'Noles lose another, continue unwanted trend

For the Florida State baseball team, Tuesday proved to be a continuation of what has been a nightmarish second half to the season.

After posting victories in 26 of the first 28 games and grabbing a consequent No. 1 ranking in the country earlier this season, FSU (37-16) has seen its fortunes change in a quick way.

Now, as the season draws closer to its end and the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament looms next week, FSU is looking at the unfamiliar spot of underdog heading into postseason play because of a recent trend of poor play.

"This is certainly something that will be a challenge to all of us and I am anxious to see how we answer it," FSU head coach Mike Martin said.

Seeking that answer will go hand in hand in determining why the struggling Seminoles have dropped 14 of the last 25 games. After the early season dominance, FSU's once confident hopes of returning to the College World Series for the first time since 2000 have been replaced with a mere desire to head to the conference tournament on a relative high-note.

But it won't be easy.

Fresh off three consecutive losses to Clemson in South Carolina, the 'Noles bid to right the ship so-to-speak against non-conference opponent South Alabama Tuesday night failed in extra innings as the Jaguars escaped with a 7-2 victory.

And, as that score would indicate, it's the inability to generate points that has been perhaps the determining factor in the team's collapse. In 37 victories this year, FSU has averaged roughly 9.3 runs per contest. Compare that to just a little over three each game in 16 defeats.

"Lately we just haven't been getting base hits with guys in scoring position," said FSU third baseman Ryne Malone, who is second on the team in both RBI (42) and homeruns (9). "We just can't get the job done when we need to."

With a three-game series with N.C. State slated to kick off Friday in Tallahassee, the Seminoles have one final opportunity to put a positive swing on a season that has gone in the opposite direction of its goals.

Celebrating Senior Night in Sunday's contest, Martin just hopes his team's fortunes begin to change.

"We need a win," Martin said. "We need a win. We need to regain our confidence. We are trying so hard. The young men are putting forth every ounce of energy they have. There is not anybody going through the motions. We are just struggling to get that elusive win. These young men deserve better. But that is the way this game is. It doesn't owe you anything."

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