Photo courtesy of NoleFan.org
Unfortunately, the adage “close, but no cigar” could be used to describe Florida State’s baseball history.
The Seminoles have the most College World Series appearances without a national championship. They’ve reached the title game three times.
The first of those was clinched on this day 50 years ago. On June 17, 1970, FSU blasted Texas 11-2 to move to within one win of a national championship.
Setting the Stage
USC had already clinched its spot in the national championship game with an 8-7 win over Texas in 14 innings the day prior. To that point in Omaha, Texas had not only been the sole team to beat FSU, it was the only team to score against the Seminoles.
After shutout wins over Arizona and Dartmouth, the Seminoles were defeated by the Longhorns 5-1 on June 15. The next day, FSU blanked Ohio 2-0 to earn the rematch with Texas.
Throughout the day, the Longhorns proved to be no match.
Florida State wasted no time seizing control of the contest. The Seminoles scored five runs over the first three innings, headlined by a 3-run second.
Down 5-0, all the Texas offense came in the top of the fifth. Walt Rothe took FSU starter Gene Ammann deep for a 2-run home run.
The blast gave the Longhorns new life, but the Seminoles put the game away with six runs in the bottom of the seventh. FSU finished with 13 hits in the victory. Dick Nichols’ RBI triple in the third inning served as the lone extra-base hit for the Seminoles. They were able to take advantage of three Texas errors, leading to three unearned runs.
Outfielder Johnny Grubb led the hit parade for FSU, going a perfect 4-for-4 with two RBIs and a run scored. Harry Saferight finished 2-for-5 with four RBIs and a run scored in the victory.
Also adding two hits for FSU were Nichols, Doug Kasimier and Ammann. On the mound, Ammann went the distance, allowing the two runs on seven hits and four walks. He struck out seven in the victory.
Rothe provided all the offense for Texas. John Langerhahns had two of the seven hits for the Longhorns.
The victory put Florida State in the national championship game the following day. Unfortunately, FSU was outlasted by USC in 15 innings, 2-1.
The Trojans clinched the national title on a walk-off infield single by Frank Alfano.
FSU has been back just twice more since. It would be 16 years later before FSU returned to the national championship.
It’s been 21 years since the Seminoles were last national runners-up. FSU’s first-ever appearance in the title game was clinched on this day a half-century ago.