Florida State baseball celebrated its 50th season in grand fashion as the
Seminoles added a bit more of tradition to their already rich history. Seminole
fans watched history in the making as FSU sluggers J.D. Drew and Jeremy Morris
rewrote the Florida State and ACC record books while they led the 1997 team to
their second ACC Championship in three years.
With a 50-17 record last season, Mike Martin’s Seminoles reached the 50-win
plateau for the 17th time in history. The Seminoles made their 20th consecutive
appearance in the NCAA Regionals, hosting the NCAA East Regional at Dick Howser
Stadium. FSU breezed into the tournament on a nine-game winning streak, hot off
five incredible pitching performances in the ACC Tournament.
As the No. 1 seed, FSU defeated Marist and Central Florida before facing
undefeated Auburn. The Seminoles looked strong in the early going as they led
7-1, but David Ross’ three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning gave
Auburn an 8-7 victory. Florida State battled back that night to defeat South
Florida, 6-5, but the Seminoles would have to beat Auburn twice to return to the
Omaha. The Tribe overpowered the Tigers, 9-7, in the first championship game,
but Auburn cruised to a 5-2 win in the second game, knocking Florida State out
of the College World Series for the first time in three years.
The Seminole pitching staff went the distance during the ACC Tournament as four
starters threw complete games. Freshman John Bentley started the ball rolling
as he held off Duke with a complete-game victory in the first round, while
sophomore Chris Chavez brought all of the momentum into the championship game
against Clemson in front of a strong Seminole crowd at Al Lang Stadium in St.
Chavez shut down the Tigers, hurling a one-hit shutout to give the Seminoles
their second ACC Championship. Chavez earned Collegiate Baseball National
Player of the Week honors for his outstanding performance. As a whole, Seminole
pitchers posted a 2.00 ERA, a 1.79 opponent batting average and used their
bullpen for just 1 2/3 innings over five games.
Six Seminoles were named to the ACC All-Tournament Team — Drew, Chavez, Randy
Choate, Scott Zech, Jeremy Salazar and ACC Tournament MVP Jeremy Morris. Morris
batted .381 with seven RBI and two home runs to lead Florida State in the five
The Tribe’s golden anniversary season one of FSU’s toughest schedules in recent
years as they played 26 games against ranked opponents, including 10 games
versus Top 10 opponents in February. The Seminoles posted a 14-12 record
against ranked competition. Twenty-two of those games were against Top 10
opponents where the Tribe earned an 11-11 mark.
J.D. Drew made collegiate baseball history against Central Florida as he hit his
30th home run of the season, a grand slam, becoming the only player to hit 30
home runs and steal 30 bases in a single season. Drew is also one of just three
players in NCAA history to record a triple-triple — 100 hits, 100 runs scored
and 100 RBI.
A total of 22 individual FSU and ACC records fell, including 17 by J.D. Drew.
The junior centerfielder set school marks in batting average, slugging
percentage, runs scored, base on balls and grand slams. Drew also set ACC
records in home runs, slugging percentage, runs scored, total bases and base on
balls. Jeremy Morris set a new FSU career doubles record and ACC records for
season and career RBI.
Florida State had six players selected in the 1997 Major League Draft last June,
including J.D. Drew who was the second pick by the Philadelphia Phillies. Randy
Choate (5th) and Jeremy Morris (8th) were both selected by the New York Yankees.
Scott Zech (14th-Montreal), Randy Niles (20th-Oakland) and Matt Woodward
(31st-Seattle) were also drafted by professional teams.