FSU baseball coach Link Jarrett

FSU Baseball: Imperfect but Undefeated

The Florida State Baseball team has undergone a significant transformation since last year when they finished the season with a record of 23-31 and missed the postseason for the first time in 44 seasons. Their performance was particularly disappointing as they started the season with a record of 8-3 but then went on to perform very poorly, winning only 15 out of their next 43 games. However, this season, we have seen a major jump in the right direction under second-year head coach Link Jarrett, who has the Seminoles as one of the hottest teams in baseball. FSU is one of four remaining undefeated Division I teams this season along with TCU, Texas A&M and UC Irvine. So, what can we take away from this hot start from the Noles?

The Offense can be outright dangerous.

The Seminoles baseball team has had a great start to the season, scoring at least seven runs in their eleven games. In their most recent games, they’ve scored 11 or more runs in five out of six games. Despite having a more manageable schedule, the Seminoles still have an outstanding team batting average of .376, the best among the 295 DI teams and 10 points better than any central conference team. This speaks to their much-improved offensive approach this season. Out of 12 games, eleven players who have had 15-plus at-bats are hitting .300 or better on the season.

Although there are individual standouts, such as junior outfielder James Tibbs III, who has six home runs, twice as many as anyone else on the team, and sophomore third baseman Cam Smith, who has a .500 batting average through 54 at-bats this season, it’s been a total team effort. Six Seminole hitters are averaging more than a hit per game, and FSU can produce significant numbers from any spot in the batting order. This is accentuated by FSU’s much better-balanced lineup this season from both sides of the plate. This will help once the Seminoles start conference play and play teams like Duke (2.29) and Wake Forest (3.51), who rank in the top 50 in ERA. 

FSU needs to find another arm so Whittaker can work Sundays.

Conner Whittaker had an outstanding performance in the mid-week game against Florida Gulf Coast. Although he gave up two consecutive home runs in the first inning, he regained his composure and pitched six solid innings, facing 22 batters. He tied his career-high with nine strikeouts, allowed only three hits, and walked just one batter. So far this season, he has allowed zero runs and zero hits in his three appearances.

To dominate the tougher conference opponents in the upcoming weekends, the team needs to maintain a dominant pitching record during the weekend series. Coach Jarrett and the team have a great one-two punch in Friday starter Cam Leiter (2.70 ERA) and Saturday starter Jamie Arnold (0.00 ERA), who have a combined record of 5-0 this season. They have worked 37 innings, allowed 25 hits, eight runs (6 of which are earned), and struck out 58 while walking only fourteen. When Whittaker (3.63 ERA) is added to the mix, who is 2-0 this season and has only allowed 13 hits and 23 strikeouts, the team can face any opponent with confidence.

The question is, who should take the midweek spot? Although I am not the head coach, I would consider two pitchers: sophomore righty Ben Barrett and junior lefty Carson Dorsey. Barrett has an ERA of 1.86 in his three appearances and has allowed only nine hits and two runs while striking out 8. On the other hand, Dorsey has been the go-to pitcher when the starter struggled on Sundays. He has an ERA of 3.86 this season, having worked for 7 innings and allowed five hits and three runs while striking out 18 batters. Both pitchers would be great options for the mid-week spot, which would allow Conner Whittaker to move back to his original spot as the Sunday starter, making the weekend rotation one of the toughest in the country.

Final Thoughts

This Florida State baseball team has the potential to be an elite team this season. Their consistent performance is becoming hard to ignore as the season progresses. Compared to last season, this team is entirely different. The credit goes to Coach Jarrett, his staff, and their approach towards the game. They have improved the team in all aspects, ranging from plate discipline to defensive fundamentals. The team comprises a balanced mix of veterans, high school players, and portal players.

This will be tested once the Seminoles enter conference play, as they will be up against tougher competition and must face teams like Louisville, Virginia, Duke, Pitt, Notre Dame, and Miami, who all rank in the top 30 in scoring offense. But I think if this team can stay focused and continue Coach Jarrett’s vision and attention to detail then this team has a very strong chance to make history and bring something to Tallahassee that even eluded the legend 11. Now, am I saying this will happen? I don’t know, but who would have thought back in 2020 that Coach Norvell would have the football program back at the top of college football? Go Noles!!

Share this Article with other Nole fans!

Check out the Plant The Spear Podcast for those who bleed garnet and gold!

Continue Reading