Photo courtesy of NoleFan.org
For Florida State, the 1991 season would be its last as a member of Metro Conference.
The Seminoles wound up winning the conference for the 11th time in 12 years, but their season didn’t stop there. On this day 30 years ago, FSU rallied from three runs down to beat Alabama 6-5 and clinch a spot in the College World Series.
Setting the Stage
FSU had won five straight games as it made its way to Dick Howser Stadium on May 26, 1991. The Seminoles had two chances to beat Alabama once to win the Tallahassee Regional and advance to Omaha.
After starting off the Tallahassee Regional with wins over Florida International and St. John’s, Alabama had lost to FSU the day prior, 5-2. The Crimson Tide bounced back to eliminate Georgia Tech, 8-4. Through the middle parts of the contest, it looked as though they may force a winner-take-all.
Midway through the contest, FSU was on the short end of a 5-2 score. Alabama took the lead with three runs in the fourth inning, thanks to home runs from Phil Doyle and Jerry Shelton. The Crimson Tide added a run in the fifth on Doyle’s second blast of the game.
The bottom of the fifth however, would see the Seminoles draw even with three runs. After a single and two walks loaded the bases with one out, Pedro Grifol lifted a sacrifice fly to cut the lead to two. A walk re-loaded the bases before pinch hitter Chris Brock lined a 1-2 pitch into center field for a game-tying 2-run single.
Alabama would get out of the inning, but FSU would go ahead for good in the seventh. A 2-out RBI double from Garrett Blanton would be all that the Seminoles needed.
John Nedeau got the win for FSU, allowing just a run in five innings of relief. After working a perfect eighth and retiring the first batter he faced in the ninth, Nedeau was relieved by Ricky Kimball. Kimball struck out both batters he faced to collect the save and send the Seminoles to Omaha.
Prior to the fourth inning, all the runs came in the second. Shelton doubled home Doyle to get the scoring started for Alabama, but Hunter Plott was thrown out at home to end the inning. FSU answered with two runs in the bottom of the second on back-to-back home runs from Grifol and Chris Roberts.
Unfortunately for Florida State, the thrilling win over Alabama would be its last of the season. The Seminoles went on to go “two and a barbecue” at the College World Series, losing to Fresno State and Florida.
Although it didn’t have a strong showing in Omaha, FSU managed to go to the College World Series for the fourth time in six seasons in 1991. That trip was clinched on this day three decades ago.
Mike Ferguson is the managing editor for Fifth Quarter. Be sure to follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeWFerguson. Follow all of Mike’s work by liking his Facebook page.