Originally posted on Fox Sports Florida  |  Last updated 6/2/13
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. Consider the doubts erased. After going 0-3 in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament, there were certainly questions about the Florida State baseball team. Would the starting pitching be able to carry the Seminoles? Would the bullpen be able to finish off games after giving up three leads late in Durham, N.C.? Would Florida States bats provide enough pop if the pitching staff struggled? Consider the questions asked to be answered with a resounding, Yes. Florida State completed a dominating run in the Tallahassee regional by pulling away from Troy with a seven-run fourth inning, punctuated by Brett Kniefs grand slam, to take an 11-4 victory on Sunday night. The Seminoles have now won 19 straight regional games and will play in the Super Regional round for the sixth straight season, the longest streak in the nation. We count it almost as a second season, Florida State junior catcher Stephen McGee said. As soon as we get to the playoff, its almost like were starting new. We go out there with a whole new determination. We go out there just fighting. The Seminoles (47-15) will now play host to the Indiana-Austin Peay winner in a Super Regional in Tallahassee next weekend. Dates and times will be determined by the NCAA on Monday. And Florida State is just two wins from another trip to the College World Series, which would be No. 22 for the program. The Seminoles are in this position in 2013 because of strong pitching from the starters and relievers, as well as plenty of offense. Senior right-hander Scott Sitz allowed seven hits on Friday night but still pitched 7 13 scoreless innings. Sophomore right-hander Luke Weaver followed him with an eight-inning shutout on Saturday in which he had a career-high 14 strikeouts. On Sunday, sophomore left-hander Brandon Leibrandt struggled, allowing four runs in five choppy innings. But Florida States relievers shut the door the rest of the way. In the three games this weekend, the bullpen threw 6 23 shutout innings. To do what we did (on the mound) is an accomplishment, Florida State coach Mike Martin said. The runs kept on coming in this regional, too. Florida State scored 10 runs Friday, 11 runs Saturday and added 11 more Sunday. Im just pleased with the way that we are continuing to fight to get on base, Martin said. Sure, Savannah State and Troy arent the best of the college baseball world, but Florida States locker room sure feels more confident after the regional than it did a week ago at the ACC tournament. The Seminoles had a combined 35 hits in the three regional games, not bad for a lineup that lacks even a first-team All-ACC pick. There is no J.D. Drew in the middle of the order. But flip the letters, and Florida State has a freshman in DJ Stewart who is turning heads. Stewart was 7 for 11 with a home run, double and five RBI and has been one of the key players in the last month for the Seminoles. And junior-college transfer Marcus Davis was 4 for 12 with three doubles and six RBI in the regional. The strength of the lineup isnt that its strong top to bottom. Its that each night, one player comes through with a timely hit. If its Florida State baseball, there will always be doubts. And there have been plenty all year. Florida State lost its No. 2 pitcher, Mike Compton, before the season to Tommy John surgery. The only returning infielder, shortstop Justin Gonzalez, was forced to have hip surgery in March. And leadoff hitter Josh Delph missed nearly two months with meningoencephalitis. But through it all, theyve remained focus on the goals: succeeding in the postseason and reaching Omaha. And now, the Seminoles are just two wins away from the College World Series.
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