TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — As the regular season winds down, Florida State coach Mike Martin said he’s making a concerted effort to pitch Jameis Winston more frequently.
The goal is to have the closer ready to pitch as often as needed in the postseason, which begins with next week’s Atlantic Coast Conference tournament.
"We definitely wanted to get Jameis some innings, some appearances," Martin said after Tuesday’s 8-3 loss to UCF. "We were determined to do that. That’s why he pitched Sunday, that’s why he pitched today."
Winston pitched for the first time at home on Tuesday since being cited — but not arrested — for failing to pay for seafood at a local grocery store April 30. He was suspended three games while he did 20 hours of community service and returned to the mound at Stetson on May 6.
With Florida State trailing 7-3 to UCF on Tuesday afternoon, the Heisman Trophy winner came out of the bullpen for the ninth inning. He got a ground out and a fly out but then allowed a walk to JoMarcos Woods, who promptly stole second base and advanced to third on a throwing error.
Dylan Moore then had an RBI single to bring home Woods (the run was unearned). Winston got a pop up to finish the ninth inning.
Winston is 1-0 with a 1.33 ERA and 26 strikeouts in 27 innings this season. On Tuesday, he pitched his 27th inning — matching his 2013 total.
Earlier this spring, Martin was cautious about how often Winston pitched while also practicing with the football team. But now, Winston is able to pitch more often without as much concern about wear and tear due to playing two sports at the same time.
Florida State will finish the regular season with a three-game series at home against Duke that begins Thursday. The Seminoles, who have won the ACC’s Atlantic Division, open play in the ACC tournament on May 21 or 22.