Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Capital Gains 'Noles Start CWS Drive at Howser

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Capital Gains 'Noles Start CWS Drive at Howser

Article excerpt

TALLAHASSEE -- Notorious late risers, baseball players have always bemoaned early workouts.

Count Mike Martin's Florida State team as the exception to that rule -- at least this week.

Nary a foul word was heard as the Seminoles limbered up early yesterday at Dick Howser Stadium, eager to put a five-week, 16-game road trip behind them.

Fresh off a disappointing third-place finish at the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament, the Seminoles turn their attention to a College World Series berth, which begins with Friday's regional opener against The Citadel.

"It was nice to stretch on our own field for a change," said FSU sophomore slugger Matt Diaz. "It's nice to be in our own park. Friday night it's going to be unrecognizable because it's going to be so packed, so loud, and we haven't been here for so long."

Yesterday's announcement of the 64-team NCAA field provided very few surprises for the Seminoles. FSU learned last week that it would play host -- for the 18th time -- to one of the 16 four-team regionals.

In its quest for a 17th trip to the College World Series, Florida State (48-12) makes its 22nd consecutive postseason appearance. It is the No. 2 seed nationally in the NCAA's revised and expanded playoff format. Miami, making its record 27th consecutive regional appearance, is the No. 1 seed.

Before the Seminoles can concern themselves with a return trip to Omaha, Neb., they must first get through a field of three conference champions at home -- No. 2 seed Providence (47-14, Big East), No. 3 seed Jacksonville (40-21, Trans America) and No. 4 seed The Citadel (41-18, Southern). FSU is a combined 4-0 this season against The Citadel and Jacksonville.

The 16 regional winners will advance to a second-round Super Regional -- a best-of-three series against another regional champion. Should the Seminoles advance, they will play the winner of the regional hosted by second seed Auburn, and including top seed Tulane.

Despite the new format, which allows coaches and players to look ahead to the Super Regional round, Martin's attention is focused on what he considers a formidable regional field. …

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