There’s something about a father and son and the game of baseball that just seems to go hand-in-hand.
Legendary Florida State head coach Mike Martin had a rare opportunity on this day a quarter-century ago. Martin was sitting in the FSU dugout on April 9, 1995 when his son, Mike Martin Jr., played the role of hero.
In the rubber game of a 3-game series at Dick Howser Stadium, the younger Martin delivered the Seminoles with a walk-off solo home run in the bottom of the 11th inning. FSU took the game and the series, 3-2.
How We Got There
For six innings, Florida State was kept off the scoreboard. The Seminoles trailed 2-0 entering the bottom of the seventh. FSU had not had an answer for Miami starter J.D. Arteaga to that point.
With a pair of runners in scoring position however, FSU pinch hitter J.D. Drew had the equalizer. Drew laced a 2-run single to knot the game at two. That score would remain until the 11th.
Miami’s Arteaga and FSU’s Charlie Cruz each had solid starts for their respective teams. With the score tied 2-2, Jay Tessmer for the Hurricanes and FSU’s Phil Olson continued to trade zeros out of the bullpen.
With two outs and the bases empty in the 11th, Martin Jr. stepped to the plate to face Tessmer. Martin was 0-for-2 on the day with a walk to that point. After working the count full, Martin deposited Tessmer’s pitch over the high wall in right field for the walk-off blast.
Olson worked 3.2 innings of scoreless relief to earn the win for FSU. He yielded just a pair of hits and threw just 38 pitches.
At the plate, Scott Zech and Randy Hodges each had a pair of hits for the Seminoles. Rudy Gomez was 4-for-5 for the Hurricanes in the loss. Tessmer had pitched four scoreless innings, but took the loss after allowing the walk-off shot.
Now the head coach at FSU, the younger Martin’s walk-off blast would give the Seminoles the season series. The following weekend, FSU took two of three from Miami in Coral Gables.
The Hurricanes however, would deliver the bigger blow that season. The teams met again in the College World Series with Miami winning, 4-2. The victory in the winners’ bracket would move the Hurricanes to 2-0 in Omaha, but Miami would lose back-to-back contests to USC to see its season end.
Over his 3-year career, the younger Martin homered 20 times. As a senior in 1995, Martin would hit just .221, but had the most memorable moment of his playing career. It happened on this day 25 years ago.