Jan. 8, 2006
Tallahassee, FL – The eighth-ranked Florida State baseball team took the field Sunday afternoon for the first practice of the 2006 season. The Seminoles come into the year ranked as high as eighth and no lower than 16th. This will be the 27th season that head coach Mike Martin will lead FSU as the Seminole head coach looks to continue his streak of going to the postseason every year since he took over the program.
“I was really anxious to see how I would feel when I came out here today,” said Martin. “We have been blessed with a 70 degree day and one of the finest baseball facilities in the country and I have never bee more excited to get this thing started.”
“Everybody is really excited,” said third baseman Ryne Malone. “You come into the clubhouse and see some real enthusiastic voices and faces. It is a lot of fun to see that.”
One of the reasons for the excitement in the FSU clubhouse is that last year’s young squad won 53 games and advanced to a Super Regional. Collegiate Baseball’s National Player of the Year Shane Robinson is back along with one of the deepest pitching staffs in recent memory.
Replacing Lynch will be a major task for FSU this spring. The senior went 12-0 and appeared in 46 games last season. Brian Chambers is expected to fill Lynch’s big shoes in middle relief. FSU will also need to find someone to take over for pre-season All-American candidate Chambliss who will move to the starting rotation after recording 15 saves last season as the team’s closer.
“We are going into the season with everybody knowing their role,” said senior reliever Matt DiBlasi. “Somebody is going to have to pickup for Kevin. It is a big loss. I think we have the guys who can fill in. (Brian) Chambers can step up in Kevin’s spot and Brent Marsh will fill Tyler’s role from last year. I really think we will be stronger than last year.”
If the bullpen can come together, there is no reason to think the Seminoles won’t be a favorite to return to Omaha for the first time since 2000. This year’s squad is young but experienced and with almost every pitcher that started a game in 2005 is back on top of returning starters at second, third, center and right field, this year’s squad is primed to make a run at the College World Series,
“The goal of our program every year is to get to Omaha,” said Martin. “The fact we haven’t been in a while makes it even more of an incentive because that is what our program is about. We are about playing for a National Championship. We have been disappointed long enough by not getting to Omaha.
“We have been close lately but that only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. We have to continue to improve each day and play consistent baseball. We can’t give clubs extra outs. We can’t let them feel good about themselves. When we have a chance to put them away we have to do it.”
The Seminoles will open the 2006 season Friday, February 3 at 4:00 p.m. versus Charleston Southern. For ticket information log on to the official athletic website for FSU baseball at www.seminoles.com.