college baseball

Are Florida's College Baseball Powers in Trouble After Early Postseason Exits?

It's the first season since 2014 that none of the three power programs in the Sunshine State - Miami, FSU and Florida - advanced out of the first round

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Next weekend, eight college baseball programs will meet in Omaha, Nebraska for the annual College World Series - and for the first time since 2014, a team from the state of Florida will not be among that group.

It gets even sadder if you're a fan of the Miami Hurricanes, FSU Seminoles or Florida Gators as this postseason was also the first since 2014 that none of the three power programs advanced out of the first round.

The only Florida school to make it to what's known as the Super Regional round? The USF Bulls, who were two games under .500 after the regular season before winning the Gainesville regional - including having victories over both UF and UM.

For the 'Canes, a program with the most national titles (four) and CWS appearances (25) in the state, the outcome was especially disappointing for third year head coach Gino DiMare. Miami finished the regular season winning eight of its last 10 games before going 1-4 in the postseason and being outscored 26-10.

Disappointing, but not surprising according to the coach.

"We weren't playing good enough baseball to play at the level that you need to at this time of the year," said the former UM player, who won two national titles as an assistant coach. "It didn't just happen overnight. We were inconsistent most of the year."

DiMare brought the Hurricanes back to the postseason in the last two NCAA tournaments after Miami was left out in 2017 and 2018. Even with a 88-45 overall record, the head Cane knows that the seat is getting warmer for him - particularly with a combined 5-11 record against his two in-state rivals.

"(The) responsibility's on me to make sure that this program...this is not where I want it to be," DiMare said about a 'Canes team that has not won the national title since 2001. "It's not even close to where this program should be and where I expect it to be."

The pressure is not just being felt in Coral Gables. In Gainesville, the Florida Gators are trying to figure out what happened after becoming the first national seed to be eliminated - losing 19-1 to South Alabama in the worst postseason loss under head coach Kevin O'Sullivan.

"Obviously, there were some ups and downs," O'Sullivan said to the Gainesville Sun after the loss. "Maybe we could have done a better job handling the expectations early on than we did, and that falls on me."

UF is the most recent college baseball national champion in the state, bringing home the crown in 2017. Still, expectations being higher than ever could have O'Sullivan looking for a way out with some saying he could be a leading candidate for the job at LSU.

In Tallahassee, the FSU Seminoles didn't even get a chance to underachieve in Omaha this season (with 23 appearances without a title being the most in NCAA history) after being eliminated in the regional round for the second time in the last three tournaments.

Head coach Mike Martin Jr. caught some flack after replacing his father, Mike Sr., following 40 seasons leading the 'Noles. Even after going 5-1 against Miami and Florida this season, the 26-23 record against everyone else could have that clack getting louder - especially with the coaches at ACC schools Notre Dame and Pitt being FSU alums that might like a shot at leading the 'Noles.

A combined 61 CWS appearances, 12 championship appearances and four national titles - all numbers that make what took place in 2021 unacceptable no matter if you're wearing orange and green, garnet and gold or orange and blue.

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