It was apparently a lot closer to coming to an end than many of us realized, but the Florida State baseball team continued its incredible postseason streak on Monday afternoon.
The Seminoles, who were one of the “last four teams in,” according to the NCAA Selection Committee, earned their 44th straight NCAA Tournament appearance. That ties the all-time mark that was set by Miami from 1973 to 2016.
Florida State (33-23) is the No. 3 seed in the Auburn Regional and will take on No. 2 seed UCLA at noon ET on Friday. Host Auburn will take on No. 4 seed Southeast Louisiana later in the day.
“It’s remarkable,” FSU head coach Mike Martin Jr. said of the program’s streak. “It truly is. And I’ve been fortunate enough to be part of a few of them. What ’11’ (Mike Martin Sr.) was able to do, the tradition that he set, that’s what we do. We’ve got to play our best ball. And be ready for this really difficult regional we’re in.
“We’re dang excited.”
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The Seminoles will open up against a UCLA team that was in the conversation to host for much of the season. And this Bruins team (38-22) is built like just about every other UCLA team head coach John Savage has had over the years.
They win with pitching, defense and timely hitting.
Martin Jr. said he hadn’t watched a single inning of UCLA all year, but he knew what to expect as soon as the Bruins’ name popped up on the screen Monday afternoon.
“John Savage is a very, very good coach,” Martin Jr. said. “He’s a pitching-oriented guy. I haven’t looked at anything, but I’m sure it’s the same style they play. It’s pitching, defense, put pressure on the bases. They like to run, I’m sure. They still do. John’s always been that way. They’ll bunt. We’ve got to be ready for that.
“It’s a different style. There’s a lot of time in between … a lot of throwing over to first base. That West Coast style is a little different.”
UCLA has stolen 72 bases this year and allowed just 21. The Bruins will undoubtedly be a stiff first test for the Seminoles, who have lost five of their last six games since taking two of three from No. 6 Miami in a weekend series.
Martin Jr. said he and his coaches hadn’t made up their minds yet who they would start in the regional opener. But it figures to be either ace Parker Messick or Bryce Hubbart.
And on a broader scale, Martin Jr. really couldn’t figure out how conference-mate North Carolina State was left out of the field. The Wolfpack had an RPI in the low 30s and advanced to the ACC championship game this past weekend.
Florida State had an RPI of 29 and barely made the field, so it seemed obvious to Martin Jr. that there was no one in the ACC”s corner during the Selection Committee meetings.
“It’s what happens when you don’t have representation from your league on the Committee,” Martin Jr. said. “The ones that do have representation seem to get taken care of. And I just feel so bad for Elliott (Avent). That’s a tremendous ball club that he has. That’s wrong. There’s no way they shouldn’t be in. .. .
“And [FSU being in] the last four in? With Dallas Baptist? Again. whatever. We’re in. Our focus is on UCLA and UCLA only. And guys are excited.”
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