Fueled by emotion

Pitcher Matt Lynch developed into the Seminoles' ace this season, finishing with 13 victories. Following FSU's stinging Super Regional defeat to Notre Dame Monday, Lynch must now decide whether to turn professional or return to FSU next season. "Right now, it's tough to say," Lynch said Monday afternoon. "I got a lot of emotion going. Right now I want to come back. ... I've been there once (CWS) and I wanted to go back so bad."

Pitcher Matt Lynch was the first Florida State player to emerge from the dugout to shake the hands of Notre Dame players following the Irish's 3-1 victory Monday at Dick Howser Stadium. Lynch admitted the gesture was more out of anger than respect at that very moment.

"I was just upset," Lynch said.

"I wanted to get into the clubhouse. I didn't want to talk to anybody or anything. I just wanted to get it over with. I didn't think three runs would do it today after the first two days. But you can't do anything but tip your hat to Notre Dame. The environment didn't seem to bother them at all. They just came out and played well, and they are going to Omaha and we are staying here."

But is Lynch planning to remain at FSU following his selection in last week's major-league amateur draft?

While the Irish will be making their first appearance in the College World Series in 45 years, the Seminoles must begin work for next season. And one key is the left-handed Lynch, who developed into the team's ace at 13-2. Fellow junior Robby Read also was drafted and must decide whether to turn professional or return to FSU.

"Right now, it's tough to say," said Lynch, whose younger brother Kevin was a freshman reliever for the Seminoles this season.

"I got a lot of emotion going. Right now I want to come back. I want to come back to school. I have a bitter taste in my mouth. I've been there once (CWS) and I wanted to go back so bad. And I thought we were going to be able to do it this year. I thought wrong."

FSU's bats were slowed by freshman right-hander Chris Niesel, who allowed one run in eight innings. J.P. Gagne struck out the side in the ninth inning to pick up his second save in the best-of-3 super regional between two of the hottest teams in the country. FSU, which finished the season 60-14, came into the weekend against the Irish with a 25-game winning steak. Notre Dame (49-16) has won 31 of its last 35 as it heads for Omaha, Neb.

Niesel, whose father, Rudy Niesel, is a 1973 FSU graduate, lost his bid for a shutout in the eighth inning when Tony Richie singled home Bryan Zech, who had led off the inning with a double -- the game's only extra-base hit. Niesel avoided more trouble as he fanned Stephen Drew, got Ryan Barthelemy to pop up and watched left fielder Brain Stavisky make a sliding check in foul territory on Jarrod Brown's slicing liner to end the inning.

"Eighth inning we got something going but with two outs Stavisky made a good play in left field to end the inning," Lynch said. "It just kind of took the wind out of our sails that inning. Our big guys, Dirt (Stephen Drew), Bart (Ryan Barthelemy), both got out. In key situations you have to count on the guys who have taken you there all year but we just couldn't do it today."

The two teams combined for 31 runs and 55 hits in the first two games of the series, but pitching decided Game 3.

"If you would have said they would have gotten only three runs, I would have been happy," Lynch said. "We couldn't get anything going today. We couldn't get the hits. It happens. It's tough. Tomorrow is going to suck, just sitting around the house, knowing that you don't have to pack or do laundry. You are just stuck here. Like coach said, the sun is going to come up tomorrow and we just have to get ready for next year."


Nole Digest Top Stories