Feb. 20, 2005
Tallahassee, FL – Although it was closer than the first two meetings, the FSU baseball team once again scored double digit runs in completing a sweep of St. Joe’s (0-6) by virtue of a 10-7 victory Sunday. The win moved No. 11 FSU to 11-1 on the season and the Seminoles have now won each of their first four series, including three sweeps. Junior Barret Browning (2-0) picked up the win and Danny Wardell and Gibbs Chapman each recorded three RBIs. Shane Robinson tripled for FSU upping his hit streak to 12 games in 2005 and 17 games dating back to last season.
“Really we just took this club too lightly when we got a 9-2 lead,” said FSU head coach Mike Martin. “We acted like the game was over. When you have played a team twice previously and won by a wide margin, players have a tendency to take the opponent lightly. That is my mistake. The veterans on this club know anything can happen. This game teaches you that you better not take any team for granted.”
Offensively, FSU scored 10-plus runs for the third straight game over St. Joe’s and for fifth time this season. Wardell, making his first start since 2004, came through going 3-for-5 with a home run and three RBIs. He tied career highs for at bats and hits in a game.
“It was exciting to get a chance to play and make my first start of the year,” said Wardell. “I just wanted to prove myself. I am a senior and I want to get a chance to play in my final year. I am a different player than last year. It is hard to explain but my mentality is different this year and I feel completely different.”
Five different Seminole batters drove in runs Sunday and seven of the nine RBIs came from the top five batters in the line-up. Robinson and Malone each scored two runs on the day and freshman short stop Ryne Jernigan hit his first career home run.
“Right now things are going really good with the top of our line-up,” said Malone. “When guys are getting on in front of you, it just makes things so much easier. Especially with the way Shane is getting on base.”
Junior transfer Browning recorded his longest outing of the year but also gave up his first runs of the season. In six innings, Browning allowed eight hits and issued four walks while striking out two batters.
“Barret made the pitches when he needed to make them but he did not pitch well,” said Martin. “I want to see him win a job. One inning he looks like a world-beater and the next inning he struggles. I just want to see some consistency from him. This guy can pitch. Once he gets into a good rhythm he looks beautiful. But some of the pitches he threw today, he will not get away with against Miami, Florida, Georgia Tech, North Carolina and on and on. He will learn. He will get better but man he made some quality pitches today. If he can pitch like that consistently, he is liable to start pitching on Friday night.”
Robinson once again got FSU off to a good start in the first when he drew a walk, stole second and then moved to third on a passed ball. Chapman then plated the run with a sacrifice fly to center field as the Seminoles went up 1-0 without even recording their first hit of the game. Malone came up and recorded FSU’s first hit and then moved to second on a passed ball and to third on a wild pitch. Wardell then drove the run in with a single to left field.
Florida State added to its lead in the second. Jernigan started things off with a single into right field. Thomas was then hit by a pitch putting runners on first and second. Robinson followed with a chopper to third that the St. Joe defense wasn’t able to handle allowing a run to score. Gibbs Chapman then singled home two more runs with a shot into right field putting FSU in front 5-0.
The Hawks fought their way back into the game in the top of the fourth when they touched Browning for two runs, the first runs the junior has given up all season. The big hit was a two-out double off the wall in center field cutting the Seminole lead to 5-2.
Browning got into his first real jam in the fifth as St. Joe’s loaded the bases but Malone ended the threat by snaring a line drive and stepping on first to end the inning with a double play.
Malone led off the bottom of the fifth with his third hit of the day and his second double. Wardell followed with a towering home run to left field putting FSU in front 7-2. It was the 12th career homer for Wardell. Bryan Henry doubled off new pitcher Mark Imbo, who relieved starter Robert Unkel (0-2), and Ruairi O’Connor drove him in with FSU’s fourth straight extra base hit of the inning. The lead grew to 9-2 on Robinson’s sac fly.
“I was sitting on a fastball and he gave it to me,” said Wardell of the pitch he hit out of the park. “It was on the inner third and was the pitch I was looking for. I had the chance to hit it.”
Glen Simon relieved Browning in the top of the seventh and walked the first two batters he faced and then went 2-0 on the next batter. That brought Kevin Lynch into the game and he lost the hitter to load the bases with nobody out. An error, a wild pitch and a single allowed St. Joe’s to score four more runs and cut the Florida State lead to 9-6.
Jernigan helped FSU get one of the runs back in the bottom of the seventh when he sent a 2-1 pitch over the fence in left and into the visitor’s bullpen. It was the 10th run of the game for FSU and marked the third straight game FSU had scored double digit runs.
The Hawks did not give up in the ninth cutting the score to 10-7 and brining the tying run to the plate but FSU closer Tyler Chambliss recorded the final out and picked up his third save of the season.
The Seminoles hit the road for the first time this season when they travel to Deland, FL for a two game set with Stetson. Tuesday’s game is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. and Wednesday the teams will play at 3:00 p.m. Game Tracker will be available for both contests along with a live radio broadcast available on WFLA locally and on the Internet at seminoles.com.