The quest for a ring has officially come to an end for Florida State (47-17) as they fall to Indiana (48-14) in the Super Regionals 11-6.
“I’d like to say to the [FSU] team how much I appreciate how they’ve conducted themselves all year long,” Florida State head coach Mike Martin said on ending the season. “From what they did in the classroom to what they did on the field, [it was] great leadership from Scotty [Scott Sitz], Seth [Miller], Gonzo [Justin Gonzalez]. It was extremely encouraging to all of us Seminoles.”
From start to finish, the game seemed to have a bad aura around the FSU dugout. Beginning in the 1st inning, Indiana jumped out to a quick lead on Scott Sitz and practically took the Dick Howser crowd of 4,193 out of the game.
In the bottom half of the opening frame, the Hoosiers immediately got on base with a walk. IU catcher Kyle Schwarber then proceeded to move the runner over with a single. A sacrifice fly would bring in the first Indiana run. Schwarber would reach home soon after from an RBI double down the right field line coming off the bat of Scott Donley. The hits kept coming for Indiana and Sitz seemed to be unwinding early on as the Hoosiers would eventually score four runs in the 1st.
Looking deflated, the Seminoles came out trying to get back in the game. With one out in the 2nd, Seth Miller would reach base off a fielding error and pump some life back in the team. A few wild pitches later and the Noles had Miller at third. Josh Delph executed a perfect squeeze bunt to move John Sansone to second and bring in Miller and make it 4-1. Sansone would score off a DJ Stewart single and the Seminoles would exit the inning with the Hoosier lead trimmed to 4-2.
Florida State would start to gain momentum in the 5th inning. Trailing 5-2 to start the 5th, the Seminoles would start to figure out Indiana starter Aaron Slegers. Back-to-back singles from Stewart and Marcus Davis to open the inning had the Noles in the best position to strike. Jose Brizuela’s RBI single brought in Stewart and advanced Davis to second. Slegers would walk John Nogowski before being puled from the game. With the bases loaded and down 5-3, FSU aimed to have a big inning. Davis would score a run after a Brett Knief sacrifice fly to center. Giovanny Alfonzo was hit by a pitch to load the bases once again for the Noles. Casey Smith, pinch hitting for Sansone, would also be hit to bring in a run and tie the game at five. Still having the bases loaded, Delph took a 1-2 itch looking, leaving men on every base.
With the crowd back in the game, Sitz and the Noles needed a quick 1-2-3 inning. That would not come to fruition as a two-run blast to left field from IU’s Sam Travis took the air out of the stadium and silenced the FSU faithful.
Sitz would be replaced with Jameis Winston following the homerun. His last pitch in Dick Howser Stadium would eventually be the game winner. His last outing in front of the Seminole fans was not what he expected. Seven runs, six earned, all off six hits in 4.1 innings. Sitz struck out five and walked two as well. Even while his head was hung low, the knowledgeable fans in the stadium began cheering “mustache” in support of the senior, who was also drafted by the Detroit Tigers just days earlier.
From the time the ball left the stadium until the time the final out was recorded, the Hoosiers had complete control.
After scoring four more runs in the 7th and 8th innings to make the lead 11-5, it was almost certain that Indiana had punched their ticket to Omaha.
Still, the Seminoles refused to go down without a fight. Brizuela started things off with a leadoff walk, followed by Nogowski popping out to second. Knief got on with a single which advanced Brizuela over one base. After a pitching change, Alfonzo would load the bases with a walk. Once again, Smit would be hit by a pitch, this time bringing in Brizuela and making the score 11-6. Once again, Delph would strike out. Down to their final out of the season, Stewart took a 0-1 pitch to left field and into the glove of Casey Smith.
As the Hoosiers celebrated on the field, many of the Florida State players held their heads low as they would not return to Omaha.
“No question it was,” Martin said on how the 2013 FSU baseball team was one of his favorites to coach. “When you look at the season, it was a real credit to the way our guys battled. In the top of the ninth inning, we’re still battling. Down six and we’re still fighting. We’re one hitter away from getting the tying run to the plate…it was a fun year for all of our coaches.”
For yet another game in the Super Regionals, Florida State was unable to get key hits when they needed them the most. The Seminoles stranded 14 on base against the Hoosiers in Game 2 while recording 11 hits and walking six times.
“It’s funny how you sit over there and just say, ‘somebody, somebody pick us up’,” Martin said on not getting the key hits. “But you’ve got to credit them for making pitches when they needed to make them.”