May 10, 2005
Tallahassee, FL – It wasn’t as lopsided as the final score indicated but the 11th-ranked FSU baseball team will take it. The Seminoles, now 42-14 on the year and tied for the most victories in the nation, picked up their sixth straight win and have now won eight of their last nine games thanks to Tuesday night’s 9-5 victory over Stetson. Three Seminoles had multi-RBI games and Brian Chambers (2-0) picked up the win thanks to his one inning of relief work. Tyler Chambliss came in and hammered home the win as he picked up his 14th save of the year and moved into first place all alone as the NCAA’s saves leader.
“That was a very good ballgame for us,” said FSU head coach Mike Martin. “I thought we showed a lot of poise. When you go ahead of someone 5-0 and then they come back and tie it up, it shows a lot about the character of this team to get the win.”
The Seminoles were led by Ryne Malone offensively who went 3-for-3 with three runs scored and two RBIs as he reached base all five times he came up thanks to two walks. Gibbs Chapman tied a career high with two doubles in the game and his two RBIs increased his team leading total to 53. Senior captain Aaron Cheesman drove in two runs and increased his streak to 35 at bats without a strikeout.
The talk of the night was Chambliss though. The sophomore came in and threw 1 1/3, allowed one hit and struck out one in picking the save. He lowered his ERA to 1.69 on the season and he has now struck out 38 batters and issued just eight walks. Chambliss is just four saves away from tying the FSU single season record set by Mac Scarce in 1971.
“What Tyler is doing is very impressive,” said Martin. “He has done an outstanding job for us. Tyler enjoys getting out there and competing and he has played a big role in the success our team has enjoyed this year.”
“It was a goal of mine coming into the year to lead the ACC and the nation in saves,” said Chambliss. “I am trying not to get caught up in the chase but I have people letting me know how the other guys are doing.”
After FSU starter Hunter Jones set down the Hatters in the top of the first, Shane Robinson opened the game with his 23rd double of the season. The All-American candidate moved to third on a passed ball and then after getting ahead of Malone 0-2, Hatter starter Cy McCuen walked the sophomore to put runners on the corners. McCuen then walked Chapman on four straight pitches to load the bases. A wild pitch made it a 1-0 game and then a Cheesman sac fly put FSU up 2-0. Another sac fly, this one off the bat of Danny Wardell, made it a 3-0 game heading into the second inning.
The Seminoles added to their lead in the second. Tony Thomas, Jr. drew a walk and swiped second. Malone then laced a double down the right field line putting FSU up 4-0 and ending McCuen’s night. Florida State went right back on the attack versus new hurler Kevin Ferguson (0-1) as Chapman laced a double off the screen in center field scoring Malone and making the score 5-0.
Chris Johnson opened off the fourth by lacing a line drive just over the fence in left and cutting the score to 5-1. An error and a double put runners on second and third with just one away as the Hatters tried to rally. Jones’ second strikeout of the frame and fourth of the game moved FSU one out away from ending the top of the fourth and the Seminoles then ended the threat on a ground out to short.
Back-to-back singles to start the fifth gave Stetson runners on the corners with nobody away. Jones got out of the jam though as he fanned his fifth and sixth batters and then got out of the inning on a fly ball to center field.
Stetson cut into the lead in the sixth thanks to a two-out RBI from nine-hole hitter Adam Tindle. The left fielder’s single plated Brian Bocock making it a 5-2 game. Another hard hit up the middle put runners on the corners for the Hatters as Jones looked for that final out but Martin wasted little time calling Kevin Lynch in from the bullpen.
“It is a shame that Hunter did not get the decision because he pitched well enough to get the win,” said Martin. “He is making it a tough decision when it comes to who will start this Sunday because Hunter pitched very well tonight.”
Lynch, making his 125th career appearance, walked the bases loaded and unlike six of the previous seven times where he got out of the jam unscathed, Lynch gave up a two-out, two-run RBI single. With the game suddenly 5-4, Lynch walked the next batter on four straight pitches to load the bases once again. Matt DiBlasi then came in and relieved Lynch and got FSU out of the jam on a ground out keeping FSU in the lead.
Brian Chambers opened the seventh and got the first two batters he faced before giving up a solo home run to David Golliner tying the game at 5-5.
Malone opened the bottom of the seventh with a walk after nearly breaking the tie with a mammoth home run blast that just went foul down the right field line. Chapman then brought Malone home tying a career high with his second double of the game. Cheesman sacrificed Chapman to third and then Wardell walked putting runners on the corners for Jack Rye who gave FSU a little breathing room with a sac fly making it a 7-5 game.
Barrett Browning opened the top of the eighth on the hill for FSU and hit the first batter with his first pitch. After getting the next batter swinging, a single through the left side had Stetson looking like it was in business but new right fielder Ryan Strauss charged the ball and came up firing, gunning down the runner at third for the second out. Chambliss entered the game and then closed out the eighth.
“That was a big opportunity for Ryan and he certainly took advantage of it,” said Martin. “That was a big play in the game.”
FSU got some more breathing room in the bottom of the eighth. Singles by Ryne Jernigan and Robinson put two on for Malone who knocked in another run with a single to center making it an 8-5 game. Stetson brought in their fourth pitcher of the game but the Hatters couldn’t stop the bleeding as another single, this one from Cheesman, drove in another FSU run making it 9-5.
Florida State will conclude its four game series with Stetson Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. and then welcome in ninth-ranked North Carolina (36-10-1, 15-6) for the final home ACC series of the year. Game Tracker will be available for all this year’s games along with Steve Melewski’s live radio broadcast available on WFLA locally and on the Internet at seminoles.com.