In what may’ve been head trainer Mike Martin’s ultimate season with Florida State baseball, the group’s 2018 season didn’t finish within the model many had was hoping for.
The devastating three-run walk-off house run from Mississippi State’s Elijah Macnamee that got here after a two-hour rain extend left many of us questioning what Martin would do subsequent.
In a while after the top of the season, Martin would meet with former Athletic Director Stan Wilcox and in the end make a decision to stick at FSU for one ultimate season.
If he had referred to as it quits after being knocked out in final yr’s regional spherical, Martin would have wrapped up his training profession with 1,987 wins, 713 losses and four attracts over the process his 39-season tenure, leaving him as faculty baseball’s winningest trainer in historical past. As Martin prepares for one final season on the helm, the truth of his scenario is slowly starting to sink in.
“I want I may say that it hasn’t settled in, as a result of on a daily basis I stroll to the auto and say ‘dang, I handiest were given 3 and a part months left,’” Martin stated. “I don’t get to stroll around the box questioning if the beginning pitcher goes to offer me six innings or now not.”
This yr’s Seminoles group comes into the season ranked No. 6 within the preseason polls, and it’s going to no doubt be attention-grabbing to look how this younger group plays. With 17 new avid gamers debuting, there shall be numerous alternatives for those younger weapons to make an early affect.
Many freshmen corresponding to freshman infielder Nander De Sedas and freshman outfielder Elijah Cabell won’t handiest have the danger to earn a couple of at bats or innings, however some could have the danger to begin appropriate out of the gates. When requested about his novices’s revel in entering the season, Martin believes that there’ll handiest be such a lot time for those younger avid gamers to evolve to the school sport.
“We were given to have a look at our novices as that [freshmen] for approximately 20 to 25 video games,” Martin stated. “After that, there aren’t any excuses.”
One that is predicted to be a pace-setter in this yr’s group is junior 3rd baseman Drew Mendoza. In his first yr, Mendoza posted a .270 batting reasonable and a .400 on base share (OBP) and would move directly to beef up the ones numbers subsequent season by means of batting .312 with a .440 OBP.
This yr, it kind of feels like Mendoza is taking after New England Patriots head trainer Invoice Belichick’s slogan ‘do your task.’ Regardless of this growth in his numbers, Mendoza believes its now not his sport that he needs to look taken to every other stage, however relatively his group’s as a complete.
“Now not my sport, this group’s sport wishes to visit Omaha,” stated Mendoza. “If I will do my task and everyone else can do their very own task then that’s the place we’re headed.”
Along with holes within the batting order, there have been additionally holes left to be plugged in throughout the ’Noles’ beginning rotation. Closing season’s Saturday and Sunday starters, Andrew Karp and Cole Sands, are not with the group as the 2 had been drafted within the MLB’s First Yr Draft in June. The one spot within the rotation that remained stuffed was once Friday’s starter, as junior Drew Parrish will get started there this upcoming season.
This type of two vacancies was once simple to fill, as sophomore CJ Van Eyk will take over the Saturday slot. Popping out of the pen final yr, Van Eyk went 7-Zero in his 19 appearances with a 2.86 earned run reasonable, 71 strikeouts, and 30 walks over 56.2 innings of labor. Because the right-handed pitcher prepares for his new function as a starter, he mirrored on what he can be leaving in the back of along with his former reduction tasks.
“I’m going to omit that [pitching in relief], it was once a large adrenaline rush simply getting thrown appropriate out into it,” Van Eyk stated. “It’s certainly going to be great so to construct a regimen and move off that on a week-by-week foundation.”
Whilst the Sunday slot remains to be up for grabs, as of presently the positional combat appears to be between sophomores Austin Pollock and Shane Drohan. For the primary sequence of the season in opposition to Maine this upcoming week, Drohan shall be getting the nod for the second one sport of Saturday’s double header, whilst Pollock will take the mound to begin on Sunday.
As the 2 get ready for his or her first appearances of the recent season, Martin believes that their combat to earn the beginning spot has proven how gifted and aggressive each pitchers are.
“It’s [competition for the final spot] been as excellent because it will get,” stated Martin. “I’m so happy with the way in which the fellows have competed.”
Regardless of who wins a role within the beginning rotation, Martin believes that his group is in a position for an opponent rather then itself, because the Seminoles are keen to start out the recent season in opposition to different golf equipment around the nation.
“I don’t suppose I’ve ever had a membership that’s had to play any person with a distinct uniform than this bunch,” Martin stated. “We’ve gotten so much executed, we’ve performed each and every different each and every unmarried day. It’s time to play anyone else.”
Thankfully for his group, Florida State will start its 2019 marketing campaign in opposition to Maine this weekend, with the sequence’ opening sport happening Friday afternoon at four p.m. A double-header on Saturday and yet one more sport on Sunday afternoon will wrap up the primary stretch of video games for the new-look ’Noles.