TJ Knapp, Correspondent
TALLAHASSEE, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.net) – Pitching dominates, as Florida State had no answers for North Carolina ace J.B. Bukauskas and drops the series opener 3-1.
The Seminoles (18-9) were only able to muster three hits against the UNC right-hander. Bukauskas (5-0) struck out 10 batters while walking two and allowing only one run. The Tar Heels (20-6) enjoyed home runs from both Brian Miller and Ashton McGee.
This game was a pitching display early on as Cole Sands and Bukauskas threw up zeros over the first two frames. Sands got bit for two runs in the third inning—in-part due to Miller’s homer—but managed to work through six innings allowing only the two runs. FSU’s offense just couldn’t figure out Bukauskas, plain and simple.
“It was just one of those nights where you tip your hat to Bukauskas. That was beautiful pitching on his part, he was masterful.” High praise from FSU coach Mike Martin. When the winningest active coach in college baseball is impressed, he’s probably the real deal.
Bukauskas is currently rated the No. 3 prospect for the 2017 MLB draft by Baseball America.
Freshman Drew Mendoza made his long awaited debut Friday. Mendoza missed the first 26 games of the season with a thumb injury. The young third basemen went 0-for-4 but did come just short of a home run on a deep fly out to center in the fifth inning.
His line in the box score may not seem impressive, but 11 saw it differently.
“What impressed me about Drew (Mendoza), is that he knew what was in store. The guys who make the millions get 30-40 at bats to prepare for a season and this young man didn’t back down at all. He’s going through spring training against teams that are ranked in the top 10.”
It is interesting to think about; College baseball players who return from injury don’t have the time or luxury to rehab in game situations like professionals do, leaving them to adjust on the fly and grind through the season. Mendoza will be a fun story to follow for the rest of the season.
The Noles look to rebound Saturday at 6 PM. Tyler Holton (4-0) will take the mound for the garnet and gold, while Luca Dalatri (2-2) will be chucking it for the Tar Heels.