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College baseball notebook: Seminoles, coming off their worst year, are only unbeaten in Division I

This season has been quite a bounce back for Link Jarrett and the Florida State Seminoles, at least so far.

The Seminoles are 18-0 and the only unbeaten team in Division I after sweeping Notre Dame at home over the weekend.

Last season, they went 22-31 for their first sub-.500 record in the 74-year history of the program. They finished last in the Atlantic Coast Conference for the first time since they joined the league in 1992 and missed the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1977.

The Seminoles are off to their best start since 2007.

“I'm excited,” Jarrett said, “but it’s not something I reflect on often, if at all. It’s how well can we play the game today? As the stakes continue to get higher, you just hope you can stay healthy and continue to play sharp, crisp baseball.”

The turnaround is the result of Jarrett going to the transfer portal and the development of returning young players.

The Seminoles lead the nation with a .364 batting average and are fourth in scoring (10.9 runs per game), slugging (.611) and fielding (.984). The pitching staff is second in strikeouts per nine innings (13.1) and fourth in ERA (2.94).

UCF transfer Cam Leiter, nephew of ex-major leaguers Al and Mark Leiter, has locked down the No. 1 starter's job. No. 2 Jamie Arnold, 2-5 with a 6.43 ERA last year, is 5-0 with a nation-leading 0.33 ERA in 27 2/3 innings.

Cam Smith, who batted .258 last season, is seventh nationally at .487. UCF transfer Drew Faurot's 12 doubles are second in the nation.

The resurgence has brought out the fans to Dick Howser Stadium and is reminiscent of his playing days at FSU in the early 1990s, when he was the shortstop on three College World Series teams.

“When you're pulling for the garnet and gold, it sure helps when the garnet and gold is playing good clean baseball, and that's what they've been able to watch,” Jarrett said. You envision playing this brand of baseball. It's hard to do it as consistently as we have."

IN THE POLLS

Arkansas remains the No. 1 team in the D1Baseball.com and Baseball America polls. The Razorbacks (17-2) swept Missouri to finish a 4-0 week and have won 13 games in a row.

D1Baseball has Oregon State (17-2) and Vanderbilt (18-3) second and third, respectively. Oregon State won two of three at Utah, blowing a 9-0 third-inning lead Sunday and losing 14-11. Vanderbilt has won 13 straight after sweeping Auburn at home.

Baseball America has Vanderbilt No. 2 and Clemson No. 3. The Tigers (17-2) won two of three at Duke.

MAC ATTACK

Bowling Green’s 6-0 record in Mid-American Conference play is its best since 1995. Highlighting the Falcons’ three-game weekend sweep at Ball State was a 34-8 victory Saturday. The 34 runs are most in Division I this season and most ever by Bowling Green in a MAC game. The Falcons (8-8) scored 14 in the eighth inning and finished with five homers.

CLEANUP SPOT

Mississippi State won two of three against defending national champion LSU. The Bulldogs hadn't won a series at home against LSU since 2003. They wrapped it up with a 15-5 win that ended in the eighth inning because of the mercy rule. Dakota Jones and Hunter Hines hit back-to-back homers and Aaron Downs went 4 for 5. ... Oklahoma took three from TCU on the road, marking the first time since 2018 that the Sooners have swept two straight Big 12 opponents. TCU has lost five of six in conference play. ... Rutgers' Josh Kuroda-Grauer had a weekend to remember, going 12 for 17 with five doubles in three games against Delaware.

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AP college sports: https://apnews.com/hub/college-sports