The Florida State baseball offense just couldn’t get out of its funk on Wednesday.
The Seminoles bats were suppressed again for the second straight day on Wednesday at UCF. No. 21 FSU (11-6, 2-1) allowed just three runs in a 6-3 loss to the Knights (12-5) in Orlando.
FSU was outscored 20–7 on its two-game sweep at the hands of UCF. The Seminoles have now lost three straight games after losing just three of their first 14 games this season.
After Tuesday’s 14–3 loss, the second game of the midweek series was more competitive as the Seminoles had more chances with eight hits and four UCF errors. However, FSU was very unproductive going 13 (.154) at the plate with runners on base.
There was no chance for the Seminoles to miss a big opportunity in the fourth inning. With FSU trailing 1–0, Jaime Ferrer got into scoring position after a leadoff single with no outs and advanced to second base on a throwing error by the first baseman. However, the next three FSU batters struck out, not allowing him to advance.
UCF, which also squandered some key scoring opportunities in the opening inning, didn’t miss their opportunity in the bottom of the fourth inning. The Knights scored five runs in the fourth – the difference in Wednesday’s game and then some – on an impressive streak of six consecutive singles, all of which came with two outs.
With Wednesday’s three-run output, FSU has now failed to score more than six runs in each of its last five games. The Seminoles then scored more than 10 runs in eight of their first 12 games this season.
The heavy offensive lifting in Wednesday’s loss was done by leadoff hitter Treyton Ranks and first baseman James Tibbs III. They each had three hits, accounting for six of FSU’s _ hits, and they each had one of FSU’s two extra-base hits in the game.
Rank tripled in the seventh inning and Tibbs hit his team-high sixth homer of the season in the eighth inning.
FSU pitching staff pieces it together
With FSU having only a five-game week of the regular season and Link Jarrett talking a few times about his team’s “razor-thin” pitching depth, managing the bullpen in this second midweek game was crucial.
FSU turned to freshman Ryan Dennison for his first career start against the Knights. Dennison was effective enough, allowing one earned run in 2.2 innings of work, while striking out three UCF batters.
He allowed the bases to be loaded in the third inning, but Connor Whitaker was able to get out of the jam, stranding the bases loaded.
Dennison lowered his earned run average to 3.97 in his first career start, but was still assessed his third loss of the season, falling to 1–3.
While Whitaker was able to get out of the jam he inherited, he could not pull off a repeat act in the next inning, earning each of the last five runs scored by UCF in that late fourth inning.
While FSU was assessed just one error in the loss, that tally could have been much higher with a different scorekeeper. What could have been a few mistakes was the hit in the fourth inning that hurt Whitaker’s cause.
The leadoff batter in the frame reached base on a flyball that Lance Trippel dropped into left field. The three runs came on a bases-loaded single by Andrew Sundien, which appeared to be a routine flyball, but was carried off the ranks by the wind and hit the ground.
David Barrett then pitched three scoreless innings of relief, and Joe Charles pitched a scoreless eighth in his first appearance in a season since returning from Tommy John surgery.
While Dennison threw 55 pitches and Barrett threw 43, the rest of the FSU staff should be available for the start of the weekend series against Boston College, which begins Friday at 6 p.m.
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