‘Noles Still In Disbelief Over Rout

FAYETTEVILLE — Florida State center fielder Tyler Holt tried not to pay attention to all the notoriety that came with the win. But he heard all about it from his teammates.

"It was exciting," Holt said. "But it was so surreal."

FSU coach Mike Martin, meanwhile, couldn't help but feel guilty at the time. He has been a part of some lopsided games over his 30-year run with the Seminoles, but never anything like what happened to Ohio State last Sunday.

For nearly four hours, FSU's batters crushed 15 doubles, amassed 38 hits and drove in so many runs in the final game of the Tallahassee Regional that Bobby Bowden would have been pleased with the score.

The Seminoles led 20-0 in the third inning, 32-0 before the Buckeyes scored their first run in the fifth, and by the time the 37-6 rout was over, Martin was ready for it end.

For the Buckeyes' sake.

"When it got ridiculous, I honestly didn't know what to do except to play the game that I love with respect when deep down I was hoping we'd make some outs," Martin said. "We couldn't make an out.

"Every ball we hit was out of their reach, every mistake (the Buckeyes) made cost them. It was one of those days that you will not go through probably ever again."

FSU's win was so lopsided that, even with the NBA Finals and the Stanley Cup about to begin, ESPN made time on SportsCenter to discuss the Seminoles. The game was also debated on ESPN's Around the Horn and Pardon the Interruption.

But it wasn't that long ago that the Seminoles (45-16) weren't sure if they'd qualify for the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament, let alone get on national TV and earn the right to host Arkansas (37-22) in this week's Super Regional in Tallahassee.

The best-of-three series begins at 11 a.m. today in Dick Howser Stadium, with the winner advancing to the College World Series in Omaha, Neb.

Despite entering the season with the goal of returning to the College World Series after last year's trip, the Seminoles stumbled to a 9-7 start and had some chemistry problems in the clubhouse that needed to be addressed.

"I don't think everybody was on the same page with everybody else," said freshman Sean Gilmartin (12-3, 3.48 ERA), who'll take the mound for FSU in today's opening game. "Some guys were off doing their own thing."

Said Holt: "A lot of guys started to get down and the team started thinking, ‘Hey, maybe this isn't a great year.'"

In an attempt to shake things up, Martin made several changes to his infield and took two of his pitchers out of the rotation and moved them to the bullpen. The turning point came after the Seminoles did some much-needed soul-searching during a team meeting in March.

FSU has won 18 consecutive home games — the nation's longest active streak — and outscored its opponents 61-12 in last week's regional.

"The players instead of feeling sorry for themselves came out swinging and have developed literally on a daily basis. How good we are? I really don't know," said Martin, who's looking for his 14th College World Series appearance and first national title. "I know that I've never enjoyed coaching a group more than I have this group."

After all, what's not fun about a 31-run win?

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