Jan. 7, 2005
Tallahassee, FL – With unusually warm January weather, the 18th-ranked Florida State baseball team held its first practice of the 2005 season Friday. All 34 roster players were in attendance as the youngest group of Seminoles to ever take the field in head coach Mike Martin’s 26 years got put through the paces for the first time. The Tribe has just 21 days until they open the 2005 season at home versus Charleston Southern University.
“I can honestly say I don’t remember a better opening day of practice in my 26 years as head coach here. This is exciting. The stadium looks great. We have new lights and artificial turf around the dugouts. I am ready to play two today.
“We don’t have the type of team this year that can get three runs with one swing of the bat however I like this ball club’s ability to get on base. We just have to do a good job with our pitching where we don’t put ourselves in a position where we need a three-run homer.
“We have a very young club but it is a group we like a lot. They are very hungry. I look for this club to be one that you have to have patience with. It’s a club that can be pretty good in April if we can stay healthy.
“We like our staff. Hunter Jones on our pitching staff is a big key to that. He is a guy that contributed greatly to the success of last year’s team. Mark Sauls and Brian Schultz give us a pretty good rotation. We have a lot of young guys ready to take the ball. Players like Tyler Chambliss to close games for us and veterans like Kevin Lynch and Matt DiBlasi that can come in for middle relief.
“The ball club will be built around pitching and defense. There isn’t an awful lot of power. We have got to do the little things it takes to win. We have to move runners over and be disciplined hitters. We need to take advantage of every mistake the other team makes. There isn’t a lot of experience in the position players. Bryan Henry, Nick Francis, Ryne Jernigan and Tony Thomas are all brand new to the program and three of those players will start in the infield. Of course we have Ryne Malone and Aaron Cheesman back. We have two returners in the outfield in Shane Robinson and Gibbs Chapman. We will start a freshman in right in Jack Rye or Ryan Strauss.”
“All of us are real excited to get back out here. We are going to work hard looking towards January 28. We just want to get better everyday.”
“I came in early and met a lot of new guys. Everyone has been nice and I am just happy to be at Florida State. I am having fun and it has been great so far. Finishing high school early as far as the tests and homework go wasn’t the toughest part. It is harder to step out here, handle the nerves and just try to meet my new teammates.”