No. 8 Florida State and Florida could be on collision course for College World Series title

Can it happen?

Will it happen?

A first-ever Florida State vs. Florida championship round in the College World Series?

Not everyone wants to see it happen, however.

“This (FSU) team has shown no quit all season, no matter the situation,” said former FSU pitcher Chris Chavez, an All-American for the Seminoles during their national runner-up finish in 1999.

“But I have to say, I don’t want to see the Gators win another game regardless of how great it would be to beat them for a Natty.”

The rivals last met in Omaha, Nebraska, 14 years ago, when FSU eliminated UF 8-5 in a losers’ bracket game. The Gators, however, are 3-1 against the Seminoles at the CWS since they first tangled in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1991.

UF won the program’s first and only national title in 2017; the Seminoles are still searching for their first championship in 24 CWS appearances.

While a Sunshine State showdown in the CWS this weekend remains a longshot, this much is certain:

The Seminoles must traverse a Southeastern Conference gauntlet if they want to win the CWS.

Cole Figueroa, a former infielder at Florida and Lincoln High, said it has been exciting to see both the Gators and Seminoles advance in the CWS.

“The Gators offense has really looked strong during this run and what (Jac) Caglianone is doing is pretty incredible,” said Figueroa, director of baseball operations for the Tampa Bay Rays.

Figueroa, whose father played at FSU, pointed to the “fun banter“ between his friends and family in Tallahassee if both teams made it into to the finals.

“Link (Jarrett, FSU coach) and Sully (UF coach Kevin O’Sullivan) have done fantastic jobs dealing with the adversity of the season and putting the guys in a great spot,” Figueroa said.

More: Tennessee baseball announces starting pitcher vs Florida State in College World Series

No. 8 FSU gets its rematch vs No. 1 Tennessee Wednesday

Four of the remaining five teams in the 2024 NCAA Division I baseball tournament are from the SEC – No. 1 Tennessee, No. 2 Kentucky, No. 3 Texas A&M and Florida.

In Bracket 1, No. 8 FSU eliminated No 4 and fellow ACC member North Carolina 9-5 Tuesday to earn rematch against Tennessee Wednesday at 3 p.m. in the semifinals.

The Seminoles must beat the undefeated Vols twice, Wednesday and again Thursday, to advance to the best-of-three series final starting Saturday night.

Meanwhile, in Bracket 2, the Gators must do their part Wednesday from the losers’ bracket.

They meet Kentucky in an elimination game at 11 a.m., with that winner advancing to Wednesday night’s semifinal against Texas A&M. If it's the Gators, they must beat the Aggies twice, Wednesday and Thursday, to advance to the weekend.

UF is 7-1 in its last eight games facing elimination.

However it plays out, the Seminoles continue to impress.

After squandering a three-run lead and losing to Tennessee 12-11 in the bottom of the ninth Friday, they have staved off elimination with wins over Virginia Sunday and UNC Tuesday.

FSU has won two games at the CWS for the first time since 2012. It is 7-1 in the NCAA postseason and has scored 27 runs in three CWS games. The Seminoles (49-16) also continue their nation’s-best turnaround from a year ago and have now won 26 more games than the 2023 season.

"Super proud how it seems it's someone new stepping up in the lineup every game," Chavez said.

FSU scores early and adds insurance runs on back-to-back home runs in ninth inning in victory over North Carolina

Jun 18, 2024; Omaha, NE, USA; Florida State Seminoles catcher Jaxson West (20) celebrates after hitting a home run against the North Carolina Tar Heels during the ninth inning at Charles Schwab Field Omaha.
Jun 18, 2024; Omaha, NE, USA; Florida State Seminoles catcher Jaxson West (20) celebrates after hitting a home run against the North Carolina Tar Heels during the ninth inning at Charles Schwab Field Omaha.

FSU scored early and got big insurance runs in the ninth inning on back-to-back home runs from Jaxon West and Max Williams to beat UNC. West, from Chiles High and an Alabama transfer, finished with four hits from the No. 9 slot in the batting order.

FSU starter Andrew Armstrong was sensational in his first start since the ACC Tournament May 25th, throwing a season-best 4.1 innings. And reliever Connor Hults improved to 3-1 with 4.1 scoreless innings.

“You can tell these guys are absolutely playing for each other,” said former FSU pitcher Jimmy Marshall, a member of the 2008 Seminoles team that played in the CWS. “Grinding out at-bats, playing defense, running the bases, taking the walk and handing it over to the next guy and never giving anything away.”

Former FSU first baseman (2006-07) Brandon Reichert pointed out "the team's chemistry is constantly on display and it's contagious. From top to bottom, this team fights and looks like they're having a blast playing each game."

And what about potentially playing the Florida Gators for a national title?

"Would love to play them for the Natty," Reichert said.

Here's the CWS history between Florida and Florida State

Florida is making its 14th appearance in the CWS; FSU its 24th

UF is 13-4 vs FSU in the NCAA postseason

UF's games vs. Florida State in the CWS

  • 1991: Won 5-0

  • 1996: Won 5-2 and 6-3

  • 2010: Lost 8-5

UF vs FSU in NCAA postseason

  • 1958: NCAA District III Tournament, W 2-1

  • 1962: NCAA District III Tournament, W 1-0

  • 1979: East Regional, W 9-5

  • 1981 South Regional: L 5-1; W 5-4

  • 1988: East Regional: W 9-3

  • 2005: Super Regional W 8-1; W 8-5

  • 2008: Tallahassee Regional: L 17-11

  • 2015: Super Regional: W 13-5; W 11-4

  • 2016 Super Regional: L 3-0; W 5-0; W 7-0

This article originally appeared on Tallahassee Democrat: Could FSU, UF baseball teams collide in College World Series?

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