Alex Krutchik, Correspondent (@AlexKrutchikFS on Twitter)
TALLAHASSEE, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.net) – The No. 5 Florida State Seminoles started their weekend with a 9-2 rout of the UNC-Asheville Bulldogs.
Florida State starting pitcher Cole Sands struggled early. After allowing a leadoff walk, centerfielder Chris Troost doubled to bring home the first run of the game.
However, FSU (9-0) would get those runs right back. With 2 out and a runner on first, Cal Raleigh (3-for-4) hit a triple off the top of the right field wall to drive home Rhett Aplin. On the next at-bat, Drew Mendoza would drive home Raleigh to give the Seminoles the lead.
The ‘Noles would put up 3 more runs in the 4th. Cooper Swanson drew a walk with the bases loaded. Jackson Lueck hit a 2 RBI single to put the ‘Noles up, 5-1.
The Bulldogs’ (2-6) biggest chance to catch up to FSU came in the 5th. With a run already in, and runners on 1st and 2nd with 2 out, Cole Sands threw a wild pitch to allow Carmine Pagano to reach 3rd. Luckily, Sands (5 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 8 K) struck out Brandon Lankford to get out of trouble.
Although he pitched a quality start, Sands feels he didn’t have his best stuff.
“Not a lot was working for me”, said the Tallahassee native. “It’s refreshing to just look up and even on my worst night, it’s not a huge number up there.”
The big inning for the Seminoles came in the 6th. After walking the bases loaded with 2-out, Cal Raleigh drove a ball to right center for a 3-run double. Raleigh ended the night with 4 RBI, tying a career-high.
Raleigh, who came into tonight hitting only .192, said he got some work in with his coaches this week.
“We’ve just been working on some stuff,” Raleigh said. “Some little mechanical things, they just started clicking. So hopefully it keeps working.”
Junior pitcher Cobi Johnson came in relief of Sands. Johnson recorded 6 strikeouts in 2 innings. He now has 16 strikeouts in 6 innings this year.
Freshman Tyler Ahearn pitched the last 2 innings for FSU. He gave up no runs on 1 hit in 2 innings.
The Seminoles continue their series tomorrow at 6:00 p.m. Drew Parrish (1-0, 1.59 ERA) is expected to start for the ‘Noles.