Florida State’s Jameis Winston already has faced N.C. State once in his college career.
Winston, the Seminoles’ starting quarterback against N.C. State in Saturday’s game in Tallahassee, Fla., started all three games against the Wolfpack with FSU’s baseball team during a series this past May in Raleigh.
In the first game, Winston, who started in right field, got three hits off Wolfpack ace Carlos Rodon. The other Seminoles only managed six more in eight innings.
Told after the game Winston was going to be FSU’s next quarterback, Rodon said he was impressed with the freshman. Rodon, who was a sophomore, did strike out Winston once, but he wasn’t too worried about bragging rights.
“He can have the hits, as long as I get the win,” Rodon said that day.
Winston, who has become a Heisman Trophy front-runner, had more success against Rodon, one of the best pitchers in college baseball, than any other Wolfpack pitcher. After his three hits in the opener, Winston finished the series 4-for-11 with four singles and a run scored in three games. The Seminoles won the last two games of the series.
N.C. State baseball coach Elliott Avent said this week he remembered Winston’s at-bats against Rodon, who struck out eight and gave up one run in eight innings.
“When Carlos gets going like that, he can make you look like you don’t belong up there,” Avent said. “But with Winston, he’s a big, strong kid with raw ability, and he wasn’t overmatched.”
FSU baseball coach Mike Martin said Winston, who finished the season with a .235 batting average in 41 games and a 3.00 earned run average in 17 pitching appearances, only spends about seven weeks a year on baseball.
One main reason Winston chose FSU was because of the strength of the baseball program, but Martin said football is Winston’s priority.
“I don’t think anyone knows how good he can be as an everyday player,” Martin said.
Winston was a 15th-round pick of the Texas Rangers in 2012 out of high school. Martin said there’s no doubt he could have a future in baseball.
Martin coached Deion Sanders at FSU. Sanders, a Hall of Fame defensive back in the NFL, played parts of nine seasons in the major leagues.
“Primetime wasn’t as good Jaboo is in college,” said Martin, using the nicknames for Sanders and Winston.
Martin didn’t know if Winston could pull off what Sanders did, and go pro in both sports, but he did say, “If anybody can do it, Jaboo can.”
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