Wildness plagues pitching staff in series sweep at FSU

The Gophers issued 13 walks in Saturday’s loss to the Seminoles.

Robert Mews

The culprit for Minnesota’s baseball team this weekend was the strike zone – or the inability for Gophers pitchers to find one.

The Gophers (0-3) threw 22 bases on balls in the three-game set at ninth-ranked Florida State (10-1) on the way to their first losses of the season, 5-0, 12-4 and 8-6.

“We just didn’t do a good enough job of executing pitches consistently through the weekend,” coach John Anderson said. “And I think a lot of that just relates to game experience.”

And Minnesota didn’t have as much game experience when compared to the Seminoles.

Florida State already had played eight games before Minnesota’s game with Tallahassee, Fla., this weekend.

“I thought we made improvements as we went along,” Anderson said.

But the Gophers’ best pitching might have been on display Friday afternoon with the first of the three-game set.

Senior lefthander Brian Bull pitched five innings of work for the Gophers and held last year’s 2005 Collegiate Baseball Player of the Year, Shane Anderson, hitless.

“(The) first inning was kind of big for me,” Bull said, “because I was able to strike out the first guy (Anderson), and that really calmed my nerves for the rest of the game pretty much.”

Despite the strong pitching effort, the Gophers couldn’t register any runs themselves. The closest they ever got to the plate was in the top of the second inning when Hunter was thrown out at home on an 8-6-2 relay by Florida State.

Minnesota’s bats were kept silent for much of the afternoon by Florida State’s Bryan Henry. Henry went seven innings and struck out eight batters.

“He was a guy that threw a lot of strikes,” first baseman Andy Hunter said. “He has good location. He executed pitches. He didn’t make many mistakes.”

Mistakes are what could be used to describe Minnesota’s pitching Saturday. Gophers pitchers walked 13 Florida State batters.

Cole DeVries only went two and a third innings of work for the Gophers with six earned runs. One of those Seminole runs came with a bases-loaded walk of left fielder Travis Anderson.

“The zones here were pretty tight this weekend,” Bull said of the strike zone size. “It’s a little difficult with 2,000 to 3,000 fans out there yelling at you and just the whole atmosphere. And some of the guys might have let that get to them, I guess.”

In total, the Seminoles had 12 hits to their 12 runs in the game while the Gophers were able to muster eight hits to its four runs.

Hunter, who moved from fourth to fifth in the batting lineup during the second and third game of the series, fared much better in regards to registering hits and RBIs.

Hunter was able to knock in two RBIs on two hits Saturday while banging out three hits on Sunday.

“They (Florida State) have a lot of left-handed pitching in the bullpen,” Anderson said. “So, I want to separate those two guys so they can’t bring in one lefty to get both hitters out.”

Anderson said lineup changes will be common in the first month of play and that he was encouraged about the overall play this weekend.

“And whether it was that we couldn’t consistently throw in the strike zone or execute a pitch when we had a chance to put a hitter away,” Anderson said. “And we just didn’t do that consistently, but that will come with more games and more experience and time.”