There’s certainly a buzz around the Florida State baseball program following a thrilling victory on Sunday night.
Drew Mendoza’s RBI single in the bottom of the 12th lifted the Seminoles past LSU in the second game of the Baton Rouge Super Regional and clinched a trip to the College World Series with a 5-4 victory. It was the first time that FSU had ever won a Super Regional away from Tallahassee.
Last night’s thriller clinched a 23rd trip to College World Series. The fashion it ended in however, led one to wonder if the Seminoles had ever previously clinched a trip to Omaha on a walk-off. The answer is yes.
The one occasion that it occurred predates Mike Martin — even as a player.
The first instance came in 1962 against Wake Forest in Gastonia, North Carolina. That one also involved extra innings as the Seminoles prevailed 3-2 in 11 frames.
Hal Mangin played the role of hero for FSU in that one with a 2-out RBI single in the bottom of the 11th to score Al Beccaccio. Like Mendoza on Sunday night, Mangin was the team’s third baseman. Like Mike Salvatore, who scored the winning run on Sunday night, Beccaccio was a middle infielder who started the rally with a single.
Sunday’s victory was not the first walk-off win for FSU in a Super Regional game, but it was the first to clinch a spot in the College World Series. Mike McGee hit a walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth in 2010 to top Vanderbilt, 9-8, and Jackson Lueck had an RBI single to beat Sam Houston State in 2017 by a 7-6 score. Both of those occasions came in the first game of the Tallahassee Super Regional.
The 5-4 win over LSU was also not the first time that FSU had clinched a College World Series appearance with a win in its final Super Regional at-bat. FSU scored four runs in the top of the ninth of the 1999 Tallahassee Super Regional to defeat Auburn, 6-3, and reach Omaha.
In what will be the final season of legendary head coach Mike Martin’s 40-year career, the Seminoles have manage to accomplish a lot of firsts for Marin in this NCAA Tournament. Winning in Athens marked the first time that FSU had ever won a regional as something other than a top seed in the regional and Sunday’s victory marked the first time that it had ever won a Super Regional on the road. It was also the first time that Martin reached Omaha in walk-off fashion, but not the first time for Florida State as a program.