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Seminoles season ends in Omaha again; Gators in good position

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The Florida State baseball season ended with a loss in Omaha, Neb. on Wednesday night, just like it has 21 other times before. This time it was the LSU Tigers sending the Seminoles home from the College World Series with a 7-4 victory, meaning FSU Coach Mike Martin will have to wait another year.

Unlike their first meeting, where LSU scored two late runs to snatch a 5-4 victory, the Tigers jumped out early and kept Florida State at arm’s length. A 5-run second, capped by a three-run homer by first baseman Jake Slaughter, knocked out starter Cole Sands and brought in Andrew Karp.

FSU began to chip away with a solo home run by first baseman Drew Mendoza in the bottom of the second. In the 6th, DH Quincy Nieporte nearly had a three-run homer, but settled for a long sacrifice fly to make it 5-2.

Karp kept FSU in range with 5 innings of three-hit, no-run relief. He struck out 7.

But in the 9th inning, Mendoza threw high to catcher Cal Raleigh in an attempt to nail Kramer Robertson at the plate. That led to two LSU insurance runs.

LSU starter Jared Poche’ gave up back-to-back homers to Nieporte and Raleigh to start the 9th and bring FSU within 7-4. Poche’ gave way to closer Zack Hess, who struck out the side.

The final strike of the season, delivered to Tyler Holton, was at least 6 inches outside, but that summarizes the Seminoles frustrating history at the College World Series. The first game loss to the Tigers on Saturday also contributed to the ongoing the narrative.

Florida State finishes the season with a 46-23 record and the ACC Tournament, NCAA Regional and NCAA Super Regional Champions. After struggling through much of the season, they won 19 of their final 24 games and made a trip to Omaha few, if anyone, would have imagined four weeks ago.

LSU now goes on to face Oregon State in the top bracket of the tournament. The Tigers must defeat the top-ranked Beavers twice to advance to the championship series. Oregon State has lost only four games all year and thrashed the Tigers 13-1 in the first meeting on Monday.

In the bottom bracket, the Florida Gators await the winner of Thursday’s Louisville vs. TCU elimination game. Whoever wins that game must beat the Gators twice, beginning Friday, to prevent them from heading to the championship round.

 

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Bob Sparks is President of Ramos and Sparks Group, a Tallahassee-based business and political consulting firm. During his career, he has directed media relations and managed events for professional baseball, served as chief spokesperson for the Republican Party of Florida as well as the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Attorney General of Florida. After serving as Executive Deputy Chief of Staff for Governor Charlie Crist, he returned to the private sector working with clients including the Republican National Committee and political candidates in Japan. He lives in Tallahassee with his wife, Sue and can be reached at Bob@ramos-sparks.com.

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