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May 27, 2012
GREENSBORO, N.C.-- There is no way to spin it, No. 1 Florida State is has skidded down the stretch.
The Seminoles (43-15) have spent the past six weeks ranked No. 1 in the country and are a lock for a top-eight national seed when the full field is announced by the NCAA on Monday at Noon ET. But FSU is just 4-8 in its last 12 games, including an 0-3 performance in the ACC Tournament in Greensboro, N.C.
"It's definitely frustrating," second baseman Devon Travis said. "We really haven't hit much of a speed bump this year. We've been rolling. And it hurts. It definitely hurts."
FSU has also allowed five runs or more in all eight losses since May 7. Head coach Mike Martin said that slumps like this aren't surprising when it comes to baseball, because of the unpredictability.
"That's just the way the beast is. It can turn on you," Martin said. "It didn't turn on us in this tournament, we just got beat. Georgia Tech beats us, (Jake) Davies hits a couple of dings and we lose to Clemson on a walk off. They did a great job of putting themselves in position to make something happen and then (against Virginia) was just old-fashioned baseball. Just get in the box and let's play, we didn't and (Artie) Lewicki dominated us."
Despite the recent skid heading into the NCAA tournament, Travis said he and his teammates aren't worried. Instead he said they are drawing on past experiences to calm the nerves of the younger players.
The one experience Travis said that he feels this season is most similar to is the end of the season in 2010. FSU finished the season by being swept in a three-game series at Clemson, and followed that up with a 9-3 loss to Miami in the ACC Tournament opener.
But rather than pout about the recent losses, FSU rallied for three straight wins en route to the ACC title and then won five of its next six in the NCAA Tournament on its way to a College World Series berth.
"We have a group of guys in our core that have been through it before," said Travis who was freshman on the 2010 team. "Two years ago we got swept at Clemson and wound up going to Omaha that year. That actually was probably the turning point in the season, we needed something like that get us going. Not to say its good that we lost three games in the ACC Tournament, but definitely for the younger guys it puts things in perspective."
Freshman Mike Compton, who allowed just one earned run on six hits and two earned runs in his five inning against Virginia on Saturday, said he and the younger Seminoles definitely lean on the team's veteran leaders during tough times this recent stretch.
"We look up to the upperclassmen a lot," Compton said. "They've been through it a lot, they know what's going on. In this skid right here we definitely look up to the upperclassmen and they just tell us it's no big problem and we're going to bounce back. We've got all the confidence in the world I think."
Travis said the key for FSU moving forward is take the recent loses as an opportunity to turn it around and not focus on the negatives.
"It's a very humbling game and it's just something where you've got to look in the mirror," Travis said. "You've got to say 'We can fold or we can feel bad for ourselves or we can say lets make it happen.' Guys at the top (James) Ramsey, Hunter (Scantling), Sherman (Johnson), they've been through it before and they'll definitely be pushing these younger guys."
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