May 29, 2006
Tallahassee, FL – For the first time in 10 years and just the third time in the last 24 years, the Florida State baseball team will open NCAA Tournament play on the road. The Seminoles received an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament Monday and will open play Friday, June 2 in Athens, GA at 3:00 p.m. versus Jacksonville University. This is the 29th straight year that FSU has been selected to play in the NCAA Tournament, the second-longest streak in America.
“Well (Athens) is one of the four spots I guessed,” said FSU Head Coach Mike Martin. “We are just very happy to be in the postseason. That is what we all have to keep in mind. We are still playing baseball.”
Florida State is the second seed in the Athens Regional marking the first time since 1994 that FSU has not received a top seed. This is the first time since 1982 that FSU is not playing at home or not a No. 1 seed in the tournament. That year Florida State was sent to Austin, TX where the Longhorns were the top seeded squad.
“I wanted very much for us to be a top 16 seed,” said Martin. “I don’t know the last time we have been a two seed. I know what has happened the last four or five years when we were a one seed let’s see how we can play as a two seed.
“I think what we have to do is understand that the committee did what they felt was right. That’s a tough decision they have to make. Maybe it was time for us to go on the road.”
The team will open up with a familiar opponent in Jacksonville. The Seminoles and Dolphins have squared off four times this season and FSU has won all four meetings. The teams played two close games and then Florida State won two lopsided affairs. The Seminoles are 5-1 all-time in postseason play versus the Dolphins and the lone loss came in 1976 when JU eliminated FSU from the tournament.
“For some reason I thought we would play Jacksonville (in Tallahassee),” said Martin. “I never dreamed we would go to Athens to play Jacksonville. They are a very good baseball team and we have not seen their No. 1 guy in (Matt) Dobbins. He is an outstanding pitcher.
“Well we are certainly familiar with Jacksonville,” said Martin. “We have been fortunate but we know now this is the NCAA Tournament. Jacksonville will be a team that you just aren’t looking forward to facing. They are very talented. They had a great season. The best season I can remember them having in the last five years. Look for them to cause a lot of problems in this tournament.”
Two current Seminoles will return to their home state this weekend. Starting shortstop Buster Posey (Leesburg, GA) will play in the state of Georgia for the first time in his young career and pitcher Barret Browning (Jessup, GA) will return for the first time since FSU played Georgia Tech in Atlanta in 2005.
“I guess you can call it home it is about four hours away,” said Georgia native Buster Posey. “(Tallahassee) is actually closer to home for me. It will be nice. I have a few friends that go to school there and we should have a few followers. We are just excited to get there and start playing after we played so well in Jacksonville. We are ready and wish we were playing today.”
In recognition of their bid to the 2006 NCAA Tournament, the Seminole baseball team will gather at the “Unconquered” statue which sits on Williams Plaza at Langford Green just south of Bobby Bowden Field at Doak S. Campbell Stadium Tuesday night at 8:15 p.m. for the lighting of the spear. Fans are invited to come out and celebrate the Seminoles 29th straight NCAA Tournament bid with the team.
FSU adopted a policy this year lighting the spear of the “Unconquered” statue recognizing events of great significance and accomplishment on the FSU campus.
Unconquered, a 31-foot high sculpture that depicts a spear-brandishing Seminole astride a rearing horse was designed by Fritz White to capture the indomitable spirit of the Seminole people and those who have adopted that spirit as a symbol for their university.
Since its dedication in 2003, the spear has been set ablaze at sunset before FSU home football games only and it burns until sunrise the morning after the game. The new policy means the spear will be lit when FSU wins an Atlantic Coast Conference team championship in any sport, or an NCAA individual championship in any sport. In addition, the spear would be lit the night an FSU team is selected for NCAA Championship competition and will burn for 24 hours.
The spear may also be lit to recognize the winning of a “National Player of the Year” award in any sport (i.e. Heisman Trophy, Rhodes Scholarship).
TICKET INFORMATION FROM THE UNIVERISTY OF GEORGIA: Fans can already reserve an all-session pass for the NCAA Athens Regional action at Foley Field which will be held June 2-5. Georgia has all-session passes available for purchase through the UGA Athletic Association and on-line via www.georgiadogs.com. An all-session reserved pass costs $60, an all-session general admission adult pass will be $48 while and all-session general admission youth pass will be $36. Please note priority deadline for Georgia baseball season ticket holders to purchase all-session passes will be Tuesday, May 30th.
Daily tickets for an NCAA Baseball Regional in Athens will be $10 for adult reserved, $8 for adult general admission and $6 for youth general admission. All ticket information for the University of Georgia Athletic Association may be obtained by calling the ticket office at 706-542-1231 or toll free at 1-877-542-1231 between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Please note the UGAA Ticket Office will be closed Monday due to the Memorial Day holiday.