Texas Tech

Texas Tech's Brian Klein is greeted after hitting a home run against Florida State.

Texas Tech took care of business to advance to the Bracket 1 championship round at the College World Series. The Red Raiders then graciously stepped aside to let a retiring baseball legend have his moment.

Florida State coach Mike Martin’s historic career came to a close with a 4-1 loss in an elimination game at TD Ameritrade Park on Wednesday. The 75-year-old walks away with a record 2,029 career victories.

Martin’s final team, which made an improbable run to advance to Omaha after being one of the last entrants in the NCAA tournament, scored only two total runs during its three-game stay at the CWS.

Texas Tech pitchers Bryce Bonnin and Taylor Floyd limited the Seminoles to three hits and combined to strike out 15 FSU batters as the Red Raiders (46-19) advanced to meet unbeaten Michigan again Friday.

“Those guys threw the ball awful well, kind of gave us an opportunity to hang around and score some runs and play good baseball,” Texas Tech coach Tim Tadlock said. “In the back of your mind, obviously, you’re thinking about 11 (Martin’s jersey number) a little bit, and all the respect in the world for him.”

Florida State (42-23) closed out its 40th and final season under Martin with back-to-back losses that followed a seven-game winning streak. The Seminoles made 17 CWS appearances under their coach.

Texas Tech second baseman Brian Klein, who had only one home run all season prior to the CWS, drove in the go-ahead run with a solo blast off Conor Grady in the sixth. It was his second home run in Omaha.

“I have no idea where the home runs started to come from. Today, it happened that it gave us a really big run, and I’m super thankful for it,” Klein said. “To be able put a barrel on the ball and get it out is an awesome feeling.”

The Red Raiders jumped on top in the fourth inning when Cameron Warren singled in Dylan Neuse, who had opened that frame with a base hit. Florida State got the run back in the bottom half without a hit.

Bonnin walked Robby Martin, then hit Matheu Nelson with a pitch. After Carter Smith advanced them with a sacrifice bunt, Red Raider catcher Braxton Fulford threw a pick-off attempt wide of the bag at second base. The ball ended up in center field on the play, allowing Martin to score the tying run.

Klein’s homer led off the sixth and chased Grady (9-6) from the game. It made a winner out of Bonnin (7-1), who struck out seven, allowed only two hits and walked four men while laboring through five innings.

Floyd walked four, but surrendered only one hit, and struck out eight while earning a four-inning save.

“Everything felt good tonight,” Floyd said. “I think I was walking some people in some situations, not making pitches earlier in the inning. But just staying with it and being able to bear down with runners on base, I think that was most important.”

The Red Raiders put the game out of reach by scoring twice in the eighth. First-round draft pick Josh Jung singled in a run to extend the lead to 3-1. FSU reliever Antonio Velez walked in another after that.

Mike Martin

Florida State closed out its 40th and final season under coach Mike Martin with back-to-back losses that followed a seven-game winning streak. "In the back of your mind, obviously, you're thinking about 11 (Martin's jersey number) a little bit, and all the respect in the world for him," Texas Tech coach Tim Tadlock said.

Florida State, which matched the all-time low three-game total for a CWS team with two runs, stranded 10 runners in Martin’s finale. It left two on in scoring position in the fifth with Bonnin on the mound.

Martin left his final CWS with 40 consecutive 40-win seasons, 40 NCAA tournament appearances and no national championships. In a break from the usual protocol, the winning team appeared at the press conference first after the game. That let the all-time wins leader in all of college sports have the stage.

“Just know that I can fake a smile with the best of them,” Martin said. “And I’ll get through this, the rest of this night, with a smile because I got to watch young men grow up. I got to work for Florida State for 45 years. And I’ll never forget the times that I’ve had out here in Omaha.”


Play of the game

It was already a three-run game at this point, but Dylan Neuse’s fantastic catch in the bottom of the eighth inning may live on in the CWS highlight reels. The Texas Tech center fielder, on a full sprint, dived in the right-center gap to rob Florida State first baseman Carter Smith of extra bases.

Star of the game

Brian Klein had one home run all season before arriving in Omaha. Texas Tech’s second baseman launched his second of the College World Series to break a 1-1 tie in the sixth inning.

Defining moment

The victory belonged to Texas Tech, but Wednesday night belonged to retiring Florida State coach Mike Martin. As the Red Raiders left the field, No. 11 turned to the TD Ameritrade Park crowd, waved and tipped his cap before a television interview. He then did it again as he walked away.

Key decision

Tech catcher Braxton Fulford attempted to throw behind a runner at second base when Florida State had two men in scoring position in the fourth. The ball sailed wide of the bag and ended up in center field. The Seminoles, who had scored only one previous CWS run, tied it 1-1.

Quirky moment

It seemed like Red Raiders star outfielder Gabe Holt would be on the shelf for the entire CWS after breaking his thumb in a super regional game. But two days after coach Tim Tadlock said it would take a miracle to get him back, the leadoff hitter was in the batter’s box to start the game.

Our take

It’s never easy to watch a legend walk away from the game. And few have ever been as humble in victory, as gracious in defeat and as classy on and off the field as Florida State’s Martin. Omaha should be grateful to have had 17 CWS events with 11 and thrilled he was here for a final one.

They said it

Texas Tech coach Tim Tadlock on retiring Florida State coach Mike Martin: “You think what he’s done for the state of college baseball. It’s not all about Florida State; he wanted to leave the game better than when he found it. He’s definitely done that.”

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