Fall Report: Florida State

Fall Report

When the dust settled, the tale of the tape made it look like any other season in Mike Martin’s 38-year tenure at Florida State: 46 wins, a home regional, a trip to Omaha. For a program that hasn’t won fewer than 40 games or missed the NCAA tournament in the last four decades, 2017 was business as usual.

Except there wasn’t anything usual about the way Florida State got there. As late as May 14, FSU was 12-14 in the ACC with a road series at Louisville looming. At that stage, as inconceivable as it seemed, FSU was teetering on the edge of the NCAA tournament bubble, and its chances didn’t look great. Freak injuries (a case of shingles; a broken foot suffered after an awkward step to first base; a vicious case of shin splints; a subloxed shoulder; a broken thumb) and surprising underperformance from stars had led the Seminoles to that precarious position. Then, it was like a light switch was flipped on — FSU went 13-3 the rest of the way, including a 3-0 record against Louisville and an ACC tournament title to improbably snag that home regional, followed by a harrowing run through the losers’ bracket of the Tallahassee Regional.

“It was extremely unusual. I’ve never experienced anything like that,” Martin said of the 2017 campaign. “From the injuries, to it just seemed like we could never get the big hit when we needed it, we just couldn’t seem to get it done. But it just goes to show you what a real unbelievable sport we play. … I think the big thing we have to understand at Florida State is we’ve got some outstanding young men returning, but so do 25 other teams in this country that are very good. We play in a very competitive league and we also play a very competitive schedule, playing Florida and UCF and South Florida and Jacksonville — very good baseball teams. So we’d better not think we’re good, we’d better work hard, or the same thing that happened last year could happen again.”

Ultimately, though, the final month of the 2017 season served as a reminder that you can always count on Martin to keep his team grounded and ready to pounce. But don’t expect the Seminoles to scuffle through the first four months of the season again.

Florida State returns a loaded roster once again, with star power in the lineup and a returning weekend rotation that has a chance to be FSU’s best in years.


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