May 28, 1999
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Top-seeded Florida State (49-12) banged out a
season-high tying 24 hits and scored in every inning on the way to a 24-6
victory over the fourth-seeded Citadel Bulldogs (41-19) in the first round
of the NCAA Division I Baseball Regional at Tallahassee on Friday night.
The Citadel jumped on FSU starter Blair Varnes for five runs in the
top of the first inning but the Seminoles rallied for five of their own in
the bottom half of the frame to tie the score.
“They key was our poise and focus,” said Florida State head coach
Mike Martin. “No one dropped their head when we came into the dugout from
the top of the first. Blair was definitely nervous but he regained control
Matt Diaz hit a three-run home run, his 16th of the year, to start
a four-run second inning that gave the Seminoles the lead for good. Diaz
finished with four runs batted in on the night, as did Kevin Cash. Cash
had four hits, including his 13th homer of the season.
Bulldog starter Rodney Hancock did not record an out in the second
inning and left after allowing nine runs and nine hits. He threw a
two-hitter with 20 strikeouts in his last outing and spun a no-hitter in
his previous start.
“We had a little bit of momentum at the beginning but they did a
heck of a job of fighting back,” said The Citadel head coach Fred Jordan.
“They brought their A game tonight after the top half of the first. When
they play like that, I’m not sure anybody in the country can beat them.”
Fourteen FSU players had hits in the game, including every starter.
John-Ford Griffin came off the bench to lead the Seminoles with five RBI
and went 2-for-3 with his third home run of the season. Sam Scott also
went deep for his ninth of the season.
Florida State’s 24 runs scored were its second most ever in a
post-season game, surpassed only by a 27-run output against Delware in the
Atlantic II Regional last year. The Tribe’s 24 hits also tied a school
FSU advances to face third-seeded Jacksonville in a winner’s
bracket game on Saturday at 3:00 p.m. The Bulldogs take on second-seeded
Providence in an elimination game at 11:00 a.m. tomorrow.