In the world of college baseball, there is one rivalry that may be above the rest to the point where you just need to say one word and three letters:
The in-state rivals, a duo that have combined for 20 ACC regular season and tournament championships along with 48 trips to the College World Series, will renew battle this weekend for a three-game series inside Mark Light Field.
“We’ve played them more than any other team in our history and I’m sure it’s the same for them,” said ‘Canes head coach Gino DiMare during a Zoom meeting Thursday with members of the media.
The Hurricanes and Seminoles have met 289 times to be exact, with the teams formerly playing at least six games a season - three in Coral Gables, three in Tallahassee - before Miami joined the ACC starting in the 2005 season.
DiMare went 12-12 against FSU as a player for the ‘Canes from 1982 to 1992. But his favorite memory may have been the biggest game in the series: as an assistant coach when Miami defeated the Seminoles 6-5 to win the College World Series in 1999.
“They won the first game against us in ’99, and we won the next six,” DiMare said of a seven-game stretch where five wins for the Hurricanes were by one run. “So, that kind of sums up our rivalry. They’re always good games, they’re always close games for the most part.”
Miami enters the weekend with a 9-4 record that includes six straight wins, highlighted by series victories over ACC members N.C. State and Wake Forest. FSU comes into the weekend with a 7-6 record with a series victory last weekend against Virginia Tech and a midweek win over No. 5 Florida.
The Seminoles will also bring in a roster with six players from Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties - but won’t be led by longtime head coach Mike Martin Sr., who retired after 2019 following 40 seasons with the program.
The teams didn’t meet in 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic shut down the season before the scheduled series. Protocols will keep many fans away this weekend, but rivalries will be renewed - even in the DiMare house as his brother, Scott, was a former wide receiver for the FSU football team in the 1980s.
“It’s hard not to think of (former UM head coach) Ron Fraser and Coach Martin,” DiMare said, mentioning the longtime leader of the ‘Canes who led them to two national titles and got his degree from FSU. “It’s the biggest rivalry in baseball, certainly during that era.”
Miami took two out of three games in their 2019 series with FSU, the first series victory the ‘Canes have had over the ‘Noles in Coral Gables since the 2009 season.