By Ariel Bedford
Florida State has been so dominant this year, rarely have the Seminoles been put under consistent pressure to perform, usually taking an early lead against their foes and cruising to wins. On the last game of a three-game series against the Terrapins, however, FSU showed that while they are still quite formidable, they aren’t invincible…
The Noles started off the match strong, getting pick-offs of Terps base-runners back-to-back and taking a 2-0 lead in the 1st inning thanks to a crushing leadoff solo home run by star 3rd baseman Sherman Johnson Jr. along with shortstop Justin Gonzalez’s RBI single that was followed by his tenth stolen base of the season. The fourth inning is where things got tight, with Maryland putting 3 runs on the board to pull within one of FSU. Florida State Pitcher Luke Weaver got into trouble in this inning, and by the time he was relieved by Hunter Scantling had given up 2 walks and 4 hits on 60 pitches, including the 3 runs. Scantling was nearly just as ineffective, getting blitzed for an RBI single by Maryland’s Jack Cleary almost as soon as he got on the mound.
The story of the game was Maryland’s do-it-all player Korey Wacker. The senior from Harker Heights, TX started the game at center-field, going 1-2 with a walk, and in the 7th inning with Maryland tied with FSU at 5 runs apiece helped quelch any momentum FSU got from an RBI sacrifice fly by Senior Catcher Stephen McGee. His 2 innings of work at the mound produced 3 back-breaking strike-outs and no runs for State, which proved to be the difference. FSU rolled out 6 throwers from the bullpen but couldn’t stop the floodgates, and when it counted didn’t have enough O to catch up to their ACC divisional nemesis.
The loss is but a mere blip on a solid weekend by State, and as long as they recover fast, having to play Stetson on the road in less than half a day, the Noles should not only be fine, but may still retain their #1 ranking in the major college baseball polls.