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Versatile Role Suits Nedin at Florida State

<i> Times Staff Writer </i>

Tim Nedin never sank into the depths of depression this season, despite being victimized by the depth of the Florida State pitching staff.

Nedin, a junior left-hander who transferred from College of the Canyons, has performed in both relief and starting roles for the Seminoles, the top-seeded team in the College World Series.

“I think if I went to another school that didn’t have a pitching staff as deep as ours, I could have thrown 140-150 innings,” Nedin said. “Sometimes it’s hard with the staff we have because we have eight guys that can start.

“But we’re here and we have a chance to win the national championship. I just hope I get a chance to contribute.”

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Nedin pitched one inning of scoreless relief Wednesday during Florida State’s 7-4 loss to Wichita State. He will be in the bullpen again tonight when the Seminoles meet Wichita State in a game that will determine the East Division representative in Saturday’s national championship game.

Senior Clyde Keller (13-0, 115 innings) and junior Gar Finnvold (10-4, 135 innings) have been the principal starters for the Seminoles and are the only pitchers who have logged more than 90 innings.

Nedin, who is 6-5 with a 3.16 earned-run average, went from reliever to starter to reliever this season. The former Hart High standout has still managed 92 strikeouts and 37 walks in 78 innings.

“I haven’t mixed my pitches well at all and that’s what cost me a little this year,” said Nedin, who throws a fastball, slider, changeup and knucklecurve.

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Control problems with the knucklecurve have been a particular source of frustration for Nedin, who has hit eight batters and thrown 11 wild pitches.

“I live and die with that pitch,” Nedin said. “It’s one of those pitches you either have it that day or you don’t.

“I’ve hit a lot of people with that pitch, that’s what killed me. I can’t even count how many times I’ve done that with the count 0-2.”

Nedin, who was selected in the 21st round of the amateur draft by the Minnesota Twins, knew nothing about struggling at the beginning of the season.

He compiled an 18-2 record at Canyons, and in his first appearance for Florida State, he earned a victory against Arizona State by striking out seven during seven shutout innings of relief.

Nedin followed that appearance with impressive stints against Grambling and Florida and was promoted to the starting rotation after allowing just one run in 18 innings.

As a starter, Nedin earned three wins in eight starts, including a complete-game victory over Southern Mississippi. However, after he lasted just one-third of an inning against Miami on April 8, Nedin returned to the bullpen.

“Timmy seems to respond better right now in his career as a middle reliever,” Florida State Coach Mike Martin said. “That does not pencil him as a middle reliever for next year because we’re going to be looking for another starter and Timmy Nedin would fit that role very well.”

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