"Marc matches up well against these guys because he throws a good changeup. Any time you have a lot of left-handed hitters and you have a guy who can throw the changeup, that certainly serves you well. I think he matches up well. I thought Blair matches up well with these guys -- I said that going into this game. Marc maybe even a little better because I thought Blair matched up well because his curveball is such a good strike pitch for him. And I think LaMacchia matches up well because his changeup is such a good strike pitch. And he does have the good curveball. We will see.

"LaMacchia has pitched great lately. He just have to continue to go out and stay within himself and pitch and let the rest take care of itself. He will. He has shown a lot of maturity. The ACC Tournament game, he was called for two balks in the very first inning. He showed the ability to put that behind him and get going and stay within himself and continue to pitch. He showed a lot of maturity against Central Florida, which I think scored two runs three consecutive innings to start the game. Then he shut them down for about five innings. That again is a sign of maturity. Last year, the second half the season, Marc LaMacchia faded on us. This year, the second half he has gotten better, so he has to continue to do that and show the same maturity he has shown the latter part of the season.

"I have said it all along, from day one, LaMaccchia has got the best stuff of anybody, as long as he stays within himself and pitches we will be fine."


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