You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myPalmBeachPost.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myPalmBeachPost.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myPalmBeachPost.com.

After struggling as a freshman, FSU’s Taylor Walls enjoys breakout year


There already was pressure on Taylor Walls entering his freshmen season in 2015.

Florida State baseball coach Mike Martin had selected Walls to start at shortstop, and he was expected to hit for average and use his speed to steal a few bases. Walls, already a perfectionist, had a difficult adjustment to college baseball.

“I’ve had to tell him before, ‘Stop being mean to my shortstop,’ ” Martin said with a laugh.

Walls hit .220 with four doubles and 43 runs scored a year ago while also making 20 errors. He went into his sophomore season with the goal of not just improving at the plate and in the field but also relaxing his mind-set.

It’s an approach that has served Walls well. Entering this weekend’s Super Regional at Florida, Walls is hitting .367 and leads the team with 71 runs scored. FSU’s leadoff hitter also has six home runs, 19 doubles and 45 RBIs, while cutting his errors to 12.

Baseball America’s staff noted that Walls “epitomized the Seminoles’ patient, grind-it-out offensive approach, putting up a stunning .508 on-base percentage in ACC play.” It was also a rare accomplishment: Walls is just the third FSU shortstop to be named a first-team All-American, joining Dick Howser (1957 and ’58) and Stephen Cardullo (2009).

“I was honored and surprised a little bit,” Walls said. “But I was happy. It wasn’t really something that had ever crossed my mind.”

Walls has set the table for a lineup that has been productive in the postseason. FSU routed its three opponents in the Tallahassee Regional by a combined 43-14, and Walls led the way by going 7-for-13 with four runs and four RBIs.

FSU (40-20) is now looking for its first College World Series trip since 2012. But the Seminoles face a difficult road when they play at Florida (50-13) in a best-of-three series that begins at 6 p.m. Saturday (ESPN2). The Gators swept FSU 6-0, 3-2 and 8-2 in three midweek games, so neither team has faced the other’s weekend rotation.

The Seminoles’ rotation is improving, led by sophomore ace right-hander Drew Carlton (7-3, 4.36 ERA). He will start today, with freshman left-hander Tyler Holton (3-3, 2.92 ERA) pitching on Sunday and freshman right-hander Cole Sands (6-6, 4.21 ERA) taking the mound in a potential winner-take-all Game 3.

Florida coach Kevin O’Sullivan has not announced a rotation but the Gators’ staff has been dominant no matter who is on the mound. Junior left-hander A.J. Puk (2-3, 3.21 ERA), junior right-hander Logan Shore (11-0, 2.44 ERA) and sophomore right-hander Alex Faedo (13-1, 3.19 ERA) make up what might be the best rotation in college baseball.

“We know we have a huge challenge ahead of us,” Martin said.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Sports

2017 March Madness: The Final Four from A to Z
2017 March Madness: The Final Four from A to Z

Running down the four-team contingent set to meet in the desert next weekend in the 2017 Final Four, in an orderly and alphabetical way . . . A is for adjustments, which have propelled Oregon in particular to the final weekend of the season. The Ducks lost senior center and rim protector Chris Boucher to a knee injury during the Pacific-12 tournament...
Resilience carries South Carolina to a most unexpected stage
Resilience carries South Carolina to a most unexpected stage

In the moments after South Carolina clinched the first Final Four berth in team history, coach Frank Martin found his 74-year-old mother, Lourdes, and finally let down his guard. The scowl softened. The lips that breathed fire now curled upward in stupefaction. “He told me, ‘I’m so happy, but please don’t cry,'” Lourdes...
Back from irregular heartbeat, Dempsey hopes for 4th Cup 
Back from irregular heartbeat, Dempsey hopes for 4th Cup 

Clint Dempsey's big, owlish eyes brightened and he smiled widely. Seven months after he was sidelined by an irregular heartbeat, he not only returned to the U.S. national team at age 34 but helped the Americans to a critical victory in World Cup qualifying with just the second hat trick of his international career.   "There's moments...
Bears' idea of sustainable success is just talk until they fix QB position
Bears' idea of sustainable success is just talk until they fix QB position

The talking point the Bears keep circling back to this offseason is that their goal is to build a team for sustainable success.  It's what team President Ted Phillips outlined in a Feb. 8 letter explaining a price increase for the vast majority of tickets at Soldier Field. It's what general manager Ryan Pace said more recently at the beginning...
Bedeviled by an elbow, but blessed with arms
Bedeviled by an elbow, but blessed with arms

The New York Mets all but encased their starting pitchers in Bubble Wrap early in spring training, hoping that reduced wear and tear would preserve their arms. But pitching injuries seem unavoidable, and the Mets are as vulnerable as any team. “We came in here saying we’ve got to try to keep these guys healthy,” manager Terry Collins...
More Stories