All the talk about Florida State’s past successes apparently getting to some members of the University of Louisville baseball team, tripping over their shoe laces in a 13-4 loss to FSU before a record crowd of 6,138 fans at Jim Patterson Stadium.
Even the best teams have bad losses. But this was one that could haunt the Cardinals as the season winds down, needing to prove themselves worthy of a national seed in NCAA tournament play.
Fears that Kyle Funkhouser would continue to struggle in the early innings were confirmed quickly, the UofL junior walking three batters and giving up three runs in the first inning. He would give up three more in the second.
Funkhouser throwing over 40 pitches in the first inning, still not finding his form. Taking too long to get comfortable in recent games. Finally settling down in the third, he would shut down the next eight hitters. By then the tenor of the game had been firmly established.
The pre-season All-American is losing confidence and control at the wrong time, prompting some serious concern about the all-important pitching rotation in the immediate future. The inability of once-starter Anthony Kidston, who was 14-1 in his first three seasons, to find the plate this year further complicates matters.
If anyone was expecting Jameis Winston, the Florida State quarterback and pitcher, to take part in this weekend’s series against the University of Louisville baseball team, they’re in for a disappointment.
Winston is not listed on the Florida State roster, dropping the sport after signing an NFL contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers forbidding him from playing professional baseball. The contract made no mention of college baseball but Winston got the message.
As a right-handed pitcher, he appeared in 41 games during his freshman and sophomore seasons at FSU, chalking up nine saves, an earned run average of 1.94, with 52 strikeout in 60.1 innings. He had a batting average of 209 in 158 at-bats.
As much as he loves baseball, the unpredictable Winston could still show up as a spectator, however.
* * *
If the Seminoles stick with their usual pitching rotation, UofL will see Boomer Biegalski, a 6-foot-2 righthander on the mound in the first game. Described by Baseball America as “not overpowering, Biegalski dots the corners with a low 90s fastball, mixing in a slider and change-up.” He has a 4-3 won-lost record this season and has 88 strikeouts in 76.1 innings. That compares with 82 K’s for UofL’s Brendon McKay in 64.2 innings.
* * *
FSU is led in hitting by left fielder D. J. Stewart, a 6-foot, 230-pound junior, who was the ACC Player of the Year in 2014 with a 350 hitting average. Stewart is currently batting 333 and has 12 home runs, seven doubles, a triple, and 45 runs batted in.
* * *
Florida State, with a 16-8 ACC mark and 36-14 overall, has scored in double figures 14 times this season, including a 24-1 win over South Florida at Tallahassee.
Let’s not call Florida State’s 68-63 win over the University of Louisville women’s basketball team an upset shall we.
Not when both teams had won 17 games going into the contest with three losses between them and the game is on the Seminoles’ home court. The upset word is used all too frequently and wouldn’t accurately describe what happened.
It would be correct to describe UofL Coach Jeff Walz as being a little more than upset after Florida State jumped out to a 21-1 lead, forcing him to use three timeouts in the first half to get his team back in the game. The Cardinals would miss their first six shots and turn the ball over six times during the first eight minutes.
Sara Hammond also would be knocked to the court in the first minute, laying motionless for almost a minute, missing the next 16 minutes. Responding to a desperate situation, turning up the defensive heat, the Cardinals were able to claw their way back into the game and cut the deficit to three points at the half.
Walz was steamed after the game, indicating that some UofL players have been too full of themselves lately, what with the lofty No. 4 national ranking and the 17-1 won-lost record. “Going through the motions in practice … not putting forth the effort necessary to get better,” he said.
He had warned last week that a less-than-stellar effort in practice was going to catch up with his team. Too many times, it seems, it takes a loss or two to force teams to get focused. Florida State was more than happy to oblige.
Hammond would score 15 of her team-high 19 points in the second half, and UofL would own a 60-54 lead with six minutes remaining. However, the Cardinals couldn’t buy a basket the rest of the way.