Photo courtesy of FSU athletics
Due to COVID-19, spring college sports were canceled. That includes college baseball and the College World Series.
On this day 10 years ago, Florida State took a step toward the College World Series and in dramatic fashion. In the first game of the best-of-3 Tallahassee Super Regional on June 11, 2010, Mike McGee’s walk-off home run sent the Seminoles past Vanderbilt, 9-8.
Setting the Stage
Fresh off an ACC Championship, Florida State swept through the Norwich Regional to get to the Super Regional round. The Commodores, on the other hand, won three straight games in two days to emerge from the Louisville Regional.
To that point, FSU and Vanderbilt had not met in 38 years. That streak ended at Dick Howser Stadium.
After watching the Commodores score in five straight innings to take the lead, FSU headed to the bottom of the ninth with a chance to win the game. The Seminoles had drawn even in the bottom of the eighth on a solo home run by Jayce Boyd.
Daniel Bennett worked a scoreless ninth for FSU to set the stage for McGee. Through two batters however, extra innings seemed inevitable.
Vandy reliever Chase Reid was able to get both Tyler Holt and Sherman Johnson to fly out to center to begin the inning. With two outs and no one on, McGee stepped to the plate.
After a first-pitch strike, McGee was able to take advantage of a high fastball. McGee put the bat on the ball and lifted it the other way, over the tall fence in right field.
As he rounded the bases, the Seminoles had moved to within one game of Omaha.
To That Point
Early on, things were going well for the Seminoles. Florida State had raced to an early 6-0 lead after two innings, but Vanderbilt had drawn even in the sixth.
The Commodores took their first lead on a solo homer by Jason Esposito in the top of the seventh. The Seminoles drew even on a James Ramsey sacrifice fly in the bottom of the inning. In the eighth, Vanderbilt’s Mike Yastrzemski and Boyd for FSU traded solo homers.
The scoreless ninth for Vanderbilt was the first zero put up by the Commodores’ offense since the third.
In addition to Esposito and Yastrzemski, Curt Casali and Joe Loftus also went yard for Vanderbilt. Casali tallied four hits while Esposito plated three runs and scored two more for the Commodores.
For FSU, Boyd was 3-for-4 with the solo shot and one of five Seminoles with multiple hits. Johnson also homered in the victory. Holt and Johnson had two hits, two runs and two RBIs apiece.
It was McGee, however, that stole the show during a 2-for-4 day. On the mound, Bennett worked two scoreless innings to get the win.
The victory gave FSU two chances to win one game. Vanderbilt forced a decisive game with a 6-2 victory the next day. In the third and final game of the Tallahassee Super Regional, the Seminoles held off the Commodores, 7-6, to advance to Omaha.
The trip to the College World Series began and ended for FSU with losses to TCU. In between, the Seminoles eliminated rival Florida.
During the 2010 NCAA Tournament, Florida State won six games with two decided by just one run. The lone walk-off came courtesy of a McGee blast and on this day one decade ago.