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Seeking strong finish, Florida State Baseball welcomes No. 1 Wake Forest to Howser

3 min read
Seeking strong finish, Florida State Baseball welcomes No. 1 Wake Forest to Howser

It’s not necessarily a high standard, but Florida State has been playing its best baseball as of late.

The Seminoles (19-28, 6-18 in the ACC) have won four straight games and six of their last nine. Just in time for the No. 1 team in the country, Wake Forest, to come to town.

“It feels good,” Florida State coach Link Jarrett said of the recent win streak — the Seminoles’ longest stretch of victories since they won four in a row in early March. “Make no mistake, it hasn’t been pleasant walking out of here (Dick Howser Stadium) the majority of the time. You guys know that. I know that. They know it. So when you get to walk out of here with the feeling of accomplishment … it’s really good.

“And we know that that’s a good team coming in. They had a really good team last year.”

Wake Forest is 40-7 on the year and 18-5 in Atlantic Coast Conference play. And Jarrett said the Demon Deacons look every bit that dominant when he watches them on film.

“Talent, top to bottom,” he said. “They are going to have a handful of guys go really well in the draft. … It’s just dynamic force and power they have at the plate and on the mound.”

The ace of the talented Wake Forest pitching staff is junior Rhett Lowder. The right-hander has yet to lose a start this season, sporting a 10-0 record in 12 starts. He also boasts a 1.67 ERA over 75.2 innings and has recorded 90 strikeouts with just 16 walks.

“Physical, velocity, good slider, uses his change-up. So three pitches in play,” Jarrett said. “He commands the ball well. He moves it in and out. I mean, it’s a power slider. Can’t really run on him a lot, and he’s confident. He’s very experienced. He’s physical. He’s got some presence.

“I could keep going. I mean, it’s an upper-end first-round type arm. … It’s a nice staff.”

With two ACC series remaining in the regular season — this week against visiting Wake Forest and next weekend at Louisville — Florida State is hoping to make a mad dash into one of the last spots for the ACC Tournament. But the Seminoles will need very strong performances both weekends to even have a chance.

“Our work is cut out as much as anybody’s work has ever been cut out, and we know that,” Jarrett said.

The good news is Florida State’s pitching seems to be coming together.

Starters Jackson Baumeister and Conner Whittaker have looked stronger as of late, junior Doug Kirkland has performed well in the back end of the bullpen, and other young pitchers have started to develop.

Wake Forest will present a major step up in competition, but Jarrett said it’s a challenge the Seminoles are embracing.

“I think it is [extra motivation],” Jarrett said. “When you are No. 1, you have to wear it a little bit, and I think everybody that you play, there’s that extra little adrenaline piece that goes with it. … I’ve been on both sides of it, and our guys will be excited, there’s no doubt. So I think it’s neat. They’re No. 1 for a reason.”

FSU and Wake will open the series today at 6 p.m. (ACC Network Extra).

***Talk with other Seminole fans on the FSU Baseball Forum***

The post Seeking strong finish, Florida State Baseball welcomes No. 1 Wake Forest to Howser appeared first on On3.

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