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Florida State crushes Georgia 10-1, advances to Super Regionals

(AP Photo/Gary McCullough)

Playing like a team possessed, Florida State (39-21) annihilated host and top-seeded Georgia 10-1 to capture the Athens Regional on Sunday and advance to next week’s Super Regionals.

The Seminoles were virtually unstoppable in the regional, tallying 35 runs on 45 hits in their three games in Athens.

Trouncing top-seeded Georgia 12-3 on Saturday night, FSU picked up where it left off on Sunday evening when Reese Albert drilled a two-run homer — his second blast in the regional and seventh on the season — over the leftfield wall in the top of the first inning to give the Seminoles an early 2-0 lead.

That’s really all FSU needed as Conor Grady (9-5), a right-handed sophomore from Tampa, hurled what has been described as the best pitching performance of his collegiate career, limiting Georgia’s potent offense to one run on six hits in seven innings on the mound.

Georgia’s only offensive thrust came on a Tucker Maxwell solo home run to right field in the bottom of the sixth to cut Florida State’s bulging lead to 9-1.

Seventh-ranked Georgia, which won 28 of 31 home games at Foley Field during the regular season, finished the year with an overall record of 45-17.

FSU’s Mike Salvatore, who was 2-for-3 on Sunday with a couple of RBIs, was named the regional’s Most Valuable Player. The senior shortstop from Ewing, New Jersey, had nine hits in Athens, including a home run and double while driving in four runs.

Head coach Mike Martin, who is retiring at the end of this season after 40 years at the helm, couldn’t have been happier about his team’s performance in Athens.

“To say I am happy is an understatement,” said the 75-year-old skipper in a post-game press conference. “I can’t say enough about the atmosphere in our dugout. The guys that were not playing… you could not find one single guy that you could say that he hasn’t played the entire tournament. That is the kind of men we have. We will battle you, we will compete and the guys up here know that the guys on the bench are pulling hard for them…They are Seminoles. They play their hearts out even though they never put on a glove. That is what we get out of coaching, is seeing a team come together.”

Florida State will travel to Baton Rouge to take on LSU, a 6-4 winner over Southern Miss late Sunday, in next week’s Super Regional.

This will be FSU’s 17th appearance in a Super Regional since 1999, the most of any team under the current NCAA format.

Darcy G. Richardson is a historian and the author of more than a dozen books. His latest is Loyola's Improbable Ramblers: 55 Years in the Making, available now on Amazon.

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