Mike's Corner

After taking two of three from rival Florida over the weekend, Florida State turns its attention to a midweek series against St. Joseph's before opening Atlantic Coast Conference play at home against Virginia. Click here to read this interview with head coach Mike Martin, who talks about his team's effort against the Gators as well as what awaits the 'Noles. "That's what fires me up. That dugout was not in the least bit happy with what was going on. They fought," Martin said of his team.

On Sunday's effort at Florida.

"A lot of times when you are having success, and this ball club got to a obviously a great start, and then to ball behind 8-0 against a club that you have beaten two days in a row you might think that somebody is going to drop their guard and put it in cruise control and be satisfied that we won two out of three. That's what fires me up. That dugout was not in the least bit happy with what was going on. They fought. Dadgum, the guy struck out seven of the first eight he faced. There wasn't any of this, ‘Oh, this guy is great. That's the best stuff I've seen all year.' It was ‘somebody pick us up. Somebody get us going.' And sure enough, a couple things happened. He gets taken out of the ball game and the rest is history. I just can't say enough about how proud we coaches are of the way our baseball team displayed character yesterday."

"I think when we were three or four down on Saturday, we definitely did not see any indication of panic. Yesterday (Sunday), in the fourth inning and your third starter is not getting it done and you have to go to your bullpen, which had been used an awful lot in the last two weeks, you have your doubts as a coach. Doubts mean concerns. I don't doubt anything about this ballclub but I do have concerns. But then Hunter Jones goes out there and pitches pretty darn good. Rhett James pitches well. It was a ballgame I will remember for a long time but it was Florida. With a 8-0 lead, you know they are thinking this baby is over with. But it was certainly not the same indication over in our dugout."

It appears you are getting some of the leadership you want.

"I am seeing it from a lot of people. Tony Richie.Jerrod Brown. (Tony) McQuad is not a vocal leader but the guy who leads in his own quiet way is (Stephen) Drew. The way he makes sure he doesn't let anything affect him. For example, the two errors he made the other night, you know the man is a human being (laughter). When he made those errors, I am telling you people were looking at themselves wondering, ‘Gosh, I have never seen Stephen Drew do this.' Well, what did he do? He fielded the next six and came through with a big double to win the game for us. When guys see that, they feed off of that. So many times guys who are supposed to be leaders don't get it done with a quality at-bat. The players who get it done don't normally have to be vocal. Drew is one of those guys. Drew will get vocal at himself but not at somebody else. Maybe like a Ryan Barthelemy will do. Or a Jeremy Morris do."

Matt Sauls appears to be coming around with some clutch hitting.

"He's a fighter. He was showing me that no matter what kind of diversity he's experiences, he's still going to go out there and fight people. And yesterday when we had a man on second base and one out and we struck out, or we popped it up, that did not allow that man a chance to score. He comes up to the plate and rips one to left field and gives us that two-out hit that we needed so badly. I like this makeup."

What are some of your concerns with this team?

"Well, I think we are still continuing to make some plays defensively – or lack of making plays defensively. We're not great base runners from one to nine. Last year's team, we had great base runners one to nine. And we still have to continue to strive for that. You don't want to get somebody at second who can't run a lick and the guy at first can fly and you get a base hit to center field, you should be first and third and yet Mike (Martin, Jr.) has to hold the guy who was on second at third and it changes the whole complexion of the inning."

You start ACC play Saturday (Virginia). Take us through the league.

"I think a lot of people will view teams like North Carolina and Wake Forest and N.C. State as down. I can tell you right now those clubs are capable of beating you three games. Then, you look at Georgia Tech and Clemson, those powerful clubs. Georgia Tech returned everybody who had a win on their pitching staff. Clemson is Clemson. They are going to be successful. They have proven that year in and year out. I don't care what they have returning. Duke and Maryland, those people are getting better each year. They will have one, two guys who can go out there and cause you a lot of trouble. You have to be poised and ready for every single game that we play in this league. It can happen. Duke beating Wake Forest last year, nobody thought Duke could beat Wake Forest. We needed that to happen in order to win the regular season, it happened. You better be ready every night that you play. It has been my experience that this is the toughest league I am aware of and it's voted No. 1 again this year. I honestly feel it will take 19 or 20 wins to win this league. I am just telling you right now, Georgia Tech and Clemson are extremely good. You have Wake Forest, North Carolina, N.C. State, it's a well-balanced league again."


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