Martin’s Seminoles keep going; Nos. 3, 4 national seeds out
Florida State dominated all three games in its NCAA regional and extended coach Mike Martin’s final season at least one more week.
The Seminoles became the first team to advance to the super regionals by beating No. 4 national seed Georgia 10-1 on Sunday night, making it the second straight year the Bulldogs failed to get out of regionals as a national seed.
One of the last four teams selected for the 64-team tournament, FSU amassed 35 runs in sweeping three games in Athens, Georgia, outscoring the Bulldogs 22-4 in two games. Next up is a best-of-three series at LSU.
“To say I’m happy is an understatement,” Martin said. “What got us here is we’ve got the right people in our program, from the players to the coaches to the administration.”
National seeds advancing to super regionals were No. 2 Vanderbilt, No. 5 Arkansas, No. 6 Mississippi State, No. 8 Texas Tech, No. 12 Mississippi, No. 13 LSU and No. 14 North Carolina.
Also moving on were Duke and Auburn.
No. 1 national seed UCLA beat Loyola Marymount 6-1 to force a second final Monday. Other winner-take-all finals: Illinois State vs. No. 7 Louisville, Connecticut vs. No. 9 Oklahoma State, Fresno State vs. No. 11 Stanford and Michigan vs. Creighton.
In a regional behind schedule because of weather problems Friday, Campbell will play No. 10 East Carolina needing one win to advance.
No. 3 Georgia Tech and No. 4 Georgia are the highest national seeds eliminated. At least one top-eight seed has been knocked out in the regional round 11 straight years.
In addition to FSU-LSU, these super regional matchups are set: Mississippi-Arkansas, Duke-Vanderbilt and Auburn-North Carolina.
The Seminoles have become one of the top postseason storylines for narrowly keeping alive Martin’s streak of making the tournament each of his 40 years at the helm. They were assigned a No. 3 regional seed, the lowest in Martin’s tenure.
Turns out the underdog role agrees with them.
They batted .375 in the three games, and 1-2-3 batters Mike Salvatore, Reese Albert and Drew Mendoza combined to bat .512 (22 of 43) with three homers and four doubles.
Florida State (39-21) heads to the super regionals for an NCAA-leading 17th time and need one more win to keep alive Martin’s streak of never winning fewer than 40 games in a season. If the Seminoles win their super regional, Martin would make his 17th trip to the CWS and get a last chance to win his first national title.
“It’s about these young men. It’s not about me,” Martin said. “I want very much — very much — for them to go to Omaha.”
Duke, like Florida State, was a No. 3 regional seed and went 3-0 after being among the last four teams selected for the 64-team tournament. The Blue Devils are in supers a second year in a row after getting a home run and four RBIs from Kyle Gallagher in a 4-1 win over Texas A&M.
Michigan had a three-run lead and was three outs away from locking up its first trip to super regionals since 2007 before imploding in the ninth inning against Creighton. The Bluejays scored seven runs on four hits and four walks against two pitchers and won 11-7 to force the rematch.
NOW THAT’S GRAND
In the most dramatic finish of the tournament, so far, Texas A&M made it to the regional final with an 11-10 win over host West Virginia on Bryce Blaum’s walk-off grand slam with two outs in the ninth inning.
Logan Foster’s grand slam in the seventh started the Aggies’ comeback from a 9-1 deficit, and they were down 10-7 when they loaded the base on a double and two walks. Blaum drove Kessler’s 3-2 slider over the fence in left center to set off A&M’s celebration.
— Thomas Dillard had a grand slam, solo homer and seven RBIs in Ole Miss’ 19-4 win over Jacksonville State.
— Ty Duvall hit a grand slam and Julian Infante homered twice in Vanderbilt’s 12-1 win over Indiana State.
— LSU’s Josh Smith homered, tripled and had three RBIs in LSU’s 6-4 win over Southern Mississippi.
— Matt Goodheart went 3 for 4 with a home run and three RBIs in Arkansas’ 6-0 win over TCU.
— Chase Strumpf hit a three-run homer for UCLA against Loyola Marymount.
— Vanderbilt’s Mason Hickman and Zach King combined on a three-hitter with 12 strikeouts.
— Arkansas’ Patrick Wicklander and two relievers combined on the five-hit shutout against TCU.
— Relievers Caleb Wurster, CJ Dandeneau and Jacob Wallace combined for seven shutout innings and 14 strikes to lead Connecticut in a 5-2 win over Oklahoma State.
— Louisville’s Luke Smith limited Illinois State to three hits in 8 1/3 innings in an 11-2 win.
— North Carolina’s Austin Bergner held Tennessee to two runs on four hits and struck out eight in seven innings.