Jackson Baumeister Steps Forward For Florida State

Image credit: Florida State righthander Jackson Baumeister (Photo courtesy of Florida State)

Florida State over the last week got the Link Jarrett era off to a solid start. The Seminoles won their first four games under their new coach, sweeping James Madison on Opening Weekend and then defeating Jacksonville on Tuesday.

FSU outscored the Monarchs and Dolphins by a combined 45-20, but those teams last year combined to go .500 and are not projected to be NCAA Tournament teams this spring. Bigger and better tests lay ahead of the Seminoles—starting this weekend with a trip to No. 10 Texas Christian.

The Horned Frogs were one of the most impressive teams of Opening Weekend, as they went 2-1 at the College Baseball Showdown in Arlington, Texas, with wins against Vanderbilt and Arkansas. On the weekend, they scored 37 runs, making Globe Life Field, the home of the Texas Rangers, look small. TCU had entered the season as the Big 12 favorite, led by Preseason All-American third baseman Brayden Taylor. Opening Weekend only served to reinforce their lofty ceiling.

Florida State handled the step up with aplomb Friday night at Lupton Stadium. Behind a stellar start by righthander Jackson Baumeister and another strong offensive performance, the Seminoles defeated the Horned Frogs, 10-1. Florida State improved to 5-0, its best start since 2019.

Baumeister retired the first 10 batters he faced and carried a no-hit bid into the sixth inning. He struck out the first two batters in the sixth before Austin Davis drove a ball over the outstretched glove of right fielder Jamie Ferrer for a double. After a walk, with Baumeister’s pitch count at 81 on a cold night, Jarrett went to the bullpen.

Baumeister finished the night with eight strikeouts and two walks in 5.2 scoreless innings. It was an outstanding Friday night debut for the sophomore, who last week pitched on Saturday.

Jarrett told 247Sports that Baumeister took a step forward against TCU.

“The things we talked about that he’s been working on, he just went out on that stage and did it,” Jarrett said. “His fastball was dynamic in some moments last week, but it wasn’t consistently executed; it was today. His curveball, that’s the first time he’s actually thrown it with purpose. It had a little more depth and it was in the zone and in the bottom of the zone. That type of pitch seems to get people off his fastball. His slider was still good, and his changeup was in place.

“You had a guy who you could physically feel the control he was in. His stuff was dynamic.”

Baumeister has high-end ability and came into the season projected as a top-three rounds draft pick. He has a fastball that gets into the mid 90s and is a good athlete. His control last season was a drawback as he walked 6.59 batters per nine innings, but he’s shown better strike-throwing ability in the early going this season. In 9.2 innings, he has 13 strikeouts and four walks and on Friday improved to 1-0, 0.93.

Lefthander Wyatt Crowell followed Baumeister with 3.1 strong innings out of the bullpen. He came on in the sixth and struck out Taylor to end the threat and gave up just an unearned run on the night. He struck out six, walked two and gave up a hit.

TCU came into Friday averaging 11 runs per game. It’s just the first game of the series, but for Baumeister and Crowell to hold the Frogs’ offense to just two hits on the night is a significant statement for the Seminoles under new pitching coach Chuck Ristano.

Florida State lost its 1-2 punch from last year’s rotation as lefthanders Parker Messick and Bryce Hubbart were both drafted in the top 100 picks. With lefthander Ross Dunn transferring to Arizona State during the offseason, only Baumeister and righthander Carson Montgomery came into the season with starting experience at FSU. The Seminoles clearly had talent on the mound—Baumeister, Crowell and Montgomery could all be top-100 picks this July—but they were light on experience.

With a start like Friday’s, Baumeister looks to be on the way to answering one of the Seminoles’ biggest questions. If he can build off this start and become a No. 1 starter, it would be a significant development for Florida State.  

For now, however, the Seminoles and Jarrett will take a big series-opening victory at TCU as they look to build toward ACC play and beyond.

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