TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Florida State is heading back to the College World Series for the 20th time and the Seminoles hope a self-described "bunch of nobodies" can claim the school's first national baseball title.
There is J.D. Drew or Leesburg's Buster Posey to showcase in Omaha, Neb., when the Seminoles (47-18) open the tournament Saturday against a TCU (51-12) team that knocked off Texas in the Super Regionals to qualify for its first CWS appearance.
"This is honestly a bunch of nobodies from all over the country that love to compete," junior center fielder Tyler Holt said. "It's not big-name guys."
The Seminoles offensive igniters this time around include three guys who played in the 2008 CWS -- Holt, senior shortstop Stephen Cardullo and junior outfielder Mike McGee.
Holt led the team with a .352 batting average and 30 stolen bases while McGee's 15 homers and 68 RBI were team highs.
Three new starters -- sophomores James Ramsey and Sherman Johnson and freshman first baseman Jayce Boyd -- have added pop to the lineup. Johnson, a slick fielding third baseman, and Boyd have been Florida State's most productive hitters during the tournament. Boyd went 12-for-22 in the six games, while Johnson homered three times and drove in 10 runs.
Veteran coach Mike Martin, who has a 1,616-556 record in 31 seasons at Florida State, has not won the title in 13 trips as the Seminoles' skipper.
"I want to win a national championship, sure," the 66-year-old Martin said Tuesday. "I'm getting out when I don't. But it's not going to define me."
The fact that Martin got the Seminoles (47-18) back to Omaha for the 14th time under his tenure and second in three years was a bit of a surprise after what looked to be a late-season collapse.
On May 26 Martin's club had lost four in a row after being creamed, 9-3, by Miami in the opener of the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament. The 'Noles looked anything but a team headed for Omaha after those four games when they were outscored 34-18.
"Our young men will get after it for 27 outs," Martin said. "I can't say enough about the character of our baseball team."
Martin's faith in his club paid off.
Miami then was upset by Boston College in its second game in the ACC Tournament, putting the Seminoles right back into the middle of things. They climbed out of the loser's bracket and won the ACC title and swept through its regional competition with three straight wins before ending Vanderbilt's bid for its first CWS visit with a 7-6 win Sunday in the third game of a close, exciting Super Regional series.
"This is a group of guys who will fight you tooth and nail," said Martin, who first saw the Nebraska plains as a player on Florida State's 1965 CWS team. "They play the game hard and aggressive."
Martin said he'll choose between sophomore left-handers Sean Gilmartin (9-7) or Brian Busch (5-2) to pitch the opener.
"At this point we have accomplished the goal that we set out to do," he said. "Now we have an opportunity to win a national championship."
The team leaves Thursday for Omaha, a destination Martin adores despite his lack of success there.
"Obviously I'm excited," said Martin. "It's something you continue to dream about"
And just three weeks ago, that was about all it was.