Florida State second baseman Marshall McDougall didn't have a special feeling when he and his teammates arrived at Maryland for an afternoon game on May 9, 1999.
There was no stiff wind in College Park that day to carry a ball lofted into the air even farther than usual. Nor did the ball appear to be the size of a grapefruit during batting practice. Heck, the Seminoles didn't even take BP.
"It was just a show-and-go day," he said.
Some show, as it turned out, as fans saw McDougall go for history.
He hit six home runs, drove in 16 runs and had 25 total bases, all NCAA Division I records that still stand on this, the 10th anniversary, of his Roy Hobbs-like performance in an otherwise forgettable 26-2 win.
"It's one of those things that it kind of overshadowed everything I did there," said McDougall, 30, a Valrico native who resides in Wesley Chapel with wife Melissa and sons Mason and Maddox when he's not playing in the Mexican League. He was drafted in the ninth round by the A's in 2000 and made it to the majors in 2005 with the Rangers, playing 18 games. He had an injury-plagued 2008 season in the Padres organization and had left knee injury.
"You want to be remembered for a lot more than one game," he said, "but you can't be too upset. It's better to be remembered for something good than something bad."
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McDougall, batting second, singled in the first inning as the Seminoles took a 2-0 lead. After the Terrapins tied it in the home half of the first, McDougall hit a solo homer for a 3-2 lead in the second. He followed with a three-run homer in the fourth, a two-run shot in the sixth and another three-run homer in the seventh.
"That's when I said, 'Holy smoke! He's got a chance to hit again to hit five,' " FSU coach Mike Martin said, adding he would have substituted for McDougall but had no one left to play second.
Some wonder why the Terps continued to pitch to him? Well, consider the lineup surrounding him, McDougall said then and now. There were future major-leaguers including John-Ford Griffin, Matt Diaz (a one-time Rays prospect) and Kevin Cash.
"It was just one of those games when everything fell into place," McDougall said. "We had guys come through with big hits, and they made a few mistakes (five walks, three hit batters, two errors) that kept innings alive."
In the eighth, he hit a grand slam. He ended the day with a third three-run homer in the ninth to go 7-for-7 and break the record of five homers set by Campbell's Henry Rochelle against Radford on March 30, 1985.
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The dimensions at Maryland's Shipley Field are 320 feet down the leftfield line, 325 down the rightfield line and a relatively short 380 to centerfield. FSU's Dick Howser Stadium, by comparison, is 400 feet to center.
"It is a good hitter's park," McDougall said. "I always say that there were four good ones and two cheap ones, but the guys who back me say there's no such thing as a cheap home run. If it leaves, it leaves. It still counts."
Oh yeah. No one else has managed to hit six homers there — or anywhere else — in a game.
And again, it's not like those were his only ones.
He finished the year with 28 to go with 104 runs scored, 126 hits and 106 RBIs. All are still among the top five in FSU history. He was the ACC player of the year, a consensus All-American and the most outstanding player at the College World Series, even though the 'Noles lost in the title game to Miami.
"I don't remember Marshall McDougall strictly for those six home runs," Martin said. "He was one of the best players who ever played here. He just gave me a memory that day that I treasure and I'll never forget."
Talk about your special feeling.
Brian Landman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 226-3347.