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With Florida State coming off a 5-1 week, we've got to be happy with the Noles performance, right? Not so fast. Click here to read Drew's weekly baseball update.

With Florida State coming off a 5-1 week, we've got to be happy with the Noles performance, right? I keep saying that to myself, but I'm not sure if I really believe it. Sure, it was great to take two out of three games from the hated Gators, and coming back from an 8-0 deficit like FSU did is certainly something to be proud of.

The 'Noles won 5 games last week, including 2 of 3 versus Florida.
But I can't help but feel a little disappointed that the Seminoles even fell behind by that much to begin with, but I guess these things do happen.

Florida State's team ERA took a hit this week, but that's to be expected with increased competition as well as three-midweek games that stretch the pitching staff more than it really needs to be. I know that Coach Shouppe was not at all happy about having to play the extra game, but Siena was adamnent about playing three. The Seminole pitching staff now has a 2.56 era, up from 2.04 last week. Eddie Cannon's rough outing on Sunday was balanced out by Glen Simon's surprise seven-innings of shutout ball against Siena on Thursday.

Marc LaMacchia's status is still a mystery, however with the redshirt cutoff date fast approaching; a decision is going to have to be made pretty soon. The last MRI showed a possible partial tear in an elbow ligament, and these kinds of injuries don't heal themselves. I would expect Marc to go under the knife and take the medical redshirt this season. It's pretty much down to the coaches convincing themselves that they're going to be without him for the year.

Even without LaMacchia, Florida State's pitching staff is as deep as it's ever been. The emergence of Rhett James this week only helped to underscore that fact. James pitched in all six games this week, including three innings of shutout ball against the Gators on Sunday. If James can keep it up, he'll get a lot of innings before the season is through.


Senior pitcher Daniel Hodges earned saves in Games 1 and 2 versus UF.
And of course there's always the Hog, Daniel Hodges. Through 17.1 innings so far this year, Daniel's given up no runs and only eight walks, balanced out by fourteen strikeouts. As unconventional of a closer as he is, Hog certainly has settled into the position like a pig in, well... mud.

Hog had a few choice words for the Florida dugout on Friday night during his save appearance. Apparently the Gator players were making comments to him about the junk he's known for throwing, claiming that they'd be able to tee off on him. Hog got the last laugh with saves in both Friday and Saturday's games.

All was not good for the pitching staff this week though.


Senior pitcher Chris Whidden got rocked in the 9th-inning versus Sienna last Tuesday.
Aside from Eddie Cannon's problems on Sunday, Chris Whidden went from a possible surprise start last Thursday, to wondering whether or not he'd ever see the field again. Coaches informed the senior righty before last Tuesday's game against Siena that he'd get the start on Thursday, and to get his feet wet, he was put into Tuesday's game in the ninth inning with a 13-5 lead. Two hits, a walk, and three runs later, Hodges had to come into the game to get the final three outs. Now granted, not all of those runs were Whidden's fault, as the Noles made two errors in the inning, but Chris didn't help himself either, misplaying an easy roller in front of the plate.

I must admit that I was wrong for speculating that maybe Stephen Drew wasn't just in a slump. He proved beyond a doubt since last week that the slump is over, improving his batting average from .278 to .346, including four doubles and a homerun. Drew also stole seven bases during that time frame.


Junior outfielder Matt Sauls has improved at the plate, raising his average forty points.
Speaking of turning it on, Matt Sauls has certainly picked up the pace lately. Not only has he raised his average forty points, but he's also being more patient at the plate. After being second on the team in strikeouts up until last week, Sauls only fanned once against the Saints and Gators. He seems to be learning that small ball might not be the worst thing in the world and that you don't have to swing for the fences each time up.

Florida State began testing of a new baseball software package this week made by Pinnacle Systems. Basically what this software does, is record and track pitches and hits, and can whittle a baseball game down from three hours to about eight minutes of action. Once a game is recorded, a user is able to run a series of filters so that if you wanted to just see how Stephen Drew did in 2-1 count situations against left-handed pitchers, a click of a few buttons would automatically display the stats and video for you. It's really high-tech stuff and there are only a few schools testing it out right now. I'll try and get more details in the coming weeks.

I had a long chat with Bernie Waxman on Sunday, the Director of Facilities at Florida State. He said that while they have faced some delays due to weather and various other problems, the Noles will still place a sizable bid for hosting post-season play as usual this season. There is no doubt that the left-field bleachers will be in place by then, in fact hopefully by the end of this month. Despite Watkins' filing for Chapter 11, work has continued on the stadium, with both staircase 'spires' being partially constructed in the past week. When asked about whether or not the roof would be extended to cover the new sections of the grandstand, he responded with a "when, not if," almost certainly before the start of the 2004 season.


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