CWS Insider: Seminoles gearing up to face another SEC power in Arkansas
The way the bracket was set up, Florida State knew it was going to play another SEC team in the first game of the College World Series.
After beating LSU 5-4 in extra innings on Sunday night, the Seminoles knew their next opponent would be the winner of Monday's Ole Miss-Arkansas game in Fayetteville, Ark.
Arkansas didn't just win that game. The Razorbacks, who were the No. 5 overall national seed, clobbered the Rebels 14-1 to advance to the College World Series for the 10th time in program history (the Razorbacks came within one out of winning the national championship a year ago).
So a Florida State team that has already knocked off national seed Georgia in Athens and perennial power LSU in Baton Rouge now must face another talented squad from the Southeastern Conference.
Why not, right?
"I think we played in the toughest environment in college baseball (at LSU)," junior third baseman Drew Mendoza said on Tuesday. "Against one of the best opponents in college baseball as well. So regardless of conference, anyone in Omaha is there for a reason. So any team is going to be a challenge."
The Razorbacks certainly appear to be that. Despite having to replace six starters off last year's national runner-up team, they have won 46 games in 2019.
They have a legitimate ace on the mound in second-round pick Isaiah Campbell (12-1 record, 2.26 ERA, 115 strikeouts in 111.1 innings pitched) and an offense that has five players batting over .300 and five players with at least 10 home runs.
So Game 1 won't be easy for the Seminoles. Not that anything in Omaha is supposed to be.
"We certainly know there''ll be a huge contingent of followers of Arkansas baseball," FSU coach Mike Martin said. "And I wouldn't be surprised if the noise will be similar to what we just experienced at Georgia and LSU. You're talking about two very, very good baseball programs with great followings. And Arkansas is a team that is at least on a level with LSU when it comes to support."
Florida State fans have been strong in their support as well. Even though the Seminoles have been on the road each of the last two weeks, hundreds of FSU faithful have turned out for every game in Martin's final postseason.
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