On The Hill

TheTerritory recently caught up with Florida State pitching coach Jamey Shouppe, whose staff is off to a solid start despite the injury to Marc LaMacchia. Click here for the first installment of this two-part series with Shouppe. "We have increased our workouts a little bit because we feel like we do have a lot of potential this year, maybe more than we've had in the past -- especially more depth than we had in the past," Shouppe said.

You have to be pleased with your staff thus far, especially since you have had to deal with an injury to one of your ace pitchers in Marc LaMacchia.

"We are certainly very pleased. Our guys have worked hard. They work hard every year. These guys this year have worked especially hard. We have increased our workouts a little bit because we feel like we do have a lot of potential this year maybe more than we've had in the past. Especially more depth than we had in the past."

How is Marc doing? (LaMacchia underwent an MRI on Monda).

"I don't think he's hurt bad. I think that's the key. But we are just being real cautious because we do have the depth to keep things rolling as a pitching staff here. And, secondly, it's still early in the season and there's no reason to risk an injury or a chance of him being permantly injured at this point in the season."

You have received some nice performance from your other pitchers.

"Trent (Peterson) has done that a couple of times in the preseason as well. He just came out and dominated our hitters a couple of times. He can be very, very good. He does what Marc LaMacchia does from the left side. He can throw a changeup for a strike at anytime in the count. He doesn't throw quite as hard as Marc does but he does throw in the upper 80s. And when you mix that changeup in, and he throws that fastball at 88 miles per hour, it gets on you in a hurry and looks that much harder. The biggest improvement Trent has made from last year is he has learned to throw the ball inside. The thing that compliments a changeup is a fastball. He just has that going right now. He's our biggest strikeout guy so far this season."

Talk about your depth.

"Marc LaMacchia is the key for us. We have to get him back before we hit that middle part of the season when we start ACC play and Miami and those guys. But, again, we are not going to rush him to get him into a position to help us there. I am sure he wll be back by then. I think his injury is a combination was the weather in Stanford wasn't real good and he had a strain in his elbow and that scared him as much as anything because this is a big year for him. What this has done is forced us to show that depth and forced us to use a lot of guys. Sunday, two things I was unhappy about. One, you would think in a 17-0 win your pitching coach would be happy. But the two things I was unhappy about was one, we had to go get Trent Peterson because we had to get guys innings. When you are only playing on weekends. ... we had to get some guys in and get some guys some work. I was unhappy we had to go get him after five innings because he was throwing so well. And then we had to cancel the game because they ran out of pitching basically and had a long trip ahead of them. There were a couple of guys I wanted to get in .. Rhett James I wanted to throw him an inning and Daniel Hodges I wanted him to get back out there as well. But we do have some good depth and I have said that from the beginning of the season. I like this pitching staff."

You finally get into the midweek part of your schedule next week.

"We are definitely looking for more games. The starters are looking forward to that because they get to go more than five or six innings. We won't do that this weekend. But they (starters) are ready for seven or eight innings. Whatever the situation of the game calls for."

Can you talk about Matt Lynch's start this season.

"Matt is not throwing as good as Matt is capable of throwing - that's obvious by the numbers he has put up. What Matt gives you though, he gives you a reliable guy because he's going to give you honest innings. If somebody beats Matt Lynch, they are going to beat him. He's not going to beat himself. He's not going to walk people. He does everything you ask of pitchers. He fields his position well. He holds runners well. You have to beat Matt Lynch in order to beat Florida State. Matt Lynch is not going to beat himself. He hasn't thrown as good as he's capable of throwing. He has had problems locating a fastball inside to right-handed hitters and that's always been his strength at Florida State. We are playing around a little bit with him moving to the other side of the rubber just to try it out a little bit this week to see if that helps next weekend against Charleston Southern. You never know. It's just like a hitter. Sometimes you make a small change and it kind of kickstarts them and gets them going out of slump a little bit. So, we will make some small changes with Matt and see if we can play around a little bit and get him kick started. He hasn't thrown badly. He just hasn't thrown great and you expect a Florida State No. 1 guy, especially a Matt Lynch who has proven he can pitch great to pitch great every time out. I think he will get that turned around in the near future. He's such a reliable guy, always has been at Florida State. You know he has never missed a start at Florida State? That shows just how dependable and reliable he has been. Since his freshman year when he got into our rotation, he has never missed a start because of injury or any other reason."

Can you talk about Mark Sauls.

"He's an extremely gifted young man. He has a chance to go into professional baseball but decided to attend college. He was a third-round draft choice by the Minnesota Twins this year. He really wanted to come to Florida State his whole life. I think it's going to be a very wise decision for him. His best baseball is definitely in front of him. He's a big, strong kid. He's also a tremendous athlete for his size. Usually you see those bigger guys and your first thought comes to your mind is they are a little clumsy and can't field their position. Don't have quick feet. Don't have a good pickoff move. Can't hold runners on very well. But Mark is just the opposite. He's a big guy who is a very, very good athlete. Probably could play some third base at a lot of pograms. We are fortunate that he doesn't have to in this program. He can concentrate on where his money is going to be made at and that's on the hill. Just a great guy. He's quick to smile anytime you point out something he needs to work on. He's quick to work on it. He doesn't put a lot of pressure on himself. Just goes out and works every day. Extremely hard worker. Has fallen into what we are trying to do with our pitchers this year. We are trying to get them to sell out to the fact that as a pitching staff, we want it to be known that nobody works harder than we do inbetween starts and inbetween times that we pitch. I tell our guys that I want them on that hill, get on that hill and feel like they are going to get the hitter out simply because they worked on pitching than that hitter has worked on hitting. So that's the mindset we got. He has bought into that like all of them. But he's gifted. Mark Sauls, you can take some credit if you want to as a pitching coach but a lot of that is God-given ability. He is a tremendous competitor. He needs to perfect his slider and perfect his changeup a little bit. But the velocity on a good sinking fastball is something that you can't teach and he already has that."

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