TALLAHASSEE -- About a month after entering college baseball's national tournament with the No. 7 overall national seed, Florida State officially ended the season ranked 13th in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches' Poll that was released Wednesday.

One day after UCLA shutout Mississippi State in the clinching game of the College World Series to win its first national baseball title in school history, the final standings were published. The Bruins, naturally, finished No. 1. Mississippi State, playing for its first national title in any sport in school history, finished No. 2.

FSU's ranking came after the Seminoles fell to Indiana in the best-of-three Tallahassee Super Regional. By beating the Seminoles in two games, the Hoosiers advanced to their first College World Series in school history.

Indiana finished the season ranked No. 7.

The No. 13 finish was about where most probably had the Seminoles pegged when the season began. FSU had lost the nucleus of its team leadership to major league baseball's first-year player draft the summer before, and had two key players get injured just before and just after the season started. Still, the group rallied to win the ACC's Atlantic Division championship before going 0-3 at the ACC Tournament.

At the start of the month, the Seminoles bounced back from the conference tournament losses and breezed through the Tallahassee Regional and into the Super Regional.

Anchored by one of the country's top returning staffs, next year's team will have perhaps slightly higher expectations. Pitchers Luke Weaver and Brandon Leibrandt will be back. Fellow starter Mike Compton should be 100 percent healthy after missing the 2013 season with an injury. Captain and senior Justin Gonzalez is expected to return after a hip injury sidelined him much of this year. Freshman standout DJ Stewart also will be back for his sophomore campaign.

Stephen McGee, Marcus Davis and Scott Sitz, however, highlight the Seminoles' biggest losses. McGee was a clutch hitter for them throughout 2013. Davis was one of their leading power hitters who had his own flair for the dramatic. Sitz, who entered his last start with an ERA under 2.00, led the team in wins with 10.

All three have already begun their professional baseball careers after having signed with the Angels, Padres and Tigers, respectively.


Speaking of Stewart, the freshman All-American will compete next week in the College Home Run Derby at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb., site of the College World Series. The Yulee native will represent FSU in a broader field that will be announced Monday.

Stewart is currently playing in the Cape Cod League for the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox. He'll be in Omaha next Wednesday for the derby. It will be broadcast at 8 p.m. Thursday on ESPN.

In his first year at FSU, Stewart paced the team in batting average (.364), hits (82), doubles (25), slugging percentage (.560), on-base percentage (.469), and stolen bases (8). He also ranked third on the team with five home runs. Stewart and McGee both had nine.

The college home run derby follows a multiple-round format similar to major league baseball's derby that will occur later in July.

Fans interested in attending should go to collegehomerunderby.com for more info.

Email me at coharvey@orlandosentinel.com, and follow on Twitter at @os_coleyharvey.