Coach Martin Leads Seminoles into NCAA Tournament

Coach Martin Leads Seminoles into NCAA Tournament

By: Scott Carswell, Jr.,

To start the season FSU was a favorite to earn a top eight national seed in the NCAA tournament and make a deep run in Omaha. It had the makings of Coach Mike Martin’s best team in recent memory. After ace pitcher Tyler Holton’s opening day injury the expectations took a hit. But with a 43-17 record, an ACC title and a top eight national seed in hand this team is right where we thought they would be going into regional play.

The biggest storyline going into the season was Martin’s quest for the all-time wins record in NCAA Division-I baseball, which he accomplished on May 5 at Clemson with his 1,976th win. Of course, winning FSU’s first national championship to go along with all those wins would be nice as well.

The biggest injuries to the pitching staff during this season include Holton, who went down with a UCL tear resulting in Tommy John surgery, and Cole Sands, who was sidelined for a month with bicep tendinitis. After Holton went down in the first game you would think the pitching staff would need time to adjust, but this was not the case as the Seminoles got off to a 14-game winning streak led by the young pitching staff and the midweek veteran Andrew Karp.

All year long Martin and pitching coach Mike Bell have been trying to figure out the best roles for newcomers Austin Pollock, CJ Van Eyk, Jonah Scolaro and Conor Grady. After many ups and downs it looks like the pitchers know their roles, as they have been solid and sometimes dominant against very explosive ACC offenses.

As the postseason approaches it looks like Drew Parrish will be the No.1 starter. Parrish has been locked in the last five starts as he has posted 3 wins, a 1.66 ERA and 56 K’s. Karp and Sands will be the other starters with Clayton Kwiatkowski as the first reliever out of the bullpen and Van Eyk as the closer. The starters have been very good this year so it will be up to the bullpen guys to hold the other teams in check for FSU to go to Omaha.

In recent years the Seminoles have been known for their patient approach at the plate. This years team is no different as the ‘Noles are leading the nation in walks once again. For most of the season the run production for the Florida State offense has come from the two through six hitters. Jackson Lueck (15 home runs), Rhett Aplin (.427 on base percentage), ACC Tournament MVP Cal Raleigh (.330 batting average), Steven Wells (.446 on base percentage) and Drew Mendoza lead the offensive assault.

Mendoza was on fire to start the year as he batted .434 in the first 14 games, which included 2 walk-off hits but has tailed off considerably since. Mendoza may have found his swing as he had a solid tournament, which included the game winning hit in the championship game. In the ACC tournament right fielder Steven Wells was inserted into the five hole of the lineup. This move seems to have given the lineup some depth as the Seminoles have pounded out 24 runs in the last four games. The rest of the lineup has been a bit of a mystery especially the lead off spot as “11” has tried using several different lead off hitters.

Players such as middle infielders Mike Salvatore and Rafael Bournigal and outfielders Reese Albert and JC Flowers fill out the rest of the order. With his recent play at shortstop, Salvatore looks like he has staked his claim as the team’s leadoff hitter. FSU has had no issue getting on base this season but has struggled bringing them in. Hitting with runners in scoring position will be a key to this team’s success in the postseason.

4 Responses to "Coach Martin Leads Seminoles into NCAA Tournament"

  1. I believe they will give Mike Martin one more year…a farewell tour, plus he will go over the 2,000 win mark. Even though Martin has the most wins for a college baseball coach, Augie Garrido, former baseball coach at Texas and Cal State Fullerton and second on the wins list, is still the best of all time. Garrido, who passed away earlier this year, won 5 national championships during his coaching career (2 at Texas, 3 at CSF).

    I do hope that FSU will consider an outside coach for the future instead of MM, Jr.

  2. Season is already over.
    0-2 & BBQ.
    Having Parrish return to the mound after a 2 1/2-hour rain delay has to be one of the worst decisions 11 ever made. Did he not learn anything from last year’s super regional? After warming up, Sam Houston State’s ace (1.91 ERA) had to chill out through a 7 1/2-hour rain delay before throwing a pitch that counted. FSU clobbered him for 19 runs.

    I predict 11 will retire after this disaster.

    1. Technically 11 may just coach on long after retirement since he has placed his son into a glued in position that might just make the Boosters a little reluctant to not just do the easy thing and pass the torch on to 11 Jr.
      I mean the Boosters could at any time bring in a new coach [other than 11 Jr.] but 11 Sr. has made it as difficult as he possibly can for that to happen.
      At least the Martins have not had any #metoo allegations and they likely will not ever have a legitimate #metoo. But in today’s overly sensitive world all it will take is an unsubstantiated allegation from a bat girl at the right time to throw a wrench into the 11 Sr. to 11 Jr. succession plan.
      Should be interesting to watch how this plays out.

      1. Nobody would believe an allegation like that, Snidester.
        Saw the opinion piece in the local rag, which validated my earier comments above. 11 may get 1 more year, so he could break 2,000 wins.
        But he’s 0-16 in the CWS.
        Statistically, with 8 teams in Omaha every year, the law of averages says he should have two championships by now.
        But no.
        As in:
        “Lord of No Rings”

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