John Gorman: Gorman pitched his absolute tail off, holding Florida State to jack squat through seven innings. He struck out a career high 10, retiring both seven and eight in a row at different points of last Saturday's game. Holding onto a one hitter, he would've had the best start in years if he was lifted at that point. Instead, he surrendered a walk and RBI double to cut into the lead in the eighth and ran out of steam. Still, Gorman's developing into a bonafide ace, and I think you'll see him dominate on a lot more Saturdays moving forward.
Nick Poore and John Nicklas: The duo combined in relief for three innings and just two base runners. They walked a combined two, with Poore going two innings to Nicklas' one. Poore is very much the reliever who can keep you in a game if you're losing by a couple of runs, and Nicklas is better served coming out of the pen in low pressure situations. That's not to say he cracks under pressure, but he's a guy who can give you an inning or two here and there when a bad inning puts the game out of reach. If the offense had been able to come back on Florida State in that third game, they would've been much higher on everyone's radar.
Timely Offense: Forget about Friday - there was no offense there. BC blew chances to put FSU on their heels on a couple of occasions on Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday, BC was up 2-0 and blew opportunities with runners in scoring position in both the third and fourth innings. In the third, Chris Shaw struck out looking with Jake Palomaki on second base after a wild pitch. In the fourth, Mike Gambino called for a squeeze play with runners at the corners, getting a runner thrown out at the plate. Even with that scenario, they still had a runner in scoring position after the squeeze and stranded him at second.
On Sunday, they got a run in the sixth but stranded two because the rally happened with two outs. In the seventh, they scored zero runs after having second and third with nobody out. They simply need to get better in terms of timely offense in the big spots. All of this can be corrected through repetition, whether it's in practice or in drills or in more game situations. It will get there.
Overall pitching: There were bright spots, but the pitching didn't get it done. It wasn't for lack of effort; it just seemed like nothing really came together at the right moments. Relievers allowed inherited runners to score, and nobody really got into a flow. It seemed like there was a constant case of "well once this guy settled down, he mowed down the hitters." They shouldnt be in a spot to "settle down," especially coming out of the bullpen. This will improve with more repetition. Again, it will get there.
NolesTV: Friday and Sunday were televised on ESPN3 as part of its ACC broadcast package, but Saturday was included as part of a "free preview" for NolesTV. NolesTV is a customized pay-per-view package where you can register and pay to watch a whole bunch of athletics events; it's not dissimilar from the Ivy League Digital Network. I found the process of launching NolesTV cumbersome, and registering for it was a pain in the neck. For a free preview, it really felt like I had to sign over all my personal information. Then the broadcast itself was buggy and kicked out more than once. Judging from responses on Twitter, I wasn't the only one.
News flash guys - if you want to do a free preview, just give us the video without having to jump through hoops. We'll all sign up for it if we think it's great. We're not signing up for something we can't figure out; I'm sure there are some fans, though, that will sign up if they think it's the greatest thing since sliced bread.
Managerial Decision Making: Any time I criticize the coach, I run the risk of being accused of a coach basher. I also run the risk of opening up Pandora's box to the conversation of how Mike Gambino hasn't been fired or why we don't have a program. Brian made the funny point that #FireGambino is the new #DropBaseball; at least we're not killing the program?
In terms of the weekend, though, here's my point - Mike Gambino made some perceived mistakes that cost the Eagles. With runners at the corners at one out, he called for a squeeze play with Gabriel Hernandez at the plate. In aluminum bat college baseball, I personally can never endorse the squeeze play or the bunt. The ball rockets off aluminum. People I know joke that you could aluminum bunt a ball into left center for a double. The ball went back to the box, and the runner was thrown out. That led to first and second with two out - a much better defensive scenario.
Then there was the pitching staff. Gorman pitched lights out through seven innings, but he had been on a restricted pitch count through the first couple of starts. After limiting innings and pitches, you just can't take the gloves off and let him go nuts. Gorman was dominant through seven. If the goal was to have him start the eighth and sub him out if you ran into trouble, why let him start the inning? I was really hoping for a bridge reliever.
On Sunday, I felt the same mistake was made with Justin Dunn. Dunn earned the right to finish the fourth inning, even if Florida State scored four runs. He probably shouldn't have started the fifth. Dunn gave up a walk and a single before inducing a fly out before being removed from the game. That brought in a reliever with two on and one out, including a runner in scoring position. I hate giving a reliever inherited runners.
Look, I realize it's early in the season, and there's going to be mistakes. I don't want this to turn into a manager-should-be-fired bash fest. I'm not in the dugout, and I'm not in uniform. I don't see these guys practice every day, and I can't get inside the coaches' minds. But I know the decision didn't work out, so hindsight being 20-20, it is what it is. We're onto Louisville.