This is what awaits Arizona later this week -- TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha. Photo by Bruce Thorson-US PRESSWIRE
The Arizona Wildcats will play Florida State in their opening game of the College World Series, either Friday or Saturday.
The Seminoles (48-15) crushed Stanford in a sweep of a Super Regional in Tallahassee, winning 17-1 and 18-7 to advance to their third World Series in the past five years. FSU was the No. 3 overall seed in the postseason this year.
“They are obviously a great team. We just couldn’t stay with them,” Stanford coach Mark Marquess said in his postgame press conference Sunday. “They did a fantastic job. They’re a great team. … We didn’t slow them down at all.”
The game times and days are expected to be announced Monday night after the conclusion of all the Super Regional action. There will be two first-round games on Friday and two more on Saturday (start times both days are 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. Tucson time).
For Arizona fans who might be more familiar with the Women’s College World Series, there is a difference in how the double-elimination championship bracket is set up in baseball.
In softball, there is a crossover between the two sides of the bracket. In baseball, there is no crossover; it’s two four-team brackets in double elimination, with the winners of each side meeting in a three-game championship series. UCLA will play Stony Brook in the other half of the Arizona-FSU bracket.
Florida State coaching legend Mike Martin is in his 33rd season with the Seminoles, which means he has plenty of experience coaching against Arizona’s Andy Lopez, who was the head coach at Florida from 1995 to 2001.
Lopez was 13-15 against Florida State while serving at Florida, including a pair of games at the 1996 World Series. The Gators won both, reaching the semifinals in Lopez’s second season rebuilding the program.
“In all honesty, I don’t see how Andy Lopez did what he did in two years,” Martin was quoted in an AP story after being eliminated by Florida in 1996. “It’s unbelievable. That’s one of the major accomplishments in college baseball. And it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.”
Arizona is 6-5 all-time against Florida State, with the teams last meeting in 1991, when the Cats took two in a three-game series in Tucson.
The programs have met five times at the College World Series. The Cats won a pair of games against FSU at the 1986 CWS, taking the championship game 10-2.
Arizona also beat the ‘Noles en route to the 1980 title, winning 5-3 in an early elimination game.
Florida State won 4-0 in the opening game in the 1970 CWS. Arizona won the schools’ first-ever meeting 4-3 at the 1963 College World Series.