May 31, 2005
NCAA Regional Notes in PDF Format
FSU Player Bios in PDF Format
FSU Box Scores in PDF Format
A QUICK LOOK AT FSU IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT
This is Florida State‘s 28th consecutive trip to NCAA Regionals, which is the second best in the nation behind only Miami. Since 1990 nobody has been invited to more NCAA Regionals than Florida State. Overall, this is Florida State‘s 43rd NCAA Regional, which is the second-most ever trailing only Texas. The Seminoles and Longhorns are the only two schools to ever play in 40 NCAA Regional Tournaments. The Seminoles are 142-94 all-time in NCAA Tournament play. Only three teams (Miami, Texas and USC) have more NCAA Tournament wins than Florida State and only nine schools in all of college baseball have more than 100 wins in NCAA Tournament play. This is the ninth straight year that the Seminoles have hosted an NCAA Regional and they have advanced to Super Regionals every year since the format was put into place in 1999.
LAST YEAR’S REGIONALS
In the 2004 regional Florida State played four games and the current Seminoles hit a combined .250. The Seminoles were not kept off the base paths though as they posted an on base percentage of .438. They also hit for a good amount of power combining for a .417 slugging percentage. Seven current Seminoles appeared in the 2004 Regional and four started all four games (Ryne Malone, Shane Robinson, Aaron Cheesman and Gibbs Chapman).
Ryne Malone led the Seminoles from an offensive stand point as he hit .417 (5×12) during the four games of the regional tournament. Two of Malone’s five hits went yard as he racked up 11 total bases for a .917 slugging percentage. Malone managed to reach base at a higher percentage than any other Seminole as he recorded an on base percentage of .579 thanks to four walks and being hit by two pitches. Malone also proved to be the Seminoles main source for run production as he hit .500 (3×6) with runners in scoring position and drove in a team high seven RBIs. Malone added four runs and a stolen base to help round out his offensive production.
Shane Robinson had a solid regional tournament as he hit .313 (5×16). He slugged .500 and tallied eight total bases as one of his hits sailed out of the ball park for a home run. Robinson put up an on base percentage of .421 thanks in part to his team leading three hit by pitches. Robinson was also tied for second on the entire team with four RBIs.
Aaron Cheesman hit .250 (4×16) in the regional but still managed to reach base at a much higher rate as he posted a .400 on base percentage as he drew four walks. Cheesman recorded a double, knocked in two RBIs and scored four runs in the tournament.
Gibbs Chapman kept the trend alive for the Seminoles as he recorded a .353 on base percentage despite having hit just .091 (1×11) in the regional. Chapman drew three walks and was hit by two pitches and proved to be dangerous on the base paths as he was a perfect two for two in stolen bases.
Only four current Seminole pitchers appeared in the regional tournament with Mark Sauls making the only start for the Seminoles. Sauls threw five innings and allowed four runs, three earned, on four hits and one walk as he received a no decision against UCF.
Matt DiBlasi threw a combined 4 1/3 innings over the course of two appearances and he allowed two runs, one earned, on five hits and a walk while striking out two. Tyler Chambliss made one relief appearance as he pitch 1 1/3 innings and allowed an earned run on two hits. Kevin Lynch made two appearances as he just pitched a combined 1/3 of an inning and only allowed one hit.
Michael Hyde will open the NCAA Tournament on the hill for FSU. This will be the first NCAA Regional start for the first-year Seminole. The Tallahassee native is 7-2 with a 4.48 ERA this season and is leading the team in starts with 16. The first 12 appearances of his FSU career were all starts but since then he has made four starts and three appearances in relief. After a rough patch in the middle of the season, Hyde is coming off the best performance of his young career in a key victory at the ACC Tournament. Hyde was spectacular going a career high 7 2/3 innings without allowing an earned run in a loser’s bracket victory over Wake Forest. He gave up nine hits and issued only one walk. He also fanned six Wake Forest batters, which was one short of a career high. He threw 128 pitches on the night and came within one out of becoming just the second FSU pitcher this season to throw eight innings in a game. The performance reminded many of the start of the 2005 season when Hyde was a regular in the weekend rotation. In Hyde’s first nine starts he went 6-2 with just one no decision. He got off to a fast start at the beginning of the year. He streaked out to a 4-1 start while posting an ERA of 1.78 in his first six starts. Then came a 10-run outing versus Hawai’i where the Bows put up 10 hits and 10 earned runs on the right-hander. Since that outing Hyde’s numbers are the polar opposite of where he started the year. Excluding the 10-run game at UH and up to his May 17 start versus Jacksonville, Hyde was 2-0 with a 6.05 ERA in those 10 appearances, which included eight starts. Teams hit .307 against him in that stretch and he had allowed 14 extra base hits, the most on the team. All 28 runs he allowed in those 10 appearances were earned. The sophomore has started to revert to the form he showed at the start of the year. In his last two outings, a relief appearance versus NC State and the start versus Wake Forest, Hyde is 1-0 with a 1.54 ERA. He has given up just two extra base hits in 11 2/3 innings of work while striking out nine and walking just two batters. He has allowed just two earned runs but he has hit three batters. Hyde has proven he can go deep into games though. With just two exceptions the sophomore has pitched at least five innings in every start this season and he is second on the team with an average of 4.81 innings per start.
Bryan Henry will start FSU’s second game of the regional and has solidified the FSU pitching staff since making his first Friday night start against Virginia (4/29). He has taken over the role of FSU’s ace and was named All-ACC first team. Henry has not only taken Tallahassee by storm but he finished the regular season the No.1 pitcher in the ACC for ERA, ERA in conference games and opponent batting average in ACC play. His ERA is more than three-quarters of a run less than anyone else’s in the ACC in overall games and in ACC games alone. He also has the fourth-best ERA in the nation entering the NCAA Tournament. The Tallahassee native leads FSU in quality starts with seven and all seven of those quality starts have come in consecutive games. Only two FSU pitchers have recorded back-to-back quality starts all season and they have done it on just three occasions combined. Henry has done it in seven straight starts. He had his winning streak snapped at six this past weekend at the ACC Tournament but that was through no fault of his own. The sophomore shut down No. 22 North Carolina allowing just one run in 6 1/3 innings of work. It was his sixth straight start where he allowed just one earned run or less. It has been over a month since he has allowed more than one earned run in a game. He has now gone six or more innings in seven straight starts. No other FSU pitcher has gone over six innings in three consecutive starts this season. The key to Henry’s success all season has been control. In 75 innings of work, Henry has issued just 15 walks and he has only walked eight batters in 51 innings during ACC play this year. His K:BB ratio is 3:1 this season. Another reason for Henry’s success is the way he gets his outs. Henry is the only pitcher on the Florida State staff that records more fly ball outs than ground ball outs. He averages over 12.5 fly ball outs per game and just over seven outs per game via ground balls. When you get that many fly ball outs the chance of your defense making errors drops dramatically. The sophomore is also proving himself to be money in pressure situations. Opponents hit just .192 against him with runners on base and only .226 with two outs in an inning. Henry just doesn’t put people on base. His .217 opponent batting average is the best among FSU’s starters and another telling factor as to how few people get on base versus Henry is that there has not been a single double play turned all season with the FSU ace on the mound.
Mark Sauls continues to show the form that made him a third round draft choice of the Minnesota Twins coming out of high school. The junior has now taken over the number two spot in FSU’s rotation following Bryan Henry in the last three ACC series and at the ACC Tournament. Sauls opened 2005 as FSU’s Friday night starter. A bout with tendonitis shelved him for over a month and he is now pitching as well as he has all year. Sauls has yet to lose a game he has started this season. He is 6-1 with a 3.29 ERA and in his 12 starts the junior is 6-0 with a 2.97 ERA. As a starter, teams hit just .222 off him and in 57 2/3 innings he has allowed just nine extra base hits. Over the last five weeks Sauls has started against teams that were ranked No. 5 (Miami), No. 4 (Florida), No. 8 (North Carolina), No. 18 (NC State) and No. 7 (Georgia Tech) at the time of those games. In those games Sauls went 1-0 with a 3.91 ERA against the highest-ranked teams on FSU’s schedule in 2005. In his 15 appearances in 2005, Sauls has allowed either one or no earned runs 10 times. There have been only three occasions where Sauls has surrendered more than three earned runs and those were all four run outings. Two of those three appearances accounted for just 2/3 of an inning combined, which means Sauls has allowed eight of his 23 earned runs in just two outings that covered 2/3 of an inning. Without those two hiccups, Sauls’ ERA drops from 3.29 to 2.16 as he has allowed only 15 earned runs in his other 62 1/3 innings of work. Sauls has gotten into trouble with his control at points throughout the season. He is the only FSU pitcher to have more walks than strikeouts this season (29:27). His control has improved in his last six starts as he has issued 13 walks and struck out 14 batters. He enters the NCAA Regional after a masterful appearance versus Georgia Tech. Versus the Yellow Jackets in a winner’s bracket game at the ACC Championships, Sauls was brilliant in allowing just three hits and no runs in six innings to the seventh-ranked Jackets but the usually stellar Seminole pen couldn’t reel in the win for the junior. The Seminole bullpen lost a game for just the eighth time this season despite pitching in every game except for one. After pulling Sauls to start the seventh with a 4-0 lead the FSU relievers allowed five runs in the bottom of the inning.
Hunter Jones had worked his way back into the weekend rotation as the regular season came to a conclusion but had a rough start in the ACC Tournament. The left-handed junior lasted just 2 2/3 in a start versus Georgia Tech and surrendered nine runs. Jones was let down by his defense in the outing though as only two of the nine runs he surrendered were earned. He has now allowed four or more runs in each of his last four starts and three of his last five starts have lasted three innings or less. The Georgia Tech game was disappointing because Jones was coming off one of his best performances of the season in Raleigh, NC. Jones was scheduled to start versus NC State but when rain forced delays he started the resumed second game instead of starting the third game of the series. The junior went 5 1/3 and allowed just four hits and one run. He did not walk a batter and he fanned four. He is once again showing great control, which has been one of the strongest parts of his game as of late. In the last six outings covering 24 1/3 innings, Jones has walked just eight batters and struck out 23. Jones has a strikeout to walk ratio of almost 3:1 this season but opponents are hitting .304 against him. He is the only FSU starter who has an opponent batting average above .280. In his last six starts, Jones has not fared particularly well. He is 0-3 with an 8.50 ERA and teams are hitting .349 against him. He has also given up 10 extra base hits including four homers in those six starts. As one of just two leftie starters on the postseason roster, the FSU coaches will be hoping to see the type of performance they saw at NC State if FSU is to advance out of the Tallahassee Regional.
Barret Browning moved into a bullpen role after spending much of the season in the starting rotation and making more Friday night starts than anyone on the squad. The FSU coaching staff made the move of bringing Browning out of the pen so they could have another leftie at their disposal; however if the Seminoles need a starter in the regional, Browning could easily be the pitcher they call upon. This has been a tale of two seasons for the one-time ace of the staff. More than half way through the year Browning was 3-0 and leading FSU with a 1.71 ERA. He had made 10 starts and given up two earned runs or less in nine of those 10 starts. Since then Browning is 1-4 with a 7.04 ERA and he has given up four or more earned runs in four of his last five starts. He has given up a team-high 13 extra base hits in his last 11 outings including six home runs. He enters the NCAA Tournament off a rough relief outing versus Georgia Tech in the ACC Tournament. He went 3 1/3 and gave up six runs of which five were earned. He has recorded just 26 strikeouts in his last 11 appearances compared to 48 in the first 12 appearances of his career. In fact, in his four starts in March alone he recorded 25 K’s. It is easy to see why the coaches like using Browning out of the pen despite the one bump in the road versus Georgia Tech last weekend. In five of his last six appearances as a reliever, Browning has not allowed a run in seven innings of work while striking out 10 and issuing just four walks. He also had success against Auburn earlier this season when he came in from the pen and pitched four scoreless innings, striking out three and walking just one batter.
AUBURN: After opening the season with six-straight wins against Charleston Southern and VMI, a young Florida State squad got its first test of the year against the Auburn Tigers during a mid-February series.
An early knock on the Seminoles was their inability to score runs, but FSU had at least six runners cross the plate for the sixth time in seven games as the Tribe picked up a 7-3 win in the opener against the Tigers. The Florida State pitching staff was once again strong as they allowed just seven hits.
Florida State got on Auburn starter Arnold Hughey early as lead-off hitter Shane Robinson belted a solo home run in the Seminoles’ half of the first. The Tigers took a temporary lead in the second with a pair of runs, but FSU answered with one of its own in the second then took the lead for good with a two-spot in the fourth inning. A throwing error allowed Aaron Cheesman to score the first run then a sacrifice bunt by Bryan Henry – a regular for the Seminoles at the hot corner back then – plated Brant Peacher with the eventual winning run.
The four runs would be all starter Hunter Jones would need for his first victory of the year. After getting the nod in two previous games, the left-hander got his first win of the year during a five-inning outing that saw him surrender just two earned runs on five hits with seven strikeouts.
Eight of the nine starters picked up at least one hit, including Robinson, Gibbs Chapman and Ryne Malone who had two apiece. In the eighth, Malone tacked on a pair of insurance runs with a two-run shot to straight-away center field.
Game two of the series may be the one that Auburn thought got away. Florida State fielders committed five errors and the Tigers racked up ten hits but the Seminoles came away with the 6-5 victory on a game-winning fielder’s choice that traveled barely five feet.
The Tigers took control of the game with three runs in the second inning then two more in the fourth off FSU starter Brian Schultz. Down 5-1 in the bottom of the sixth inning, the Seminoles started to chip away at the lead with two runs in the frame. An RBI double by freshman Jack Rye plated Cheesman with the first run then Malone came around to score on a ground out by rookie Josh Spivey.
As the bullpen continued to keep the Tigers off the board thanks to strong performances from Barret Browning, Kevin Lynch and Matt DiBlasi, the hitters did their part to get FSU back in the game. Chapman delivered a single in the seventh to score Robinson then Tony Thomas Jr. crossed the plate on a single by rookie Ryne Jernigan.
After a scoreless ninth by reliever Tyler Chambliss – who got the victory – Cheesman led off the ninth with a single, then moved up to second on a wild pitch. A sacrifice bunt by Malone pushed the senior captain to third and brought up the newcomer Rye. Rye‘s swinging bunt barely made it beyond home plate but it was just enough to get a charging Cheesman past Auburn catcher Josh Bell for the victory.
While a sweep was on the minds of the Seminoles, it was not meant to be in the series finale. With the game 3-1 in Auburn‘s favor after FSU got on the board for the first time in the sixth when Henry was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, the Tigers erupted for six runs in the seventh and Florida State could not answer.
Twelve different players picked up at least one hit against Auburn during the three-game series with Malone, Robinson and Cheesman leading the way at four apiece. That trio, along with Henry and Rye were tops on the team with a pair of RBIs. As a team, the Seminoles hit .302 against Auburn with four extra base hits and 15 runs scored.
For the series, Florida State pitchers averaged almost eight strikeouts per game with Jones fanning seven on Friday and Michael Hyde collecting five more during his Sunday start. Uncharacteristic of the rest of the season, DiBlasi and Lynch were touched up by the Tigers in three appearances each as Auburn scored six runs on six hits with four walks.
SOUTH ALABAMA: The last time Florida State played South Alabama was in the 2003 NCAA regional in Tallahassee. South Alabama took the first game 8-6 on May 31 but the Seminoles would meet up with the Jaguars again a day later and win the following two games 13-5 and 12-2 to win the regional.
Three current Seminoles made appearances in 2003 against South Alabama. Danny Wardell is a name that South Alabama should remember as he hit two pinch hit home runs in each of the Seminoles victories. Wardell appeared as a pinch hitter in all three games and recorded a batting average of .667 (2×3) and a slugging percentage of 2.667 thanks to his two home runs. In FSU’s first victory Wardell entered the game as the lead off hitter in the eighth inning and hit a solo shot to left center. In the following game, that same day, Wardell would enter the game as a pinch hitter in the seventh inning with two outs and a runner on second and once again go yard but this time he went opposite field hitting the ball over the fence in right field.
Aaron Cheesman saw a little bit of action as he entered the first game on June 1 as a defensive replacement in the ninth inning. Kevin Lynch made his only appearance in the second game on June 1. Lynch pitched a scoreless eighth and ninth innings and only allowed one hit. Lynch also struck out two Jaguar hitters.
This will be the fourth time that South Alabama makes the trip to Tallahassee for a NCAA regional with the previous three times coming in 1987, 1995 and 2003. Florida State is 5-2 against South Alabama in those regional meetings. In the all-time series which dates back to 1969 Florida State holds the advantage against South Alabama 32-25-1. The Seminoles also hold the edge in Tallahassee as they are 21-13-1.
South Alabama comes into the regional on a roll after just winning their 11th Sun Belt Conference Tournament with a 9-2 victory over Middle Tennessee State. The Jaguars come in with a record of 35-25 and will meet Auburn in their first round game. Earlier this season the two schools met on a Tuesday, with South Alabama coming out on top 3-0.
David Freese comes into the NCAA tournament leading South Alabama with an average of .364. He is second on the team with six home runs and 46 RBIs. Josh Morgan has provided the power for the Jaguars all season long as he enters with 14 home runs, 48 RBIs and a .323 batting average. P.J. Walters has been South Alabama‘s most reliable pitcher having thrown 128 1/3 innings (32 innings more than any other Jaguar pitcher) and posting a record of 9-6 with a 4.14 ERA.
ARMY: Florida State will play Army for the second time in the NCAA baseball history. The first and only meeting between the two schools came in 1975 were Florida State was victorious in Miami at a tournament taking the game 7-4.
Army comes into the NCAA regional at Tallahassee with a record of 38-12. After getting off to a slow start, Army is 38-8 in their last 46 games and 18-2 in their last 20 games.
Army is led offensively by senior first baseman Gorham Walker. Walker is hitting .374, slugging .620 and has a .450 on base percentage. Walker leads the team with 10 home runs and is second with 40 RBIs. Sophomore short stop Kyle Scogin has been very productive for the Black Knights, as he leads the team with 43 RBIs and is second on the team with a .368 batting average.
The Black Knights ace, sophomore left-handed pitcher Nick Hill has been unhittable this season as he has posted a record of 10-1 with a 1.22 ERA and has held opposing hitters to just a .206 batting average. He has the second-lowest ERA in the nation entering the NCAA Tournament. He has tallied 89 strike outs to just 14 walks on the season in 81 innings pitched including four complete games.
Florida State and Army had one common opponent this season in Duke. Army went 1-2 against the Blue Devils as they lost the first game 3-13, won the second 8-6 and lost the third 2-3. Florida State went 2-1 against Duke winning the first two games 5-3, 11-4 and losing the last 8-7.
VERSUS THE FIELD
A lot was made of Florida State‘s schedule throughout the season but after seeing the 64-team NCAA Tournament field it is hard to argue that the schedule was anything but tough. First of all the Seminoles played 31 of their 68 games versus the NCAA Tournament field and they posted a record of 18-13 in those games. That means that almost 46% of FSU’s 2005 schedule was played against the NCAA Tournament field. Of those 31 games, 16 were played in Tallahassee where FSU dominated the regional competition going 12-4. The Seminoles played eight games versus national seeds (Florida and Georgia Tech) and 14 games versus teams seeded No. 1 in their regional (Miami, Clemson, Florida and Georgia Tech). Florida State played nine series (three or more games) against teams in the NCAA Tournament and FSU won five of those nine series against regional teams including one over a national seed (Florida). The Seminoles are tied for the second-most wins of any team in the NCAA Tournament (50)
REASON FOR OPTIMISM
Despite the fact that FSU’s run in the ACC Tournament finished on a sour note (18-2 loss to Georgia Tech), there were plenty of positives to come out of the tournament. The run to the semifinals was the 14th straight appearance in the ACC final four for the Seminoles and there were some great individual performances along the way. First off would be the play of Jack Rye. Rye, who was the only Seminole named to the All-ACC Tournament team, had a great tournament. The freshman hit .462 and slugged .692 for the week. He was on base 50% of the time and he led the team with three doubles. Rye‘s performance at the ACC Tournament shouldn’t be surprising when you consider what the outfielder has done over the last 20 games. Since April 29, Rye has hit .349, which is the third-highest average on the team. He is second on the squad with five doubles in that span and his .455 on base percentage is fourth-best on the team.
Another reason for optimism is the way FSU’s starters pitched in the tournament. In the first three games of the ACC Baseball Championships, FSU starters were 2-0 with a 0.45 ERA in 20 innings pitched. Every Seminole starter registered a quality start in those three games. FSU pitchers had not put together three straight quality starts since March 25. Overall, FSU had posted three or more quality starts in a row just two times all season before the tournament. Coming into the ACC Tournament, FSU had recorded three quality starts in their last 12 outings. The Seminole staff also did one other thing they have not done in a while. Although the final score versus Wake Forest was 7-3, all three runs were unearned. The last time FSU went an entire game without allowing an earned run was April 2 against Clemson, a stretch of 32 games. Even when you factor in the outing versus Georgia Tech in the semifinal game, the Seminole starters (Bryan Henry, Mark Sauls, Michael Hyde and Hunter Jones) combined to post an earned run average of just 1.19 in the ACC Tournament.
WHAT A YEAR
It really is hard to fully illustrate the type of season Shane Robinson has put together in 2005. The USA Today/SportsWeekly first team All-American garnered numerous headlines for his FSU record 40-game hit streak but the sophomore outfielder has been producing all season long for Florida State. Robinson was a candidate for all four national player of the year honors and is a semifinalist for the Brooks Wallace Award and Dick Howser Trophy. He is the first player in FSU history to record 100 hits and steal 40 bases in the same season and he was the first player in the nation to reach the 100-hit plateau this year.
He leads the nation in runs scored and is the only player in America over 90 in that category. Robinson is second in the nation in hits and at bats, third in steals and in the top five for batting average, on base percentage and doubles. The sophomore is the only player in America in the top five in every one of the following categories: on base percentage, average, runs, hits and doubles. He is also ninth in the nation in total bases.
Just like he did on the national stage, Robinson dominated the ACC as well. He currently leads the ACC in batting average by 17 points and has more hits, runs, stolen bases and total bases than any player in the conference. He is first in the ACC in on base percentage and fourth in slugging despite being FSU’s lead-off hitter.
FSU has played 68 games this season and in 57% of those games (39), Robinson has recorded two or more hits. He has only been held hitless six times in 68 games meaning in over 91% of FSU’s games this season Robinson has recorded a hit. There has only been one game all season long where Robinson did not reach base in one way or another. He is now tied for fifth for single season hits at FSU with 118 and Robinson has scored 91 runs, which means the outfielder has accounted for 20% of Florida State‘s 461 runs single-handedly.
COMING THROUGH IN A LYNCH
Senior relief pitcher Kevin Lynch has gotten Florida State out of more bases loaded jam this season then you can count on one hand. Lynch has entered the game for Florida State on ten different occasions with the bases juiced and got the Seminoles out of the jam without allowing a run to score seven times including six in a row.
Lynch’s streak of six began on February 23 against Stetson and was ended against Miami April 23. Lynch appeared against Stetson, Hawaii-Pacific, Hawaii, Virginia Tech, Clemson and Miami all with the bases loaded and got out of each one with out allowing a run to score. During that period Lynch appeared in those six games with two outs in the inning five times and zero outs once. Lynch recorded a combine four strike outs to get the Seminoles out of those six bases loaded jams. After Lynch’s streak came to an end against Miami he went right back to work against Maryland when he entered the game with one out in the eighth and the bases loaded and proceed to get the first hitter he saw to hit into a double play.
Against Auburn he allowed one run to score on a fielder’s choice. Against St. Joes’s Lynch would have been able to get out of the inning if not for some bad luck. The first batter Lynch faced hit a ball to third that was ruled an error but allowed a run to score. Against Miami when his streak of six came to an end as two runs scored thanks to a fielder’s choice and an error.
Lynch has entered the game with the bases loaded and gotten the Seminoles out of the jam twice in the fourth, once in the fifth, three times in the sixth and once in the eighth.
HERE HE COMES TO SAVE THE DAY
An appearance by ace reliever Tyler Chambliss is a welcome sign for the Seminoles. The sophomore is on the NCBWA Stopper of the Year watch list and he enters the NCAA Tournament second in the nation with 14 saves. Seventy-two (28-of-36) percent of the time that the right-hander has entered the game, Florida State has come away with a victory. In 21 of those appearances, the Live Oak native has come away with a save (14) or victory (7). The sophomore is just 3.1 innings short of making his way on the NCAA strikeouts per nine innings list where his rate of 12.92 would place him fourth in the nation. Chambliss has done some of his best work when the game is on the line as he has only allowed seven of the 20 runners he has inherited to score.
WALKING AWAY WITH A WIN
One of the trademarks of the 2005 Seminole baseball team has been its ability to win close games despite being such a young team. FSU is 17-6 in games decided by one or two runs for a .739 winning percentage. That means this young Seminole team has won a higher percentage of close games (one or two runs) than they have in all the other games on their schedule (33-12 .733). Not only has FSU won close games they have won games in dramatic fashion. Florida State has won nine games this season in their final at bat and six have been walk-off wins. One of the earliest walk-off wins of the 2005 season came against Tallahassee Regional participant Auburn. Three of Florida State‘s six walk-off wins have come against North Carolina and the other three came against VMI, Auburn and Clemson.
SCRIFICE FOR THE TEAM
It is hard to illustrate the kind of leader that fifth-year senior Aaron Cheesman is. The catcher is a two-time captain and already half way done pursuing his master’s degree. He is a post-graduate scholarship winner and has finished a double major in undergraduate studies. He is the consummate team player who will do anything that is asked of him. There is no stat more telling of that than sacrifices and Cheesman leads the team in that category with 21, seven more than anyone else on the squad. The Sarasota, FL native has already set a record for sacrifices in a season breaking the record of 19 set almost two decades ago (1986). Now he is about to etch his name in the record books as the most selfless player in school history. He is just one sacrifice away from tying the career record of 35 set by Mike Martin, Jr. from 1993-1995.
IT HAS BEEN GOOD
Despite a few lapses in the ACC Tournament, the biggest surprise with the 2005 edition of Seminole baseball has to be the team’s fielding. Florida State has started freshmen exclusively all season long at second and short and a first year player at third for half the season yet the team’s .967 fielding percentage is the best in a decade. The last squad to field the ball better than this year’s Seminoles was the 1994 team that posted a fielding percentage of .973. In fact since 1975, only three FSU baseball teams have posted a higher fielding percentage than the 2005 club.