The nation’s fifth overall seed in the NCAA Baseball Tournament was a bitter disappointment over the weekend as Florida State went 0-2 in its own regional to conclude the 2014 season. FSU opened the Tallahassee Regional with a 7-0 loss on Friday night against Georgia Southern before falling 6-5 to Alabama in an elimination game on Saturday.
With two conference champions and another SEC power in the regional, the Seminoles were far from a lock to advance from the Tallahassee Regional. The notion that Florida State would be the first team eliminated however, seemed unfathomable prior to Friday night.
After leading the ACC in runs scored by a large margin during the regular season, it took Florida State 17 innings to finally touch home plate during the regional. In Saturday’s season-ending loss to Alabama, Florida State nearly mounted a rally with five runs in the ninth inning, but it proved to be too little, too late.
Over the dismal two-game effort for Florida State, only ACC Player of the Year D.J. Stewart had hits in both games. Stewart was also the lone Seminole to have multiple hits during the regional. Of the eight total hits over the two days for FSU, none went for extra bases.
As atrocious as the Seminoles were at the plate, Florida State struggled to compensate for it on the mound. During the first 58 games of the season, FSU allowed opponents to score six runs just nine times. It happened twice in as many games during the regional.
While Georgia Southern starting pitcher Sam Howard was hurling a complete game, two-hit shutout on Friday night, Florida State starter Mike Compton failed to make it past the second inning. Compton’s early departure forced head coach Mike Martin to turn to lefty Billy Strode, who many believed could be used as a starter later in the regional.
Though seven runs seems like a large number to give up to the likes of Georgia Southern, the Seminoles were fortunate that it wasn’t much worse in their NCAA Tournament opener. The Eagles did touch home plate seven times, but managed 16 hits on the evening. Each of the nine players in the Georgia Southern batting order had a hit, but the Eagles left 12 men on base.
After Compton struggled on Friday, Luke Weaver was good enough on Saturday to give the ‘Noles a chance to win. Alabama scored three runs off of Weaver in five innings, but only one run was earned.
While the usually dependable FSU offense failed to give its starter a run of support, the usually dependable reliever Gage Smith had a rough seventh inning which allowed the Alabama lead to double from 3-0 to 6-0. After Florida State scored five runs in the ninth, that frame proved to be even more costly.
Of the eight Seminoles to take the mound during the Tallahassee Regional, only Strode and closer Jameis Winston went without allowing a run. Each threw 2 2/3 innings. FSU also struggled in the field by committing three errors over the two games which led to three unearned runs.
Unfortunately for Florida State, a 2014 campaign that began with so much promise has come to an end. After a 2-1 finish in the ACC Tournament and earning a national seed for a record 10th time, FSU was eliminated in just two games and will have to wait yet another year to chase that coveted first College World Series crown. Depending on what what takes place during next week’s Major League Baseball Amateur Draft and in the days following, Florida State could return a very talented roster next season.
It was a tough weekend on the diamond for Florida State as the Seminoles’ baseball season ended in disappointment while FSU softball’s first Women’s College World Series appearance in a decade lasted just two games. With baseball season now over, the Florida State fan base can begin to look forward to the Seminoles’ national title defense on the gridiron, which is now less than three months away.