ATHENS, Ga. – Florida State looked anything like one of the “last four in” teams.
Not after knocking off the nation’s No. 4 overall seed.
Reese Albert had a two-run homer and an RBI single and Mike Salvatore had a two-run double as Florida State chased a star Georgia right-hander for a second straight night, lifting the Seminoles to a 10-1 win over the Bulldogs in the regional title game Sunday night.
The Seminoles scored 35 runs in going 3-0 in the series as the No. 3 seed. Did they belong to be in the field of 64? FSU answered that with a thundering response heard around the college baseball world in Mike Martin’s last season.
“To say that I am happy is an understatement because I’m happy for these three young men that are up here and I’m happy for 24 other guys that poured their heart and soul into getting it done,” Martin said.
Beyond the noise it made was the size of Georgia’s fall. The Seminoles dispatched Emerson Hancock (four innings, five earned runs) and Cole Wilcox (3.2 innings, four earned runs) on consecutive nights. FSU also produced back-to-back-to-back games with 10 or more runs scored in a regional and smacked double-digit hits in each game.
While it was C.J. Van Eyk who outdueled Hancock on Saturday it was another sophomore right-hander, Conor Grady, who looked poised in settling down the Bulldogs’ lineup on Sunday. Grady gave up a solo home run in the sixth but he was in command in putting up zeroes for much of the night in throwing seven innings. He scattered six hits and two walks while striking out three batters.
“I was really looking forward to it when I found out about it,” Grady said. “… The whole game I was pitching with a lead and I was just trying to throw strikes.”
FSU (39-21) will play at LSU (40-24) in a Super Regional next weekend in a best-of-three series that could start Friday or Saturday. The Seminoles will play in their 17th Super Regional this year, the most in the 21-year history of the current NCAA format.
Drew Mendoza also had a pair of RBI doubles for the Seminoles, who have a chance to give Martin his 40th season with 40 victories or more with a victory in the Super Regional. The Seminoles will also be going for a 23rd trip to the College World Series.
FSU will be riding plenty of momentum behind the top-to-bottom offensive display as well as the three starts from Drew Parrish, Van Eyk and Grady.
Salvatore, who had nine hits in three games, was named the regional’s Most Outstanding Player. Van Eyk, Mendoza, Carter Smith, Nander De Sedas, Tim Becker and Salvatore were named to the all-tournament team.
Becker drew two walks Sunday and reached safely in 8 of 14 plate appearances this weekend.