3 takeaways from FSU baseball vs UConn Game 2 of NCAA super regional (2024)

The wait is finally over for Florida State baseball.

After missing the NCAA Baseball tournament last year while suffering through their worst season in school history, the No. 8 national seed Seminoles clinched a spot in the 2024 College World Series Saturday after beating Connecticut, 10-8 and sweeping the best-of-three super regional.

After a historic Game 1 when FSU produced 24 runs, Game 2 at Howser Stadium before a crowd of 5,518 had a different spin.

Even with six home runs, UConn made FSU work for it a little bit longer, extending the game to 12 innings.

Fans were on the edge of their seats.

Both teams had their chances of putting the game earlier than expected, but it wasn't the case for either side.

The game tied at eight for two straight innings. All FSU needed was a clutch homer by ACC's Player of the Year, James Tibbs III. He delivered, and the super regional belonged to the Seminoles.

"These guys delivered the result all year," FSU coach Link Jarrett said. "UConn is as tough and well-coached as any team that I've coached against. They throw the whole bag of tricks at you. "

Here are the takeaways.

James Tibbs III moves up in the hitting rankings

3 takeaways from FSU baseball vs UConn Game 2 of NCAA super regional (2)

All eyes were on Tibbs.

And why not? He had a career night during Saturday's sweep.

With the Seminoles hitting six home runs, half of it went to the junior slugger. It was the first time since 2010 an FSU player hit more than three home runs in a game.

Each homer drastically changed the game. In the 12th inning, before heading to the plate, he told his teammate Daniel Cantu that he was going to end it.

His two-run homer gave FSU its 10th run and helped seal the win.

"That was pure luck," Tibbs said. "But I was just confident. I was hoping that I get a pitch to hit, and luckily I did."

Fans at Dick Howser Stadium erupted when Tibbs's tied the game in the third inning.

His three-home-run performance moves him up ahead of Buster Posey and Chris Cawthorm for the seventh-most home runs in a single season. He also has 53rd career homers, which is fourth in FSU history.

Tibbs is ranked the No. 16 prospect in the 2024 MLB Draft class and can go anywhere in the top 15.

Shakey start for FSU defense

3 takeaways from FSU baseball vs UConn Game 2 of NCAA super regional (3)

FSU's defense wasn't as clean as Friday. It started with two errors from their infielders that put UConn's runners on base.

The Seminoles had three errors throughout the game.

The Huskies took an early 2-0 lead in the bottom first on back-to-back base hits. The Seminoles huddled on the mound and regrouped. Since then, FSU's defense would shut out the Huskies in three straight innings.

UConn's Luke Broadhurst's homer changed the momentum of the game after overcoming a 5-2 deficit led by Luke Broadhurst

Broadhurst had a productive day at the bat as he led the Huskies with four hits, six RBI and a home run, which happened in the bottom fifth.

Jamie Arnold wasn't as crisp on the mound despite throwing nine strikeouts and walks allowed. He allowed seven of the 11 pitches and six runs.

Conner Whittaker came through in bullpen

3 takeaways from FSU baseball vs UConn Game 2 of NCAA super regional (4)

FSU's bullpen was hanging on to dear life.

Jarrett was in a predicament when he decided to let Conner Whittaker close out the game, even though he intended to start him in Game 3 on Sunday if FSU fell short.

"When you get to that with him, it was a decision we were trying to make as the game unfolded because there was a situation where if this don't go well, you're playing tomorrow," Jarrett said.

"It's a unique coaching situation because of this result, but if this doesn't go your way, how do you try to manage it Because you have another crack at it tomorrow."

That wasn't the case for Whittaker.

He took over on the mound in the seventh and went 3.2 innings on the mound. He finished the day with three strikes and allowed one hit.

Rather as a starter or a relief pitcher, all Whittaker was concerned about was getting the victory. He became the winning pitcher after his last strikeout sealed the game.

"In my three years here, I've seen quite a bit, and I've been in a lot of roles," Whittaker said. "So, it doesn't really matter to me. I just go out there and try to execute pitches and get outs."

What's next for FSU baseball

FSU is the first team to advance in the College World Series.

As other super regionals are underway, the Seminoles will have to wait for its future opponent on Monday when they release the time and schedule.

It is the 24th time in program history that FSU makes a CWS appearance. The last time the Seminoles made the Championship round was in 1999.

FSU will travel to Omaha, Nebraska, on Wednesday. The College World Series will start on June 14 at Charles Schwab Field .

Peter Holland Jr. covers Florida State athletics for Tallahassee Democrat. Contact him via email at PHolland@Gannett.com or on X @_Da_pistol

3 takeaways from FSU baseball vs UConn Game 2 of NCAA super regional (2024)

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