March 23, 2005
“In the games versus Virginia Tech I got a hit in the first inning,” said Robinson. “When I didn’t get a hit in my first at bat today it popped into my head. When I got the hit I stopped at first, took a deep breath and a sigh of relief. It is an honor to be tied with J.D. (Drew) and I hope it keeps going so I can extend this and make the record longer.
“It is amazing the streak has gotten so far and to have all the fans behind me. To see them stand up and give me an ovation after the hit is exciting.”
Robinson not only tied FSU history but had to overcome some history along the way. The last FSU player to carry a 33-game hit streak was Ryan Barthelemy in 2002 and that streak came to an end in Jacksonville versus the Dolphins.
“I know that was on his mind tonight and he can’t tell me it wasn’t,” said Martin. “You could tell by his demeanor before the game he wanted that record. He wasn’t his old self before the game today.”
Overshadowed by Robinson’s hit streak was a strong outing by Jones in which he led FSU to just its second shutout of the season. Both Seminole shutouts in 2005 have come in a Jones start. The junior pitched six scoreless innings and did not issue a walk for the fourth time this season. He struck out three batters and gave up six hits.
“I thought Hunter looked a lot better, I was very proud of him,” said FSU head coach Mike Martin. “He worked quick, he speeded everything up. Jamey (Shouppe) has done a good job of re-tooling him. Hunter is capable of throwing harder than he did tonight but this is how we need to get him throwing every outing.”
“Hunter came out and pitched his game tonight,” said Robinson. “He did his job and we did our job in the field. It starts with the pitching and the hitting comes after that.”
It didn’t take long for the Dolphins to mount their first and only threat of the game against starter Jones. After a 410-foot fly out that Robinson tracked down to start the bottom of the second, JU put together three straight singles to load the bases. Ryne Jernigan got the second out on a long run to shallow left field where he corralled a pop that looked like it might fall in. Jones then got out of the jam on a dangerous infield hit off the end of the bat down to first base but Ryne Malone was able to handle the tough bounce and toss it to Jones for the final out. After the bases loaded jam, Jones never looked back and really didn’t get into another jam the rest of the way.
Tony Thomas, Jr. led off the third with a single through the left side and that brought Robinson up in his search of equaling FSU history. The sophomore chopped the first pitch he saw over the head of JU’s third baseman for his 34th straight game with a hit.
“Shane is a great story and we are very happy for him,” said Martin. “He is an igniter for us and when he got that base hit the team was relieved because everyone is pulling for him to get the record.”
A balk moved both runners into scoring position with one out in the inning. After JU starter Kyle DeVries (4-2) intentionally walked Cheesman to load the bases, Brant Peacher got plunked driving in the game’s first run. Ruairi O’Connor then drove in FSU’s second run on a ground out to third. The inning ended with Cheesman trying to score on a wild pitch but getting thrown out at the plate.
The Seminoles extended their lead in the fifth. Thomas got on base for the second time in the game, this time via a walk, and Gibbs Chapman followed with a one out hit to put runners on first and second. Cheesman then drove Thomas home and chased DeVries from the game bringing in Matt Davis. Davis got out of the jam but not before FSU was up 3-0.
The led grew to 4-0 in the fifth thanks to another JU walk. After Malone drew the free pass, he proceeded to get into scoring position by swiping his fourth base of the season. Ryne Jernigan then knocked the first baseman in with a two-out RBI single through the left side of the infield.
Thomas drew another walk as he reached base for the third straight time in the game. Robinson followed with a double down the left field line, his 14th of the season. Chapman then reached on a wild pitch after striking out allowing Thomas to come home from third as FSU moved in front 5-0. Cheesman followed with another RBI single, his second of the game, putting FSU up 6-0.
Fess bases continued to plague the Dolphins in the eighth. A walk to pinch hitter Josh Spivey, JU’s seventh of the night, was followed by Thomas getting hit by a pitch. That brought up Danny Wardell who homered for the second time this season blowing the game open as FSU went in front 9-0. The shot over the wall in left field was the 13th of Wardell’s career.
Florida State returns to ACC play this Friday at Duke (8-17, 0-6). The game time has been moved up from 7:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Game Tracker will still be available for the contest along with Steve Melewski’s live radio broadcast available on WFLA locally and on the Internet at seminoles.com. Barret Browning (2-0, 1.54) is slated to open the series for FSU. He will face off against Greg Burke (4-3, 5.87).