Photo courtesy of NoleFan.org
Florida State baseball has made plenty of College World Series appearances. Only three times however, have the Seminoles reached the final.
In 1999, FSU lost to rival Miami in the championship game, 6-5. On this day 35 years ago however, it was FSU holding off Miami to reach the final with a 4-3 victory.
Setting the Stage
Arizona awaited the winner as Florida State and Miami duked it out at Rosenblatt Stadium on June 8, 1986. The Seminoles had rallied from five runs down the day prior to beat Oklahoma State and stave off elimination.
Miami was also coming off a win to stay alive. The Hurricanes had defeated Arizona to keep its season alive. Miami also had College World Series wins over Oklahoma State and LSU. During their time in Omaha, only FSU had defeated the Hurricanes.
For FSU, the contest started with a bang. Starting pitcher Doug Little worked a scoreless first before Jose Marzan led off the bottom of the inning with a triple. Luis Alicea would bring him home with a sacrifice fly to give FSU a 1-0 lead.
With the help of two FSU errors, Miami drew even in the top of the second. Once again, the Seminoles had an answer.
After a throwing error by Miami third baseman Kirk Dulom allowed FSU to go back in front, an RBI bunt single by Marzan doubled the lead to 3-1. FSU added a run in the third. Alicea doubled to start the frame before coming home two batters later on a groundout by Eric Mangham.
The Hurricanes answered with two runs in the fourth. Dulom tripled home a run before a Frank Dominguez RBI groundout made it a 4-3 game.
That would cap the scoring as Little settled in to work four straight scoreless innings. Miami would not have a runner reach scoring position for the remainder of the contest.
After walking Mike Fiore to start the ninth, Little was replaced by Richie Lewis. Lewis had worked five scoreless innings of relief the day prior against Oklahoma State and picked up right where he left off.
Lewis started his outing by striking out Greg Ellena looking. Fiore tried to steal second to reach scoring position, but was gunned by FSU catcher Ed Fulton. Lewis struck out Chris Howard swinging to end the contest.
Miami managed just five hits in the loss while FSU finished with seven hits. Marzan had the only multi-hit game of the day, going 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored.
FSU would lose to Arizona for the national championship the following day, 10-2. What the Seminoles could take pride in however, was ending the season of one of their most bitter rivals on college baseball’s biggest stage. They did so on this day 35 years ago.