BY MATT CRAIG | NCAA EXTERN | BALL STATE SPORTS LINK
This piece was originally published on NCAA.com
Few games in the history of the College World series have ever matched the drama of Florida State and Stanford’s trilogy in 1999, concluding in a 13-inning, four-and-a-half hour thriller.
The Seminoles came to Omaha expecting nothing less than a national title, after rolling to an impressive 53-12 regular season record and cruising through the regional rounds. But they received a rude awakening when they met Stanford in the second round and fell 10-6.
A win in the loser’s bracket set up a rematch with the Cardinal in the semi-finals, with Florida State needing to win twice to advance. The following day as the two were locked at 6-6 in the seventh inning, it was sophomore Karl Jernigan who became the unlikely hero when he brought in the go-ahead run with a groundout RBI. The Seminoles 8-6 victory forced a winner-take-all rematch the next day.
In the third and deciding game of the trilogy, it was Florida State that jumped out to a commanding 7-2 lead through four innings, including a pair of home runs. A victory seemed inevitable. Then the seventh inning came.
Stanford’s John Gall stepped to the plate after three straight walks, launching a grand slam bomb over the left fielder’s head to make it a one-run game. Just a few batters later, Nick Day’s triple brought in two more runs. Edmund Muth was next to the plate, and homered to right for the sixth and seventh runs of the inning.
The 9-7 Stanford lead would hold all the way to the bottom of the ninth, when Florida State came up with a miracle in the form of a Kevin Nash two-run home run to send the game to extra innings.
The Cardinal led off the 10th with two runs, answered by two more solo home runs in the bottom of the inning by the Seminoles. The 11th and 12th innings creeped by, each moment filled with tension and met with strong defense as the teams went scoreless.
Finally in the bottom of the 13th it was none other than Jernigan, the hero from less than 24 hours earlier, who launched a three-run bomb over the left field wall and sent Florida State to the championship.
Though Florida State would go on to lose in the final to in-state rival Miami, their legend will live on in college baseball lore forever.
Below is a quick highlight video: