March 14, 2006 - by
GAMEDAY CENTRAL: New No. 1 FSU Hosts Winthrop Tonight At 6:00 p.m.

March 14, 2006

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This will be just the fifth meeting ever between Florida State and Winthrop and the first since 1995. The Seminoles lead the all-time series 3-1 with all four games being played in Tallahassee. The Eagles previous two trips to Tallahassee were for two game sets in 1993 and 1995. This year they will come to town for just one game. The last time the teams met in 1995 Winthrop took the first game 2-1 in 11 innings and then FSU turned around and recorded the first shutout in the series winning 6-0. That season Winthrop made its first of four NCAA Tournament appearances. Last season the Eagles were a No. 2 seed playing in Tennessee. This is the third time this season FSU is facing a team from the Big South having swept three-game sets from UNC Asheville and Charleston Southern already. The last time FSU lost to a Big South school was February 27, 2004 versus Asheville. That is one of just two losses ever for FSU versus a Big South team. Overall, Florida State is 61-2 lifetime against current Big South conference members.



TUESDAY: Barret Browning was scheduled to start Sunday versus Maryland but was held until Tuesday due to the lack of left-handers in the Terp order. Browning is coming off his best start of the season. His last time out, Browning gave up just one run and one walk while fanning five in a win over Brown. It was the fewest runs he had given up in a start since May 7, 2004 versus Maryland when he went five innings and gave up just one run. Browning has shown he gets better the more he pitches this season and has won each of his last three starts. In the first inning he has posted an ERA of 2.25 but that number jumps to 11.25 in the second and 4.25 in the third. If the senior left-hander can get through those opening frames he has shown he can be dominant as evidenced by his 0.00 ERA in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings. The most impressive improvement for the Jessup, GA native over the last two weeks has been his control. After walking six and striking out six in his first two starts, Browning has issued just three walks and struck out 10 batters in the last two games. His 3.66 ERA is the fourth-best on the team but the seven doubles he has surrendered and the .318 opponent batting average are concerns. Maybe even more concerning is the fact that left-handed batters are hitting .400 versus the southpaw.



Winthrop will be one of the toughest mid-week opponents on the FSU schedule this season. The Eagles have already won two road series versus top 25 teams (Miami and Alabama) and swept a series versus an ACC opponent (Duke). Since the two teams haven’t met in over a decade, it is hard to know exactly what to expect this weekend but there are a lot of similarities statistically so far. Not only are the two teams coming off weekend sweeps of ACC teams but the squads have each played an exact number of games. In 19 games both teams have 212 hits and have batting averages separated by less than five points. FSU has a slight edge in each of the extra base hit categories and a lead of more than 30 points in slugging percentage. The Seminoles have scored 46 more runs, drawn more walks but also struck out more as well. Both teams have almost the same number of stolen bases while the FSU pitching staff has an edge in ERA by almost three-quarters of a run.


Strictly By The Numbers

2006        FSU        WIN

Games    19            19

Avg.       .329         .325

Runs       176          130

Hits         212          212

Dbls        43            38

Trpls       7              6

HRs        23            20

RBIs       165          122

Slg %      .525         .493

BB           110          89

K             113          96

SB           36            38

ERA        2.84         3.55



FSU Head Coach Mike Martin wants his team to be No. 1 in the only poll that matters, the final one but for the first time in 53 Collegiate Baseball polls dating May 26, 2003 the Seminoles are back on top. Florida State, by virtue of an 18-1 record and a 15-game win streak, jumped over Georgia Tech and into the top spot in this week’s poll. Florida State has had a long history of No. 1 rankings. This is the 26th week since 1999 FSU has been ranked first in the nation by Collegiate Baseball, which is more than any other program in the nation. No other program has even reached the 20 week mark. Only Texas (18), Miami (17), Rice (17) and Stanford (15) have even done it 15 times. No ACC team has been ranked No. 1 more times than FSU since 2002 and only Clemson has spent even half as many weeks at No. 1. The Tigers have been No. 1 eight times, Miami five times and Georgia Tech twice.


Most CB No. 1’s Since 1999

Florida State         26

Texas                      18

Rice                        17

Miami                     17

Stanford                 15

Tulane                    10

Clemson                 10



When your program is as successful as Florida State has been over almost 50 years, you always have a bull’s eye on your back. That target gets even bigger when you are sporting a No. 1 ranking. Florida State has shown it can handle the pressure. The Seminoles have never fallen from the top spot in the Collegiate Baseball poll just one week after climbing to No. 1. On three occasions FSU spent two weeks at No. 1 before dropping but on every other occasion the Seminoles have spent three or more weeks as the country’s top program in America’s oldest collegiate baseball poll. If the Seminoles are able to hold on for one more week, they will celebrate their 300th consecutive Collegiate Baseball ranking at No. 1.



Coming into 2006 there were high expectations for the Seminole pitching staff and it looks like the group is living up to the preseason hype. There is still a long way to go in 2006 but the staff’s ERA of 2.84 would stack up among the best ever if it was to hold up. In the last 30 years, only three FSU teams have posted a sub-3.00 ERA. One of the most amazing stats being posted by this group so far involves the starting pitching. FSU has started four different pitchers this season, the fewest pitchers to start a game through 19 contests in the last four years. It is hard to make an argument for starting anyone else when Bryan Henry, Tyler Chambliss, Barret Browning and Michael Hyde have combined to go 16-0 so far in 2006. Hyde did pick up another win but it came in relief. The last time the Seminoles went 19 games without having a single pitcher who started a game get a loss was 2003 but those six starters aren’t off to the type of start the 2006 group is as far as wins. In 2003, those six starters went 14-0 through 19 games. It has been almost 30 years since FSU starters went 16-0 in the first 19 games of a season. In 1978 the Seminoles started out 18-1 in their first 19 games and with starting pitchers picking up 17 wins. This year’s Seminole starters have a 2.49 ERA and 113 K’s compared to just 37 walks.



Florida State is off to another great start. FSU enters Tuesday night’s game with Winthrop sporting a new No. 1 ranking that goes along with a gaudy 18-1 record. For the second consecutive season FSU has started a season by winning 18 of its first 19 games. This is the first time in program history the Seminoles have gone this far with just one loss in back-to-back seasons. Last season the Seminoles got to 22-1 before suffering their second loss of the year. The record for the best run before suffering a second loss was set in 1968 when that squad went 24-1 before losing two in a row at Florida.  After starting the season 3-1, FSU has now won 15 straight games. With Georgia Tech’s loss to Virginia, FSU is sporting the longest win streak in the nation entering the week. The record win streak was set back in 2002 when that squad won 25 games. Only six other teams in American have a double digit win streak as of Monday March 13. That isn’t the only streak going for FSU. With one more win the Seminoles will set the school record for consecutive home wins with their 27th in a row. It is kind of hard to keep them all straight.



Win Streak: 15 (school record is 25 set in 2002)

Home Win Streak: 26 (ties the school record set by three teams)

Win Streak Vs. Maryland: 27 (current streak is the longest)

Best Start: 18-1 (record is 24-1 and set by the 1968 squad)



1968        24-1

1970        23-1

2005        22-1

1982        21-1

2003        19-1

2006       18-1

1975        18-1

1956        14-1

1972        14-1

1986        14-1



While FSU kept quite a few streaks alive this weekend there were two very impressive streaks that came to an end. In Friday night’s game Bryan Henry’s incredible streak of 27 2/3 shutout innings came to a close. Henry, who had never been a part of a shutout in his FSU career prior to 2006, was a part of three in a row as he did not allow a run to UNC Asheville, Minnesota and Brown. He then made it to the seventh inning in the series opener versus Maryland before giving up another run. That streak was the longest by a starter since 1970 when Gene Ammann went 41 consecutive without allowing a run. Although a starter hadn’t gone that long without allowing a run in over three decades, a reliever had done it much more recently. In 2002 Daniel Hodges went 33 2/3 scoreless and he did it over 25 appearances.  Dennis Guinn managed to stretch his own impressive streak through the first two games of the Maryland series but on Sunday the sophomore did not record a hit or drive in a run. It was the first time in 14 games that Guinn did not have a hit or an RBI in a contest. There is no FSU or NCAA record to compare Guinn’s streak to but what is for sure is that Guinn’s 14-game run coincided perfectly with FSU’s 14 game win streak. While the first baseman may have lost his streak Sunday he was pleased the win streak reached 15 even without an RBI.



Too pretty special things happened in the last week and a half and they both involved the number 15 and they both took place on Saturday’s. The biggest was Tyler Chambliss’ performance Saturday night when the junior fanned 15 Terrapin batters. It was the most strikeouts by a Seminole pitcher since April 26, 1997 when Randy Choate fanned 15 Maryland batters as well. The last time an FSU pitcher fanned more than 15 batters was in 1994 when Paul Wilson struck out 16 in a game versus College Of Charleston. Amazingly, eight Seminole hurlers have fanned more than 15 batters in a game but Wilson is the only one to do it since 1969. In fact, Chambliss, Wilson and Choate are the only Seminole pitchers to K 15 or more batters since 1970.


    Name                         Date              Opponent                       SO
 1. Tony Avitable         3/16/1956    FURMAN                      24
 2. Wayne Vincent       4/13/1966     FURMAN  20
 3. Howard Calhoun     3/29/1948    MISSISSIPPI COL        19
    Gene Ammann         4/07/1969     FURMAN                19
 5. Wayne Vincent       3/20/1967     GEORGIA               18
    Steve Mastin            3/19/1968     GEORGIA               18
 7. Gene Ammann        5/15/1968     JACKSONVILLE           16
    Paul Wilson              3/10/1994     CHARLESTON             16
 9. Howard Calhoun     5/07/1948    GEORGIA TEACH        15
    Wayne Vincent        5/11/1967     JACKSONVILLE           15
    Pat Osburn               3/25/1970     NEW YORK                   15
    Randy Choate          4/26/1997     MARYLAND                15
    Tyler Chambliss           3/11/2006 MARYLAND                15


Last Saturday the Seminoles had another impressive stat involving the number 15 but it couldn’t have been more opposite of what happen with Chambliss’ 15. In the second game of the Brown series, FSU scored 15 runs in the fifth inning which is the second-most ever scored by an FSU team in one frame. The record for runs in an inning was set in 1982 and 1992 and is 16 runs. Versus Brown the Seminoles recorded 10 of their 17 hits in the bottom of the fifth. Four players had multiple hits in the inning alone and Buster Posey and Tony Thomas, Jr. each had three at bats in the wild fifth. Ryne Malone tied an NCAA Record with two homers in the frame and three players record multiple hits in the inning. Twenty batters came to the plate for the Seminoles and there were three homeruns.



The 2006 Seminole hitters are off to a pretty amazing start. The team is batting .329 and slugging .525, which is the best slugging percentage in the ACC this season. It is way to early to project those numbers out considering FSU still has series remaining versus three teams (Georgia Tech, Clemson and North Carolina) ranked in the top five, two series versus ranked teams (NC State and Miami), a series versus a team on the verge of being ranked (Wake Forest) and mid-weeks versus Top 25 teams in Winthrop and Florida. But to put into perspective just how good this offensive start is, the last FSU team to finish a season with a batting average above .329 was the 1985 team and the last one to slug above .525 was the 1999 squad. Mike Martin, Jr. deserves a lot of credit for those numbers but they are a product of the plate discipline his batters are showing in 2006. The last Seminole team to finish a season with more walks than strikeouts was the 1990 club and since then only one team has come within even 35 strikeouts of equaling the number of walks drawn that same season. Entering the Winthrop game, this team has struck out 113 times and drawn 110 walks. Nobody has been a better example of that than Jack Rye. The sophomore has struck out just two times in 61 at bats while earning 20 free passes.



Tyler Chambliss: Right-hander Tyler Chambliss had the best start of his career throwing a complete game and striking out a career high 15 Terrapin batters. It was the most strikeouts by a Seminole pitcher since April 26, 1997 when Randy Choate fanned 15 Maryland batters as well. It was the first complete game of Chambliss’ career and the first by a Seminole in the regular season since May of 2004. Chambliss set career highs for innings pitched (nine), strikeouts (15) and pitches (123). He walked just two batters and gave up seven hits and two runs in nine innings of work. The complete game was the first by a Seminole since June 4, 2005 when Bryan Henry went the distance in the NCAA Tallahassee Regional versus Auburn.


Shane Robinson: Shane Robinson set the table for FSU all week as the second-ranked Seminoles went 4-0, increased their win streak to 15 games, swept their opening ACC series and tied a school record with their 26th consecutive home win. Robinson hit in every game last week and scored a run in every game as well. He led FSU in runs, hits, triples, homeruns, total bases, slugging percentage, walks and on base percentage. He hit .429 with runners on base last week, .400 with runners in scoring position, .500 with the bases empty and reached base 50% of the time when leading off an inning. He had three of FSU’s eight extra base hits as he collected a double, triple and homer in the four games.


Michael Hyde: Hyde won two of Florida State’s four games last week as he pitched the Seminoles past Mercer Tuesday night and then secured FSU’s sweep of Maryland with another victory Sunday. Overall Hyde worked 11 innings last week and gave up just eight hits. He struck out six, walked four, allowed three runs and posted a 2.45 ERA. Mercer and Maryland hit just .133 versus Hyde with runners on base and lefties hit just .182 off the Tallahassee native.


Luke Tucker: Junior closer Luke Tucker picked up the first two conference saves of his Seminole career as he picked up his third and fourth saves as the Seminoles swept a weekend ACC series from Maryland. Tucker pitched three innings last week, allowed just one hit, did not walk a batter and fanned three. After a perfect inning of work in a win over mercer, Tucker secured two wins over the Terps as FSU swept the weekend series. Opposing teams went 0-for-4 versus Tucker with runners on base as he doubled his season save total in just one weekend.


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