March 24, 2006
Tallahassee, FL – The story of the night Friday was Seminole ace Bryan Henry. The junior flirted with the first no-hitter for No. 1 FSU since February 18, 1998 as he entered the ninth inning without a hit or a walk. The only Duke batter to reach base in the first eight innings got on via an error but the Tallahassee native was unable to finish off the no-hitter giving up a single to open the ninth. Henry still picked up the win improving to 7-0 as he won his seventh consecutive ACC start leading top-ranked FSU (23-2, 6-1) to a 7-2 victory over Duke (8-19, 1-6).
“It was crazy,” said Henry of his close call with history. “I kept looking up there (at the scoreboard) and there was still a zero after the fourth and the sixth. I was like `no way’. I just went out there and tried not to change anything. The defense did a great job. They took a couple of hits away from them. I didn’t change anything or put any pressure on myself. If it was going to happen it was going to happen.”
“It was the most exciting thing and it was just a shame it didn’t happen,” said FSU Head Coach Mike Martin. “I don’t think there is another event in all of baseball that is more exciting than a no-hitter. Bryan Henry created tremendous excitement in this stadium tonight and I am just very proud to be a part of it.”
Henry was masterful once again Friday night as he won his 14th consecutive regular season decision. He threw 113 pitches in 8 2/3 innings of which 80 were strikes. He did not issue a free pass while fanning a career high 12 batters. He has now struck out 60 batters and walked only seven on the season, matching his number of wins.
“I am kind of upset about the runs but I had command and felt good out there today,” said Henry. “It was fun. Now I go back to work and get ready to get after it next week.”
“He was awesome tonight,” said FSU catcher Danny Diaz. “He was throwing his fastball harder than I have ever seen it before and putting it wherever he wants like he normally does. He was throwing a good curve. You have to give a lot of credit to the defense. Buster (Posey) made a couple great plays, (Ryan) Strauss made a great catch. Everyone played a great game today.”
Of the 26 outs recorded when Henry was in the game, 12 came on strikeouts and nine came via ground balls. Strauss made a great play on a foul out down the left field line and only three other outs came on fly balls. Posey made a couple of great plays to keep the no-hitter alive throughout the game after an early throwing error put the perfect game out of reach.
“It was a lot of fun tonight,” said FSU shortstop Buster Posey. “You could start to feel the tension in the air. You don’t say anything about the no-hitter but me and (second baseman) Tony (Thomas, Jr.) were both saying we are laying out for anything within 30 feet of us. It was a lot of fun.”
Henry’s win ran his career record to 16-3 and he has now recorded 14 quality starts. His K:BB ratio is nearing 9:1. The single season record at FSU is 6:1. He is now 8-1 as a starter in ACC games with a 1.89 ERA.
“This was a beautifully pitched game tonight,” said Martin. “Eighty strikes in 113 pitches is obviously dominating stuff. Bryan has been a great addition to our club. I am disappointed because of `what ifs’.”
Eight of Florida State’s nine starters recorded hits in the game staking Henry to the 7-0 lead. Shane Robinson led off two innings with hits and scored three runs. Jack Rye and Dennis Guinn combined to go four-for-nine with five RBIs. Posey and Thomas each recorded multi-hit games as well.
The Seminoles got off to a good start versus Duke starter Danny Otero (4-2) who had limited Miami and Maryland to just one earned run in previous starts this season. Robinson started things with a solid single and then moved to third on a steal and a throwing error. Rye drove the run home on an infield single down the first base line for the 1-0 lead
Florida State was back in the business in the bottom of the second. Posey’s lead-off single was followed by a Thomas double putting runners on second and third. Otero got the first out via a K before walking the bases loaded. Otero got a big out on his second strikeout of the frame and should have been out of the inning but an error allowed the second run of the game to come home. Rye then made Duke pay for the mistake as he singled home two more runs. Guinn then drove in his 37th run of the season on a single to left field making it a 5-0 game.
Gildea opened the fourth with a double into the gap in right. Otero got the first out on his fourth K of the night and then a ground out moved Gildea to third. Otero hit Rye putting runners on the corners but got out of the jam on a ground ball to short.
FSU worked itself into a potential two-out rally after it looked like they would strand Ryne Malone following a lead-off single. Strauss got on with a slow roller to third and then Mark Gildea was hit by a pitch to load the bases again but the Duke hurler got out of the fifth unscathed as the threat ended on a fly ball to right.
Robinson led off another inning with a hit and then went on to steal the 82nd base of his career, tied for the sixth-most ever by Seminole. Robinson went on to swipe third and Guinn brought him home knocking in his 38th RBI of the season as the lead grew to 6-0. An infield hit by Posey put another runner on and then Thomas drove in the seventh run on a bouncer to the right side.
Henry lost the no-hit bid in the top of the ninth as he gave up back-to-back singles to start the inning. After striking out his career-best 11th batter of the night, Henry hit the next batter to load the bases. Henry rung up his 12th strikeout victim before losing the shutout on a two-run single. That brought Brian Chambers into the game as the junior closed down the Blue Devil threat.
“I made a lot of good pitches in the ninth, I don’t know I guess I wasn’t making the pitches I made earlier in the game,” said Henry. “I guess I had a little extra adrenaline but that happens. Now I have another week to work on everything.”
Florida State continues conference play versus Duke Saturday at 6:00 p.m. 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.