Texas Tech’s CWS win sends FSU’s Martin into retirement
Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 20, 2019
By ERIC OLSON AP Sports Writer
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Brian Klein hit the tiebreaking home run for Texas Tech, and the Red Raiders beat Florida State 4-1 at the College World Series on Wednesday night to close the 40-year coaching career of NCAA all-time wins leader Mike Martin.
Klein’s homer, his second of the CWS and third of the season, came in the sixth inning and stood up because of the Seminoles’ inability to find a spark on offense.
Tech (46-19) won a second game at the CWS for the first time in its four appearances.
FSU (42-23) had no trouble scoring while sweeping through a regional in Athens, Georgia, and a super regional at Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to earn Martin his 17th trip to the CWS. The Seminoles beat Arkansas 1-0 here Saturday, but lost 2-0 to Michigan before the Red Raiders eliminated them.
Martin heads into retirement with 2,029 career wins — most by any coach in any college sport — but no national championships. Each of his 40 teams won at least 40 games and played in the NCAA Tournament.
When Taylor Floyd struck out Reese Albert to end the game, Martin came out of the dugout, took off his glasses and strode across the field to shake hands with Tech coach Tim Tadlock.
“This is where you want it all to end,” Martin said.
Martin’s last team was one of the final squads awarded at-large bids to the 64-team national tournament after struggling for stretches of the regular season.
“Who would have ever thought six weeks ago that we would even get to Omaha?” Martin said. “The young men are disappointed now. What they accomplished will not go unnoticed — to get to Omaha and have an opportunity.”
The Seminoles batted .124 in Omaha (11 of 89) and their two runs in three games tied a CWS record low. Their 0-for-17 batting with runners in scoring position was the lowest by a team in at least 20 years, according to ESPN.
Cameron Warren put Tech up 1-0 in the fourth when he chopped a grounder past diving third baseman Drew Mendoza, allowing Dylan Neuse to score from second.
The Seminoles’ only run came in the bottom half thanks to Tech mistakes. Bryce Bonnin (7-1) walked Robby Martin on four pitches and hit Matheu Nelson in the bill of his batting helmet. The runners moved over on a bunt, and Martin came home when catcher Braxton Fulford threw into center field trying to pick off Nelson at second.
The Red Raiders went ahead for good when Klein lofted an off-speed pitch from Conor Grady (9-6) into the right-center bleachers for his ninth homer in 150 career games.
Chase Haney pitched two shutout innings in relief of Grady, and then Martin went to J.C. Flowers. Texas Tech pounced on the star closer, who didn’t record an out and gave up three singles, with Klein reaching on a dropped third strike.
Flowers left with the bases loaded, and it was 4-1 when Antonio Velez walked in a run.
The Seminoles had at least one runner on base each inning and looked like they might get something going in the eighth when, with a man aboard, Carter Smith sent a drive into the right center gap. But center fielder Dylan Neuse laid out to make the catch.
Taylor Floyd pitched one-hit shutout relief over the last four innings for his fifth save.
Texas Tech plays Friday against Michigan. The Red Raiders would have to beat the Wolverines on Friday and again Saturday to reach the best-of-three finals next week.