May 22, 2006
FLORIDA STATE AT THE ACC TOURNAMENT
Since joining the ACC in 1992 Florida State has made its presence felt in the ACC Tournament. No team has a better winning percentage than the Seminoles and no school has a better success rate of titles won to tournament appearances. Florida State has won the ACC Crown four times and played for the title seven times in the last 12 years. Since 1994, no school has appeared in the ACC title game more than FSU. Only Clemson is even close with six appearances. Other than the Tigers, no squad has played in even half as many championships as the Seminoles. Florida State can also boast that it has been the most consistently successful program when it comes to the tournament. FSU has won at least two games in every one of its 14 ACC Tournaments. No other ACC team has done that over the last seven years. As FSU has experienced success so have its players. FSU trails only Clemson for All-ACC Tournament selections despite the fact FSU has played in 18 fewer tournaments than the rest of the conference (outside of Miami and BC).
JUST THE FACTS
,,X FSU has the best winning percentage in ACC Tournament history
,,X FSU is the most successful ACC school when it comes to titles won per trips to the tourney
,,X FSU is 42-22 in past ACC Tournaments versus the seven teams in Jacksonville this week
,,X FSU is 20-6 in past ACC Tournaments versus the three teams in their bracket
,,X FSU is 12-2 in ACC Tournament games played in the state of Florida
,,X Despite 18 less tournament appearances, FSU trails only Clemson for all-time players named All-ACC Tournament
,,X FSU has won at least two games in every one of its 14 ACC Tournament appearances. No other ACC school has won two or more games in even seven straight tournaments
,,X Sixth is the lowest seed for FSU in their ACC Tournament history
,,X The lowest FSU has ever been seeded in a championship year was third.
,,X The sixth seed has never won an ACC title and is 28-59 all-time in tournament play.
THE STARTING PITCHING
Junior right-hander Bryan Henry returned to his familiar role as the opening starter of a series versus NC State Thursday night. Henry has been the Seminoles No. 1 starter for the better part of the last two seasons now making 17 starts in the first game of three-game series. Henry leads all Seminole starters in ERA at 2.39 and opponent batting average at .223. The Tallahassee native has nine wins this season and he and Tyler Chambliss are the only FSU pitchers with over 100 innings of work. Henry is a control pitcher who relies on pinpoint accuracy to get hitters out and the fact he leads the team in K¡¦s looking (37) and leads all starters with a K:BB ratio of almost 4:1 is proof of that. The junior has been at his best versus right-handed hitters who have just a .203 average against him this season. Henry has been very good in almost every situational category. Teams hit just .190 against him when the bases are empty, leadoff hitters reach just 23% of the time and opponents only hit .193 with two outs in an inning. The only number that is at all high for Henry is when runners are on base and teams hit .290 against him. Although Henry has given up 20 extra base hits, the most on the team, he has pitched more innings than anybody but Chambliss and opponents are only slugging .296 off of him. Henry hasn¡¦t been as successful in ACC play but that is to be expected with the quality of the conference. His ACC ERA is more than a run higher at 3.38 but he is 4-2 with a .243 opponent batting average, best among starters. Henry has a K:BB ratio of better than 3:1 in ACC play and his .221 opponent batting average versus righties leads all Seminole pitchers outside of ace closer Luke Tucker. One area of concern for Henry has been the way he has pitched with runners on base during conference play. ACC teams have hit .305 versus Henry with runners on base and he has allowed the most extra base hits and homers of any FSU pitcher. ACC teams slug .335 off of him and the only two grand slams Henry has allowed in his career have both come in ACC games (Georgia Tech and Miami). Henry opened the 2005 ACC Tournament on the hill and pitched a gem giving up one run in 6 1/3 in leading FSU past North Carolina.
Roger Clemens Award semifinalist Tyler Chambliss has spent most of the season as the co-ace on the Seminole staff. Outside of two starts in series openers versus Clemson and Wake Forest and one start in the finale of the Virginia Tech series due to illness, the junior has been the No. 2 starter in 13 series this season. The Live Oak, FL native is tied for the second-most wins in the nation at 11-4 and is sporting a 2.67 ERA. Teams are batting just .244 against him and he is just on K away from becoming the first Seminole to reach 100 since Trent Peterson in 2003. The junior has one of the best breaking balls in the nation so it isn¡¦t unusual to see him leading the team in wild pitches (6) and hit by pitch (11). One of the odd stats when it comes to Chambliss though is teams have 13 successful sac bunts when he is on the hill while no other Seminole hurler has allowed more than four this season. Part of the reason for that is fact that Chambliss puts 39% of leadoff runners on base. Only Barret Browning is allowing more leadoff batters to reach among Seminole starters. Despite the fact he is putting a lot of runners on at the start of innings, Chambliss pitchers very well in those situations as teams hit just .273 when they have teammates aboard. In ACC play Chambliss has been FSU¡¦s best starter when it comes to wins, ERA, innings and strikeouts. No Seminole averages more innings per start in ACC play than Chambliss who goes almost seven innings per start. Where the right-hander has gotten into trouble in ACC games is the same place he has been hurt during the regular season, at the start of an inning. ACC teams place their leadoff batter on base almost 40% of the time versus Chambliss. The junior is a veteran of the ACC Tournament as a reliever but this won¡¦t be the first time Chambliss makes a start in the postseason. In 2004 Chambliss pitched the first of two games to decide the ACC champions versus Georgia Tech as the Seminoles captured the crown. Overall, Chambliss has five appearances in the ACC Tournament with a 2.93 ERA. Oddly enough the junior closer is 3-0 all-time in the tournament but he does not have a save. He has fanned 16 batters and walked just five and teams hit just .220 against him in the ACC Championships.
Barret Browning has the third most starts on the team as he has opened 10 games on the bump this year. His ERA is the second-highest on the team at 5.31 but he does sport an impressive 7-2 record. Browning¡¦s numbers are a concern as teams have had success against the only left-handed starter on the Seminole staff. Opponents are hitting a team-high .324 off the senior and slugging .445 against him. Both left and right-handers hit over .300 over Browning and he is struggling at the start of innings. Teams put the leadoff batter on 42% of the time versus the Jessup, GA native. While he puts himself behind the eight ball early on in innings, Browning has done a pretty good job of working out of it as he has an opponent batting average of .293 with runners on. Like most of FSU pitchers Browning¡¦s numbers are up in ACC games. His 8.03 ERA is the third-highest on the team in conference games and his .353 opponent batting average is fourth-highest. He has given up 36 hits in just 24 2/3 innings of work as he has started three ACC games and come in as a reliever in six others. Both ACC lefties and righties are hitting better than .325 versus Browning and in conference play he is putting an astonishing 46% of leadoff runners on. When you combine that with the fact that conference opponents hit .364 against him with runners on, you have the makings of a dangerous combination.
Michael Hyde has made nine starts for the Seminoles this season with half coming in weekend series. The junior settled into the mid-week role in the second part of the year starting four games on Tuesday and one game on Wednesday. He is 7-1 but has the highest ERA on the team at 5.33. Hyde has only lost one game since March 11, 2005 and that came against the Gators this season. The Tallahassee native has good numbers overall. He holds opponents to a respectable .277 average and he has more K¡¦s than walks. The long ball has hurt the junior though as he has given up a team-high eight homers. Teams are slugging an alarming .403 against Hyde with 10 doubles and the eight homers. His last time out he gave up three of those homers in a relief appearance versus NC State. Hyde¡¦s last start was encouraging though. Versus an NCAA Tournament-bound South Alabama squad, Hyde pitched six innings and allowed only two runs on five hits. He did not issue a walk in that game and struck out four. ACC teams have been pretty tough on the junior. Although he is 2-0 in ACC play this year he has an 8.05 ERA in seven appearances and three starts. He has given up 29 hits in 19 innings and conference teams bat .354 off of him. ACC batters have posted a slugging percentage of .598 versus Hyde in 2006 and they are hitting .345 or better in every situational category. ACC opponents average almost 14 hits per nine innings and more than two homers per game. On the positive side Hyde will enter the ACC Tournament with some positive momentum. Last year he started an elimination game versus Wake Forest in his only career ACC Tournament action. Hyde pitched a gem at the Baseball Grounds going 7 2/3 and not allowing a single earned run. He fanned six, walked one and scattered nine hits.
Mark Sauls is the only four-year senior on the starting staff for FSU. The right-hander did not make a start all season before starting three straight games at the end of the year versus NCAA Tournament teams in Jacksonville, Clemson and NC State. Sauls has pitched just 14 innings all season and gone only two innings in each of his last two starts. Overall he is 1-2 with a 5.14 ERA. He has a 2:1 K:BB ratio and opponents are hitting .304 against him. Sauls is FSU¡¦s most experienced pitcher when it comes to the ACC Tournament. He has started a game in each of the last three ACC Tournaments and is 1-0. In ACC Tournament play he has a stellar 2.61 ERA but has given up 21 hits and walked nine while striking out six. Sauls has struggled in ACC play this year though. Versus conference teams he is 0-2 with a team-high 10.29 ERA. ACC opponents hit .355 against Sauls and he has twice as many earned runs as he does strikeouts. The Panama City, FL native is going to have to do a better job versus right-handers in the postseason as they have touched him up for a .400 average this year. Teams are also hitting .368 with runners on base and he has put the leadoff batter on 50% of the time. The thing to remember with Sauls though is that these numbers are based on so few innings pitched. He faced two of the hottest hitting teams in America when he started versus Clemson and NC State so it skews his stats.
The Seminole bullpen has been a strength for FSU all season. Closer Luke Tucker is on the mid-season Stopper of the Year Watch list and his numbers have been mind-boggling. The junior leads the team with a 1.35 ERA. In 26 2/3 innings he has given up just four earned runs, struck out 44 and walked just 12. Opponents are batting .138 against him and only three of 53 leadoff runners have reached base against Tucker. He went over two months without allowing an earned run before he gave one up to Clemson in the second-to-last series of the year. In his 24 appearances, Tucker has not allowed an earned run in 21 of those outings. In 94 at bats this season, the ace closer has allowed just one extra base hit, which was a double. He has been even more dominating in ACC play. Tucker has an ERA of 0.63 versus ACC teams and he is averaging a 1.5 K¡¦s for every inning pitched in conference play.
Brent Marsh, one of the top closers in the SEC in 2005 at South Carolina, has come in and been the perfect compliment to Tucker. Marsh has taken on the role of setup man and run with it. Marsh is tied for second on the team with 25 appearances and opponents hit just .176 against him. He has a K:BB ratio of 3:1 and he has allowed just six hits to lefties all year. In ACC games Marsh¡¦s ERA is twice as high at 6.23 and his K:BB ratio drops down to 1:1. Conference teams hit over 100 points better against the Tallahassee native and they are batting over .300 with runners on base.
Outside of Tucker and Marsh, Matt DiBlasi and Brian Chambers are the Seminoles most used middle relievers. The two have combined to appear in 52 games and 26 ACC games. DiBlasi will be used primarily versus left-handers who have hit just .214 off of him this year. The senior has a team-best K:BB ratio of 4.8:1. Despite making just two more appearances than DiBlasi, Chambers has pitched twice as many innings. The right-hander has proven he can handle longer stints in relief and has thrown two or more innings three times in his last eight outings.
Beyond the four upperclassmen, FSU will mainly rely on freshmen Jimmy Marshall and Travis Burge for longer outings in middle relief. Marshall has started two games this year and made 17 appearances while Burge is tied for second on the squad with 25 appearances. Both have ERA¡¦s in the mid-fours and opponent batting averages in nearing .300. The true freshmen have had some big outings this season but been inconsistent for the most part, which is to be expected of guys not even a year out of high school when they began their pitching careers. Marshall has been the more successful of the two in ACC play. The Tallahassee freshman has a stellar 3.44 ERA in ACC games and he has fanned twice as many batters as he has walked.
FSU VS. VIRGINIA ¡V THE HISTORY
Florida State holds a 39-10 (.796) advantage over Virginia. The .796 winning percentage is third highest among ACC opponents (Maryland .941, Virginia Tech .867) The Seminoles hold a 21-4 advantage at home, and a 13-4 advantage at Virginia. The two teams last faced each other April 29 ¡V May 1st of 2005, with Florida State taking two of three from the Cavaliers. Florida State has taken eight of the last ten from Virginia, including a victory in the ACC Tournament in 2003. The Seminoles have won five of the seven games the two teams have played on a neutral site. The two teams first played each other in a two game series in 1972, with Florida State sweeping the two games. The teams wouldn¡¦t play again for another 20 years, when Florida State joined the ACC. Florida State would go on to win six more games before the Cavaliers finally gained their first victory. The Seminoles have not lost any season series to Virginia (13-0-1), and have swept them six times. Florida State¡¦s longest win streak is nine, set from 1998-2000.
JUST THE FACTS
,,X Virginia won its only ACC Title by defeating FSU in the 1996 ACC Championship game.
,,X This will be the first meeting between the teams in the ACC Tournament with Virginia being the higher seeded team.
,,X FSU has shutout the Cavs five times in 49 meetings but two of the five shutouts have come at the ACC Tournament.
,,X Virginia has never shutout FSU in the ACC Tournament
THE LAST TIME WE MET
The Seminoles and the Cavaliers did not face off in 2006 nor will they meet in 2007. Last year FSU won the season series in Tallahassee 2-1. The teams met each other from April 29-May 1st and after the Seminoles took game one 8-1, the two teams split a Sunday doubleheader 2-6 and 7-2.
In game one Bryan Henry and FSU coasted to an 8-1 victory in the series opener. The victory was Henry¡¦s fourth in his last five games, and third in a span of 11 days. The game started close early on but a Ryne Malone three-run double opened the game up for the Seminoles, despite being out hit six to five. A ground out helped Florida State take an early 1-0 lead and the Seminoles looked as if they had added to the lead but Malone was robbed of a homerun on a leaping grab at the fence. The Seminoles did add to the lead in the fourth as Danny Wardell drove in Aaron Cheesman to go up 2-0. Florida State then loaded the bases only to see Tony Thomas Jr. and Shane Robinson get hit by a pitch back to back to go up 4-0. Malone followed with a three run double and it quickly became a 7-0 blowout. Gibbs Chapman followed with an RBI single and it was 8-0 before the end of the fourth. Henry kept the shutout bid going until the seventh when a solo shot by Virginia spoiled the shutout and made it 8-1. For Florida State, Bryan Henry went eight innings, scattering four hits, giving up one earned run, he walked one and struck out five. Malone led the Seminoles offensively going 1×3 with a run and three RBIs. Josh Spivey went 1×2 with two runs for Florida State as well.
The second game of the series was rained out forcing a doubleheader and Virginia ended the Seminoles 11 game winning streak versus the Cavaliers at Dick Howser Stadium with a 6-2 victory in game one. Virginia started quickly, using a two run homerun in the first to go up 2-0. Ryne Jernigan cut the lead in half with a solo shot in the second to make it a 2-1 game. The third inning saw Virginia load the bases then a single brought in two more runs making it 4-1. Virginia staged a two-out rally in the fifth inning with three straight two out hits to bring in two more runs and make it a 6-1 advantage. Danny Wardell cut the deficit to four with his sixth homerun of the season but Florida State could get no closer. For the Seminoles, Wardell and Jernigan each had solo homeruns and Brant Peacher went 2×4 in the game.
The rubber match of the doubleheader, and series finale, saw the Seminoles win their 13th season series against Virginia with a 7-2 victory. A five run seventh was all FSU would need to secure the series. Virginia, much like it did in game one of the doubleheader, started with a home run, this one in the third inning, to go up 1-0. Shane Robinson and Ryne Malone drew walks in the fourth followed by back-to-back sacrifice bunts to tie the game 1-1. Virginia broke the tie, as a single to right with runners on the corners made it a 2-1 game in the sixth inning. Florida State got the run right back though as a sacrifice fly by Gibbs Chapman tied the game back up 2-2. In the bottom of the seventh Jack Rye hit a shot to right field bringing in the runners from second and third giving the Seminoles their first lead of the game at 4-2. An error on a Robinson pop up put two runners on for Malone who sent a shot over the fence in right center making it a 7-2 game. For Florida State, Robinson was 2×3 with three runs and Rye was 2×3 with a run and two RBIs. Kevin Lynch earned his seventh victory in his 121st career appearance, throwing three innings of one hit ball, walking one and striking out five.
WHO TO WATCH FOR
Jack Rye hit .400 (4×10) to lead the Seminoles. He also contributed with two runs and two RBIs. Ryne Malone led the team with six RBIs and also had a home run and a double. Bryan Henry threw eight innings, scattering four hits, giving up one earned run, walked one and struck out five in taking the game one victory.
IF THE 2005 SERIES WAS ANY INDICATION, LOOK FOR FLORIDA STATE TO:
,,X Score Early: In innings 1-4 Florida State outscored Virginia 10-5.
,,X Keep Virginia From Scoring Late: In innings 6-9 Virginia only managed two runs total.
,,X Bring the Runner Home: With a runner on third and less than two outs, FSU scored the runner 83% of the time. Ryne Malone and Jack Rye were both perfect in this situation.
,,X Advance the Runner: Florida State advanced the runner successfully 59% of the time. Shane Robinson led the Seminoles, as he was 4×4 (1.000) in this situation.
FSU VS. UNC ¡V THE HISTORY
Florida State leads the overall series vs. North Carolina 53-21.This year North Carolina took two of three from Florida State when the two teams met March 31-April 2nd (0-4, 3-4, 6-5) in Chapel Hill. North Carolina is one of five ACC teams that Florida State has defeated more than 50 times (Miami -130, Duke – 59, Clemson – 57, Georgia Tech – 56). The Seminoles have won five of the last seven games against the Tar Heels and their longest winning streak against North Carolina is seven (1996-1997, 1998-2000). Overall, Florida State has won 13 of 17 three game series but North Carolina has taken three of those series victories on their home turf. When playing in a neutral site, Florida State leads the Tar Heels 8-2 including winning four of the last five games.
JUST THE FACTS
,,X Florida State is 6-1 all-time in the ACC Tournament versus Carolina
,,X The last three meetings between the teams in the ACC Tournament have all been one run games
,,X The two teams have never met in the ACC Tournament when UNC was seeded higher than FSU
,,X Neither team has ever posted a shutout versus the other in the tournament
THE 2006 SERIES
Earlier this season the No. 1 ranked Seminoles went up north to Chapel Hill to face UNC. After losing the first two games (0-4, 3-4), Florida State avoided the sweep with a game three victory (6-5).
In game one North Carolina threw their first ever shutout against Florida State in over 50 years of play with a 4-0 victory. The Seminole offense could only muster four hits and starter Bryan Henry suffered his first defeat dating back to the 2005 Super Regionals. The Tar Heels got on the board first in the third inning as a bloop single with runners on first and second scored the first run. Henry hit the next batter loading the bases and a two-run double followed making the score 3-0. Henry gave up his first home run in 2006 in the fourth inning and that made the score 4-0. The Seminoles had opportunities in the seventh, eighth and ninth to break the shutout and potentially tie or take the lead but the Heel pitching staff was too much for FSU on the day. Ryan Strauss was the only Seminole to have a multi-hit game as he was 2×4. Henry threw seven innings in taking the loss giving up 10 hits, four runs (all earned), walking three and striking out eight for Florida State.
Game two was easily the most disappointing loss for the Seminoles in 2006. Florida State took a 3-2 lead into the bottom of the ninth but back-to-back errors with two outs allowed UNC to walk off with a 4-3 win. The loss marked the first time all season the Seminoles have lost two in a row. The Tar Heels scored in the first putting runners on the corners and a high throw to second on a stolen base brought in the runner. The top of the inning saw the Seminoles strike back. Ryne Malone led off with a double and moved up on a fly ball by Buster Posey. Tony Thomas Jr. got on after being hit by a pitch and that put runners on the corners. Mark Gildea¡¦s sacrifice fly then tied the game up at one. Danny Diaz came up with runners on the corners once again and he cashed in with a single to give Florida State a 2-1 lead. A bases-loaded single tied the game at two apiece but FSU responded quickly as Ryan Strauss came home from second thanks to a Shane Robinson single, giving the Seminoles the 3-2 advantage. In the bottom of the ninth, after two quick outs, the Seminoles looked ready to lock up a win but a single put the potential tying run on base. A soft chopper to short was mishandled, putting runners on first and second followed by a pop-up where three Seminoles collided trying to make the play but none did as the Tar Heels got the run in tying the game at three. Luke Tucker came on for Tyler Chambliss and after walking the first batter to load the bases, he watched a single end the game giving the Tar Heels the 4-3 walk-off win. Chambliss took the loss, going 8 2/3 innings, giving up nine hits, four runs (two earned), walking two and striking out four. Ryan Strauss had his second straight multi-hit game going 2×4 for Florida State. Danny Diaz also contributed going 1×3 with an RBI.
Florida State avoided a sweep with a 6-5 victory in the Sunday finale. The game featured four lead changes and three ties. A ground out with runners on the corners gave North Carolina an early 1-0 lead. In the next inning Ryan Strauss singled home Tony Thomas, Jr. to tie the game up. North Carolina quickly took the lead again with a two-run homer to go up 3-1. The Seminoles responded by putting runners in scoring position as Thomas cleared the bases with a triple to tie the game at 3-3. An errant throw brought him home and put the Seminoles up 4-3. In the fifth inning the Tar Heels loaded the bases to force starter Barrett Browning from the game and bring in Brian Chambers who subsequently hit the next batter to tie the game at 4-4. A Danny Diaz double, followed by a Shane Robinson single, gave Florida State the lead again, this time 5-4. An RBI single by North Carolina in the sixth tied the game up at 5-5. The seventh saw the fourth and final lead change as Thomas¡¦s double brought in Ryne Malone from second and gave the Seminoles the lead, and the eventual victory, 6-5. Thomas led the Seminoles, going 2×3 with two runs and three RBIs, including a double and a triple. The Seminole bullpen, led by Chambers and Luke Tucker, combined to throw 4 1/3 innings, giving up two hits, one earned run, one walk with five strikeouts.
WHO TO WATCH FOR
Ryan Strauss led the Seminoles going 5×12 (.417) with a run and an RBI. Tony Thomas Jr. had a double, a triple and three RBIs to go along with a .375 average for the weekend. Brent Marsh took home the lone Seminole victory in throwing 1 2/3 innings, giving up no hits, no runs, no walks and striking out one. Luke Tucker earned a save with an inning pitched, one hit, one walk and two strikeouts. He was one of five Seminole relievers to have an ERA of 0.00 in the series.
IF THE 2006 SERIES WAS ANY INDICATION, LOOK FOR FLORIDA STATE TO:
,,X Get on to Start an Inning: Seminole leadoff batters went 9×27 (.333). Tony Thomas Jr. was 2×2 leading off an inning.
,,X Get on with Two Outs: Florida State was 11×38 (.289) when faced with a two-out situation. Ryan Strauss led the Seminoles going 3×4 (.750). Danny Diaz and Buster Posey also contributed as each were 2×4 (.500)
FSU VS. NC STATE ¡V THE HISTORY
Florida State holds a 42-19 (.689) edge over N.C. State in the series. The two teams first met in a doubleheader in April 1962 where they each took home a victory. They would go on to meet four more times until 1992, when Florida State joined the ACC. The two teams split the first eight conference meetings until the Seminoles went on a tear winning 13 of the next 14 match-ups. Florida State has taken 10 of 15 season series including five sweeps. The Seminoles have never lost a season series against N.C. State at home (7-0). Neither team has swept the other since 2000, when Florida State took three in Tallahassee. The Seminoles have won six of the last nine games but the teams are 3-3 in their last six meetings. Florida State is 10-4 all-time versus the Wolfpack in games played at neutral sites. That does not include a 2-1 series loss to the Wolfpack in home games played in Kinston in 2003.
JUST THE FACTS
,,X Florida State is 9-3 all-time in the ACC Tournament versus NC State
,,X FSU has won eight of the last nine games between the teams in the ACC Tournament
,,X The Seminoles have played more games in the ACC Tournament versus the Wolfpack (12) than any other school besides Clemson (17)
,,X In FSU¡¦s 14 ACC Tournaments, they have played the Wolfpack in 10 of those tourneys
THE 2006 SERIES
The two teams closed out the regular season against one another for the second straight year. Florida State improved to 7-0 lifetime at home in series versus the Pack with wins in games one and two.
The 15th-ranked FSU baseball team needed a game like they had in the series opener. While still jockeying for position in the ACC Tournament and NCAA seeding at the time, FSU need Thursday night¡¦s win for more than that. For just the second time in the last seven ACC series Florida State won the opening game of a weekend set and the Seminoles did it in dramatic fashion. Florida State came back from a 10-8 deficit in the eighth inning and then got a walk-off bases loaded single from Dennis Guinn to down No. 20 NC State in 10 innings. Florida State collected its most hits (17) since a 20-hit outburst versus Miami April 15 in picking up its second extra inning win of the season. Jack Rye tied a career high with four hits and he also drove in three runs. Shane Robinson went 3-for-6 with three RBIs and FSU hit three homers in a game for the first time since March 28. Ace closer Luke Tucker (1-1) pitched 1 2/3 innings striking out four to pick up the first win of his FSU career.
After struggling at the plate the last few ACC series, the Florida State bats came to life versus NC State and that continued in game two. FSU hit multiple homeruns for the second straight game and now has five in the two games versus NC State as the Seminoles secured the series win over the Wolfpack with a 7-1 win Friday night. Tyler Chambliss (11-4) pitched a gem and Jack Rye knocked in three of FSU¡¦s runs as the Seminoles won their first conference series since April 8. Chambliss played a huge role in the win. as he pitched 6 2/3 innings and limited the conference¡¦s top hitting team to just one run on four hits. It was the fewest runs scored by the Pack in eight games. The bullpen was phenomenal once again for FSU. Matt DiBlasi and Brian Chambers shut the Pack down for 2 1/3. They did not allow a hit, struck out five and issued just one walk. It was the first time since Duke that FSU recorded double digit hits in back-to-back conference games. Jack Rye led the way with three RBIs on a 2-for-3 night. He had a double and a homerun. He leads the team with 11 homeruns and has two in the series.
Florida State left the field Saturday night feeling pretty good about their final series of the year. Despite a 15-8 loss to NC State in the series finale, the Seminoles won their most impressive weekend series of the year taking two games from a top 25 team and a squad ranked in the top 20 of the RPI. The Seminoles recorded double digit hits and scored at least seven runs for the third straight game in the series. Shane Robinson led the way going 3-for-4 on the night and Ryne Malone had the biggest hit of the game as he launched a three-run homer. It was the third straight game in which FSU has hit a homerun after going seven straight games without a bomb coming into the series.
WHO TO WATCH FOR
Tyler Chambliss secured FSU¡¦s biggest series win of the season with a dominant performance versus the ACC¡¦s top hitting team. The junior gave up just one run in 6 2/3 and held NC State to a run or less for just the second time in the Pack¡¦s last 17 games. NC State hit just .211 against him and lefties were only 1-for-7. Jack Rye was the offensive stud for FSU last week versus the Pack. Rye hit .538, slugged 1.231 and knocked in six of the team¡¦s 25 runs. He had seven hits three of which were doubles and two were homeruns. Shane Robinson hit .500 versus the Pack and Dennis Guinn wasn¡¦t far behind at .417. The Seminole bullpen was superb against the ACC¡¦s top hitting team as Brian Chambers, Luke Tucker and Matt DiBlasi each posted ERA¡¦s of 0.00 in the series.
IF THE 2006 SERIES WAS ANY INDICATION, LOOK FOR FLORIDA STATE TO:
,,X Score Their Runners: FSU hit .333 with runners on base and .303 with runners in scoring position.
,,X Put Runs On The Board: Florida State scored 25 runs in the three games but that was less than the 26 NC State plated on the weekend.
,,X Out slug the Pack: Florida State slugged .622 compared to .486 for NC State. The Seminoles had eight doubles, two triples and six homers.
IS IT BACK, BACK, BACK?
One of the most welcome sights for the Seminoles this last series was the return of the homerun. FSU pounded six homers in the three games versus NC State after going seven straight without a bomb. After cruising to 38 homers in the first 28 games of the season, FSU had just 12 in the next 25 games. With six this past week versus NC State the Seminoles have now surpassed the 55 homers hit by the 2005 club. Considering the fact FSU is 25-6 in games in which it homers and 14-11 when the team fails to go yard, it is good to see the pop back in the bats.
HITTER IN THE RYE
Seminole right fielder Jack Rye had a huge final week of the regular season. He led FSU in batting average, hits, runs, doubles, home runs, RBIs, total bases, slugging percentage, on base percentage and fielding in the four games. He led FSU to their most impressive series win of the season as FSU took two of three from NC State. Rye hit .500 last week, slugged 1.111 and posted a .550 on base percentage. He struck out just once in four games and did not fan the entire series versus the Wolfpack. Rye scored four runs and had nine hits last week. Of those nine hits seven went for extra bases as he had five doubles and two home runs. The California native doubled in all four games. Rye¡¦s 20 total bases were six more than anyone else on the squad and he single-handedly accounted for almost 40% of FSU extra base hits. Rye hit .625 with runners on base, .600 with runners in scoring position and he reached base 67% of the time when leading off an inning. This is nothing new for Rye since returning from a hamstring injury suffered May 3 against Jacksonville. In the six games since his return, Rye is hitting .423, slugging .846 and has a team-leading six RBIs.
GUINN MEANS WIN
Lately if you are looking for a game-winning hit, look no further than Dennis Guinn. The sophomore has had a breakout 2006. He leads the team in RBIs, doubles, triples and total bases and is in the top three for average, slugging, hits and homers. Lately though it has been big hits that are separating Guinn from everyone else. FSU has won two extra innings games in 2006 and both have come in the last six games played and Guinn has the game winner in both of those victories. It was the Haines City native¡¦s double that put FSU ahead in the longest ACC game ever played and he also recorded the Seminoles only walk off hit of the season this past week versus NC State in the bottom of the 10th. Considering Guinn had driven in the game winning four times in the first 36 victories, the fact he has almost doubled that in the last three games is pretty impressive.