Sunday, May 24, 2015

ACC Baseball Championship: Florida State vs NC State

                       

I spent my Sunday afternoon taking in the ACC Baseball Championship at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.  The game featured the 16th ranked Florida State Seminoles versus the NC State Wolfpack.  Obviously, I have a pony in this race, so I was a little disappointed in the end result.  Nonetheless, it's always great to take in a game in Durham.  Here's a look at the sight and sounds of the ACC Championship.....

A video posted by The Snorting Bull (@thesnortingbull) on


There have been several NC State baseball games in Durham over the years and they are always really well attended.  Today's game had almost 10,000 in attendance which set the record for the ACC Conference Championship game.  Florida State traveled well too, plus they have a good deal of alumni in the Triangle (Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill) area.  Their fan base tends to show up for a lot of their sporting events against State, Duke, Carolina, and Wake Forest.  Still, the crowd was heavily slanted in favor of my Wolfpack.  

I decided to venture around the ballpark a little bit more today then normal.  Usually I get my seat and I sit in it and my pictures are from that perspective.  Today, I traveled a bit.  Before the game started I watched the warm ups and the first half inning from the first base side of the field.  State was the visiting team, by seeding not proximity, so they were on that side of the field.  Here are some pictures.......


FROM 1st Base.......

Not to be too biased here is picture of Florida State warming up before the game.  Neither team took BP, but both teams took infield practice and the pitchers and outfielders were working on various drills.  I went and watched outfielder D.J. Stewart for a few minutes.  I saw him last summer playing for USA Baseball.  While much of his acclaim (projected first round pick) is for his bat he has a nice throwing arm too.  He made several throws during warm ups that were strong to the plate and accurate.  More on the batting down the page....


The NC State players were also working on a few drills when I arrived at the ballpark.  I had a few players on the team I wanted to watch today.


First up there is Joe Dunand.  He is the freshman third baseman on the team and decided to attend State after he slid to the Indians in the 35th round out of high school in the Miami area.  He's also ARod's nephew.  It should not really mean that much, but for some reason it does.  He's a fun player to watch and I think he's going to be good in time, but he definitely has a few things he needs to fix.   State has been batting him in the middle of the order and he has hit 7 home runs, 12 doubles, and a triple in starting almost every game as a freshman.


I also wanted to watch sweet swinging first baseman Preston Palmeiro.  He is a sophomore at State and I think he had a great year with a .316/.393/.471 line to go with 7 home runs, 12 doubles, and a triple.  He seems to have trouble laying off of breaking balls out of the zone, so I am eager to see what he can do when he figures out how to lay off of those pitches.  While, he does also get some love for being Raffy's kid, at the moment he is more famous for doing this to Miami Friday night.....



Here's one more picture of State taking infield practice.........


I watched State bat from the first base side during the first inning.  Their first two batters, Logan Ratledge and Ryne Willard both reached, but the Florida State pitcher Bryant Holtmann pitched out the jam.  Here is Ratledge on first.  This was his only hit of the day.  He has been really instrumental in helping State get into the ACC Tournament, improve their seeding, and advance to the Championship game.  Florida State did a great job of keeping him off of base today.



FROM 3rd Base....

For the bottom of the first I moved and sat on the third base side of home plate specifically to get a good view of D.J. Stewart.  There was a section that was mostly empty too.  Here is Stewart on deck. I was trying to get a picture of him next to someone, but failed.  He's not a really tall player, but he is muscled.  Also of note, John Sansone is batting in this picture for the Seminoles.  His third inning home run made it 3-0 for Florida State and was the ballgame in my opinion......

Here's a close look at Stewart's first at bat in pictures.....



Stewart's stance, style, and stature remind me a lot of Jeff Bagwell.  Bagwell did not have a leg kick, as shown in the bottom picture, but the squatting and explosion up are certainly reminiscent.  Stewart ended the year with 13 home runs and 52 RBIs.  Besides being a big guy with a big swing he also showed off a little speed by stealing a base in the first inning.  He had ten entering the game.   Some forget, but Bagwell had surprising speed too....


While I was on the third base side I also spent a little bit of time watching Preston Palmeiro bat.  The Wolfpack first baseman had a quiet day with an 0-3 with 2 Ks.  That swing looks familiar though....

Sansone's homer and a 3-0 Seminole lead took me to another location in the park......


From Left Field

Hello friend.  I decided the name sake of my blog would be a cool place to watch for awhile.  State did end up picking up two runs to narrow the lead.  The play which lead to their first run was one of the most bizarre things I have ever seen.  I think this tweet best explains the play....

 

or in summation: an NC State batter popped up a pitch with the bases loaded.  The Florida State infielders let the ball drop, no one called it, and they then threw home and forced out the runner on third.  The ball went back to the pitcher, everyone was returning to their places on the field when the Florida State coach pops out of the dugout to argue the fact that the infield fly rule should have been called.  Well, he won the argument (see highlight video at the end of the post), but allowed an NC State run in winning the argument because their catcher tagged home and not the runner.  On an infield fly rule the runners advance at their own risk and must be tagged, not forced out....

That was wordy.  FSU got out of trouble and brought in this guy........


Boomer Biegalski who slammed the door on NC State.  His 4 2/3 innings got Florida State through the 8th inning.  He struck out 5 Wolfpack batters and only allowed one hit.   He also took home the hardware as the Championship games MVP.  Nice.

From Behind Home.....

I was slightly off center.  Mainly I was trying to avoid a big glob of Seminoles fans.  Here's that D.J. Stewart at bat I promised earlier in the post.  This was a ground out, but you can see the whole squatting batting stance in motion......

A video posted by The Snorting Bull (@thesnortingbull) on


 Here are a couple other cool pictures from the bottom of the eighth and the ninth innings......





and the video highlights including the weird infield fly rule play and a really cool catch by a Florida State outfielder.

 

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