FSU Bolsters Hosting Case

Analysis

DURHAM, N.C. — The final month wasn’t terribly kind to Florida State, which limped into the ACC tournament coming off three straight conference series losses. The Seminoles still went 16-10 in the league, but their late swoon caused them to slip from a strong national seed contender to a borderline host candidate. Their ACC tournament opener Wednesday against NC State was very important to reverse their momentum and bolster their sagging regional hosting hopes.

The Seminoles fell into a 3-1 hole after five innings, but they fought back to tie up with two runs in the sixth, then broke the game open with four in the eighth en route to a big 7-3 win.

Florida State did some typical Florida State things — it drew nine walks, for instance, including four apiece against NCSU starter Cory Wilder and bullpen stopper Will Gilbert. The Seminoles also got characteristically strong work from their versatile bullpen, mixing and matching over four scoreless innings with righty Ed Voyles, sidearmers Matthew Kinney (from the left side) and Chase Haney (from the right), plus low-three-quarters closer Tyler Warmoth.

But the biggest key for Florida State was its defense. The Seminoles have been an average defensive team this year, ranking 118th in the nation and in the middle of the ACC pack with a .970 fielding percentage. But three very good defensive plays were crucial in allowing them to beat the Wolfpack.


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