March 19, 2006
Blacksburg, VA – Seminole junior Tyler Chambliss missed his scheduled start Saturday due to illness. On Sunday he took the hill and made the Virginia Tech batters feel sick. The right-hander struck out 10 Hokie batters while allowing just one run as he led the top-ranked Seminoles (21-2, 5-1) to a 9-4 victory over Tech (8-11, 1-5) in Blacksburg Sunday. Dennis Guinn hit his second grand slam of the season and Shane Robinson drove in three runs as FSU took the series 2-1.
“I was just very pleased with the way we played the entire series,” said FSU Head Coach Mike Martin. “These were very difficult conditions but there was nothing but a complete focus on getting the job done. I was pleased with the way we played. You have to give Virginia Tech credit for the way they played yesterday but I thought our guys came out today and Tyler really set the tone by pitching outstanding baseball for seven innings.”
“I felt good today,” said Chambliss. “The first couple innings I still felt sick but I sweated it out and got into a rhythm. I started throwing it pretty good, the curve ball worked. I just tried to hit my location and it worked out for me today.”
Chambliss (6-0, 2-0) put together his second straight stellar start as he went seven innings and allowed just one run on three hits. He issued four walks and in just his last two starts he has rung up 25 batters, as many batters as he did in his first five starts combined.
“After being in the hotel room all weekend long to come out today and pitch the way he did was a great example of his dedication to our ball club,” said Martin. “He understood the importance of getting this win and gave us every opportunity to get the victory.”
“I have found my curveball lately,” said Chambliss when asked about his strikeouts in the last two games. “In my first couple starts it just wasn’t there. I wasn’t trying to throw the curve as hard as I usually do as I adjusted to throwing more innings. As I get stronger and stronger I feel like I can throw it the way I want and still go a complete game every time out.”
Robinson and Guinn swung the biggest sticks for FSU as the two combined for seven RBIs. Robinson accounted for two on a triple in the sixth and Guinn got four with one swing of the bat on his second grand slam of the season, which was part of FSU’s five-run eighth inning. The Seminole first baseman had seven hits in the series, five of which went for extra bases. He hit a double, two triples and two homers in the three games. Guinn slugged 1.125 and drove in seven runs.
“I felt like I saw the ball well all weekend,” said Guinn. “I had a couple of bad swings today but the one the pitcher left up I did something with it.”
Robinson opened the game with a walk off Hokie starter Greg Fryman (2-2) and then a one out single by Guinn put runners on the corners. Ryne Malone drove in a run on a ground out to the right side and Buster Posey then drew a walk on which Guinn moved to third as the ball got away from the catcher. Tony Thomas, Jr. then delivered a two-out RBI single boosting the FSU lead to 2-0. It was Thomas’ 14th straight game with a hit, tying the longest hit streak by a Seminole batter in 2006.
Tommy Oravetz led off the second with a double as he laced Fryman’s offering down the right field line but a failed sac bunt cost the Seminoles as Robinson sent a deep fly ball to center that would have plated the third FSU run of the game. A walk to Rye, Fryman’s third of the game, put runners on the corners but FSU was unable to plate another runner.
The Seminoles got another leadoff double in the fourth as Rye sent one into the gap in right. FSU could not move Rye off second though as two groundouts and a fly out ended the frame as Florida State stranded its sixth runner in five innings.
Unlike the previous four innings, FSU got runners on base in the sixth and thanks to Robinson he brought them around to score. Singles by Kyle Maxie and Ryan Strauss set the stage for Robinson who drove a ball 400 feet off the center field wall for a two-out, two-run triple. It was the third triple of the season for Robinson and it made the score 4-0.
Virginia Tech answered in the bottom of the sixth as Sheldon Adams put a Chambliss pitch over the center field fence. It was the first homer of the season for Adams and it cut the FSU lead to 4-1. Chambliss got the next batter on a ground ball before walking back-to-back batters but the junior closed out the inning with no further damage.
In the top of the eighth the Seminoles looked to tack some more runs on to their lead as the first two batters walked. Strauss singled off Tech’s third pitcher of the day to load the bases and then Robinson drove in his third run of the game on a fielder’s choice. Robinson swiped second and then a walk by the fourth Hokie pitcher of the afternoon loaded the bases. The Hokies made their fifth change on the hill to face Guinn, the only Seminole with a grand slam in 2006. The sophomore did it again as he hit a line drive just over the wall at the 330 foot mark making it a 9-1 FSU advantage. It was the seventh hit in the series for Guinn, five of which went for extra bases.
“The first pitch was a fastball away and I took that,” said Guinn. “The next one he left the splitter up about middle in and I hit it out. It is nice to get all those RBIs but give credit to those guys in front of me for getting on base. You can always count on those guys getting on. It feels pretty good to be able to bring them home.”
The Hokies once again showed they would not quit versus FSU reliever Mark Sauls. After retiring the first hitter, Virginia Tech put together four straight hits, two of which were doubles, to cut the FSU lead to 9-3. Another run came in on the second out of the inning, a grounder to third, before Sauls retired the side to end the eighth.
A couple of errors and a walk opened the door for the Hokies in the bottom of the ninth versus Luke Tucker. The junior got out of the bases loaded jam though as he struck out the side ending the game.
Florida State returns to action this Wednesday as the team heads back out on the road. FSU will take a short drive down to Jacksonville to face the Dolphins. Game time is 7:00 p.m. and will be played on the JU campus. Game Tracker will be available for every game this season along with a live radio broadcasts available on WFLA locally and free on the Internet at seminoles.com.