The blow suffered when the Major League Baseball draft some some of the top arms in Florida State's 2012 class was softened by the addition of one of the Sunshine State's top right-handers, Andy Ward, in late June.
Ward, when healthy, sits above 90 miles per hour on his fastball complimented by a curveball and change-up. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound hurler out of Oviedo (Fla.) also drew heavy interest from college-baseball powers such as Florida, Miami, Ole Miss, North Carolina, Vanderbilt and Virginia.
"I was mostly looking at Florida State and Virginia," Ward said about his recruitment down the stretch. "Florida State was at a lot more of my games and stuff, and I talked to the coaches a lot more. I have wanted to go to Florida State for a while and so I committed there."
The Seminoles aggressively campaigned to get Ward on campus this past spring during ACC play to take in a game at Dick Howser Stadium. Their efforts succeeded and Ward enjoyed what coach Mike Martin's program had to offer -- on and off the field.
"When I went up there, I loved the campus and stuff," began the coveted pitching prospect. "I like Coach Bell a lot. I talked with him for a while. I am pretty religious and they have Bible studies for their team and the team chaplain was there. That was big for me."
Martin was awarded a three-year extension just after Ward's commitment to FSU.
And although he hadn't heard about Martin's new deal, the news was received positively that manager that had directed the Seminoles to Omaha in 2012 will be around for a while.
"I didn't know about it until just now," Ward said. "It does make me feel better about it, but I wasn't really worried about it before. It is comforting and more supportive to hear that he is going to be there and stuff."
Ward plans on getting to Tallahassee for at least one weekend during the fall for his official visit. Ward's summer schedule doesn't allow for too many off days. Trips to several showcases and other tournaments dot his calendar.
That's fine with him, though. Ward is looking forward to getting back on track in meaningful action against other high-quality opponents.
"I have been doing mostly Perfect Game stuff," he said. "I think I am going to East Coast Pro, which is a showcase in New York for four days.
"There is a lot of stuff to work on. I still haven't gotten my velocity back. I tweaked my arm during the high school season and I have only gotten back up to 87 or 88. I want to get that back up and work on my stamina and curveball. When I am on, I feel confident and I will throw fastballs to whatever guy it is in the order."
In today's baseball world, there isn't an offseason unless there is participation in another sport. In Ward's case, there isn't.
He will join up with other Florida State commitments such as 2013 shortstop M.T. Minacci and 2014 southpaw Carson Sands as a part of the Orlando Scorpions, a prominent travel program.
Being familiar with other prospects that are headed to the state's capital someday shouldn't hurt.
"Definitely, just knowing that they are going to be my teammates when I finally get up there," Ward mentioned. "That should help me feel more comfortable right away."