March 30, 2005
Tallahassee, FL – It is hard to imagine anything eclipsing a match-up between Florida State and Florida especially when both teams are ranked in the top 10 but not even the colossal meeting tonight at Dick Howser has overshadowed “the streak”. National Player of the Year candidate Shane Robinson returns to Dick Howser Stadium tonight for the first time since setting the FSU hit streak record, which has now ballooned to 37 games. But in Robinson’s mind the streak is no longer a topic worthy of discussion.
“The streak really isn’t on my mind anymore,” said Robinson. “The big games were Jacksonville to tie the record and Duke to break it. That’s where the pressure was. Now that I have passed 34 I am just going out there and playing like I usually do. There really is no more pressure on me now than there was before. I am not thinking about the streak anymore.”
What the center fielder is thinking about is the match-up with the seventh-ranked Gators (19-7). Florida comes in to the single game fresh off a series win over then-No. 6 South Carolina. Florida has won three of its last four games and is 7-3 in its last 10 outings. They have already taken two of three from No. 8 Miami and will continue their quest for the unofficial state title tonight at 6:00 p.m.
“Watching Florida on TV we know how good they are and what they can bring to the table,” said Robinson. “It is a big rivalry and it is obviously a big game nationally. It should be exciting.”
Florida has won the last three of four games but the Seminoles have won the last six of nine including the last four games played in Tallahassee. The series dates back to 1956 and the two teams have played at least once every year since. The home team has won the last seven games in the series and the last time the Gators won in Dick Howser Stadium was February 18, 2001.
“It is always a good match-up between us and Florida,” said Robinson. “I think we need to come out and try to score early because we really haven’t been scoring runs until the later innings of games. I think getting runs early and not making any errors will be the biggest keys to the game. We have been losing games with errors and mistakes that other teams have been capitalizing on. If we play error free and get some runs on the board, we will give ourselves a chance to win.”
While Robinson is focused on the game, the national and local media are still talking about the hitting streak. Robinson’s run has garnered him national attention, along with his .488 batting average. Since the start of the season he has been the subject of feature stories by Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball Newspaper. He has been named a National Player of the Year candidate by the Brooks Wallace Award and Baseball America on top of ACC Player of the Week honors and a National Baseball Foundation Honor Roll selection.
If he were able to record hits in the four games this week, one versus UF and three versus Clemson, the center fielder would tie the ACC hitting streak record set in 1965-66 by Clemson’s Rusty Adkins.
“Now I am just focused on coming out and playing my game,” said Robinson. “If I can keep it alive, that would be awesome. I will see how far I can go with it but I need to just concentrate on coming out and helping this team win each day. I know it will be a letdown for me and the fans when it comes to an end but the streak is not a priority. Winning is.
“When I approach the ACC streak I might start to think about again if I am fortunate enough to get there but until then I will just go out and approach everyday the same way.”
Game Tracker will be available for tonight’s game along with Steve Melewski’s live radio broadcast available on WFLA locally and on the Internet at seminoles.com.
Florida State resumes ACC play with Clemson over the weekend. Saturday Mike Martin Field at Dick Howser Stadium will be dedicated. A ceremony in the legendary coach’s honor will begin at approximately 7:00 p.m.