1. Sports
  2. /
  3. Florida State Seminoles

FSU wins on walkoff in 12th, gives Mike Martin one last trip to College World Series

The Seminoles ride the stellar relief of former Brandon High pitcher Antonio Velez to set up Drew Mendoza’s two-out, run-scoring single in the 12th.
Florida State celebrates its walkoff win against LSU, 5-4 in 12 innings, in Baton Rouge, La., on Sunday, June 9, 2019, putting the Seminoles in the College World Series. [GERALD HERBERT | Associated Press]
Published Jun. 10
Updated Jun. 10

BATON ROUGE, La. — Florida State’s 75-year-old head coach, Mike Martin, was in pain and enjoying every moment of it.

A celebratory bear hug from trainer Brandon Stone felt like it “had broken five of my ribs,” said Martin, who’ll finish his 40th and likely final season at the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska.

Drew Mendoza’s two-out hit to right center drove home Mike Salvatore from second base in the bottom of the 12th inning, lifting Florida State to a 5-4 victory over LSU that gave the Seminoles a sweep of the best-of-three Baton Rouge NCAA super regional on Sunday night.

“I ain’t going to get all teary eyed, but I wanted this so bad for our young men,” said Martin, who has insisted he’ll retire after this season. If so, he’ll conclude his career with his 17th trip to the College World Series as a head coach.

LSU (40-26) had rallied from a 4-1 deficit in the sixth to tie it in the eighth. Tigers reliever Devin Fontenot (5-4) pitched six no-hit innings and struck out 10 before Salvatore broke through for Florida State’s first hit since the fourth inning. Salvatore advanced to second on a passed ball and, after Fontenot recorded his 11th strikeout against Reese Albert, LSU elected to pitch to Mendoza — one of the Seminoles’ most productive hitters — with first base open.

LSU coach Paul Mainieri said he preferred to pitch to Mendoza over the following batter, Jefferson High’s Robby Martin, who came in with a team-leading .338 batting average.

But Mendoza delivered with his second hit of the game, the Seminoles (41-21) spilled onto the field and Stone exuberantly wrapped his arms around Mike Martin.

“He hugged me and I’m saying, ‘That’s what this is all about,’” Martin said. “Those are things you just will never forget. This night will be etched in stone with me for the rest of my life.”

Florida State reliever Antonio Velez (5-2), who graduated from Brandon, pitched 4 2/3 shutout innings in relief and struck out six to pick up his second win of the best-of-three Baton Rouge super regional after his inning of relief earned him the Game 1 win a day earlier.

“It was a huge, huge situation for him to show what he’s all about,” Martin said. “He has proven that no situation is too big for him. He doesn’t care if you put him in thee bases loaded on a 2-0 count.”

Martin also praised Fontenot, calling him “a warrior.”

The Tigers ran themselves out of potential run-scoring chances twice in the game. Giovanni DiGiacomo was picked off of third by catcher Matheu Nelson (Calvary Christian) with one out and the tying runners in scoring position in a 4-2 game in the sixth. After Zach Watson delivered a game-tying, one-out single in the eighth, he was cut down trying to take second on the throw back to the infield, and LSU wound up stranding a runner at third.

“Major leaguers are not perfect; certainly college kids are not perfect,” Mainieri said. “You can analyze the game however you want and say this play factored in or this play factored in. That is what happens in sports.”

Salvatore produced three hits and drove in a run before scoring the game-winner.

Antoine Duplantis, who last week became LSU’s all-time hits leader, had four hits in his final college game and drove in three runs, including a home run down the right field line that cut LSU’s deficit to 3-1 in the fourth.

Florida State scored the game’s first run on a disputed play in which the ball squirted out of LSU catcher Saul Garza’s glove as he swung his arm upward after appearing to tag Martin out at the plate. Umpire Tony Norris initially called Martin out, but the call was reversed after he consulted the rest of the umpiring crew and reviewed video replay.

The Seminoles capitalized further by scoring twice more in the frame on singles by Nelson and Salvatore.

Florida State made it 4-1 in the fourth when Tim Becker’s double over third base drove in Nelson, who’d advanced to second on a wild pitch.

Duplantis singled in a run in the sixth and LSU tied it in the eighth with a rally that opened with Josh Smith’s double, followed by Duplantis’ double that scored Smith and drove starter CJ Van Eyk (Steinbrenner) from the game. Watson drove in Duplantis to make it 4-4.

“I don’t think this team ever quit,” Duplantis said. “I don’t think any of us should have any regrets."


  1. Florida State interim head coach Odell Haggins shouts direction in a game against Alabama State last weekend in Tallahassee. Florida State won 49-12. MARK WALLHEISER  |  AP
    Joey Knight and Matt Baker debate the candidacy of longtime Seminoles assistant Odell Haggins.
  2. Florida State head coach Willie Taggart leaves after the loss to on Nov. 2 in Tallahassee. Florida fired Taggart the next day. PHIL SEARS  |  AP
    The lesson from the Willie Taggart debacle isn’t to avoid golden parachutes. It’s to learn how to make the exits happen.
  3. Florida State Seminoles running back Cam Akers (3) runs the ball down the field in the second quarter against the Florida Gators at Doak Campbell Stadium at Florida State University in Tallahassee on Saturday, November 24, 2018. BRONTE WITTPENN  | TIMES  |  TAMPA BAY TIMES
    How healthy will Cam Akers be? What about Jabari Zuniga?
  4. Florida State interim head coach Odell Haggins celebrates his team's 49-12 victory over Alabama State in Tallahassee. MARK WALLHEISER  |  AP
    It was hard to ignore the love for the Seminoles’ interim coach after Saturday’s win.
  5. Florida State defensive back Hamsah Nasirildeen tackles Alabama State wide receiver Tyrek Allen in the second half of an NCAA college football game in Tallahassee. Florida State defeated Alabama State 49-12. MARK WALLHEISER  |  AP
    The Seminoles rout the Hornets on senior day.
  6. Former Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops stands on the field watching the celebration after Oklahoma's win in the Big 12 Conference championship NCAA college football game against TCU on Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez) TONY GUTIERREZ  |  AP
    Mike Norvell and Matt Campbell are among the names you’ll keep hearing in connection with the Seminoles’ search.
  7. Florida State interim head coach Odell Haggins is doused after his team beat Boston College last weekend on the road. BILL SIKES  |  AP
    Plus some growth at USF and some stunning, scary stats on Florida’s opponent, Missouri.
  8. A Florida Gator fans yells during the first half of the Nov. 2 game against Georgia in Jacksonville. The Gators travel to Columbia, Mo. for a noon Saturday game against Missouri. JOHN RAOUX  |  AP
    Here are our picks for this week’s top college football games, including Florida-Missouri, USF-Cincinnati and Florida State-Alabama State.
  9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Vernon III Hargreaves kneels in the end zone after the Seattle Seahawks defeated his team in overtime in an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 3, 2019, in Seattle. (AP Photo/John Froschauer) JOHN FROSCHAUER  |  AP
    Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: It’s a mailbag episode, with answers on Jameis Winston’s future, Lavonte David’s season, Mike Evans’ plight, Kevin Cash’s third-place finish and Charlie Strong’s job...
  10. Florida State head coach Willie Taggart, right, disagrees with the referee in the first half of his final game with the Seminoles, Nov. 2 against Miami in Tallahassee. MARK WALLHEISER  |  AP
    There are reasons to think quick hooks and mid-season dismissals are the new norm.