March 18, 2005
Tallahassee, FL – Florida State senior reliever Kevin Lynch is creating quite a legacy this season. Lynch came in to a 2-1 game with the bases loaded and no outs versus Virginia Tech and left the inning with the score the same. He then left the game with his team-leading fifth win as he is now 5-0 on the year. It was the sixth time this year that Lynch has come in with the bases loaded and the fifth time he left without giving up a run as he and the 13th-ranked Seminoles (22-4, 1-0) won their 14th straight ACC home opener with a 3-1 win over Virginia Tech (6-6, 1-4) Friday night. Jack Rye knocked in two runs, Shane Robinson extended his hitting streak to 31 games and Tyler Chambliss picked up his sixth save.
Lynch set a career-high for innings pitched as he went four complete in picking up his fifth win. The Ft. Pierce, FL native did not allow a run or issue a walk while striking out six batters.
“Kevin is a very poised young man that won’t back away or be intimidated by any situation,” said FSU head coach Mike Martin. “He just enjoys competing. We know he is going to be out there fighting and competing on every pitch.”
“I don’t know why I have had success with the bases loaded, luck I guess,” said Lynch. “I just come in there but I think I zone in a little more when there are runners everywhere. I can’t give up a hit because I know a runner will advance and come in to score on any mistake so I come in with my A game. I am concentrating as best as I can to throw strikes.”
The win extended Florida State’s home winning streak in ACC opening series to 29 games dating back to 1995. It also snapped the team’s three-game losing streak that ended the trip through the Hawaii. FSU has now won seven straight home games.
“There is nothing like being at home and playing in front of our great fans,” said Martin. “This was not your average March 18 night with the temperatures in the 40’s. It was a hard fought game and we expected nothing less from Virginia Tech.”
It didn’t take FSU’s All-American candidate long to extend his hit streak as the first pitch Robinson saw from Hokie starter Nicky Bowers (0-3) he drove into shallow center field. Robinson moved up to second on a ground out and then Rye came through with a big two-out RBI. The Seminoles new clean-up hitter blooped a single into left scoring Robinson from second as FSU took a 1-0 lead.
Virginia Tech tried to answer FSU in the top of the second with a two-out rally. The Tech seven and eight hitters each recorded two-out singles to put runners on the corners. FSU starter Barret Browning got out of the top of the inning on the next batter as a grounder to short ended the threat.
Florida State went back on the attack in the third as Robinson got on base to start the inning again, this time via his 16th walk of the year. Gibbs Chapman followed with a single to put runners on the corners with nobody out. Rye then drove in the run on a sac fly giving him his third straight multi-RBI game.
With FSU up 2-0, Virginia Tech tried to keep the game in reach with back-to-back singles to start the fifth. The next Hokie laid down a sac bunt and Browning tried to cut down the lead runner unsuccessfully loading the bases with nobody out. Browning started 3-0 versus the next batter and eventually lost him walking in Tech’s first run of the night. The walk not only ended the shutout but also ended Browning’s night.
“Barret certainly pitched well and it was a shame we had to go get him,” said Martin. “He really did not make as big a mistake as I thought he had when I found out we didn’t keep that runner close at second. The guy bunted the ball right back to Barret and he made the play we work on in practice. Unfortunately it should have gone to first but the reason he went to third is because that is what we practice. We allowed the guy at second to get too good of a jump and Barret has his back to the play and did what he was taught to do. Unfortunately at that time it was the wrong thing to do.”
That brought Lynch in for the 107th time in his career and the sixth time this season with the bases loaded. On four of the previous five occasions he came in with the bases full he did not allow a runner to score. Friday night he got off to a good start with a K to the first batter he faced. Then he got the second batter to pop up into shallow right field where second baseman Tony Thomas, Jr. made a great play to make the catch and keep the runner at third.
“I was hoping the guy at third would test me because I was ready to come up firing,” said Thomas. “I saw he wasn’t going anywhere when I came up but I got up as quick as I could anyway. I wanted the chance to help my team by getting that out at home.
Lynch then proceeded to get the third out just like the first on a K looking to end the top of the fifth and the bases loaded threat.
“I like the challenge of coming in with the bases full,” said Lynch. “11 (Martin) has confidence in me every time this situation arises. I love the fact he has that confidence in me. I just go out there and accept the challenge by taking it one pitch at a time.”
Aaron Cheesman started a rally in the sixth as he led off the inning with a solid single to left field. He moved to second on a ground out by Rye. Brant Peacher then drove Cheesman home with a double just inside the bag at third to give FSU an insurance run with a 3-1 lead.
The Seminoles continue their series with the Hokies Saturday, March 19 at 6:00 p.m. The Garnet and Gold is expected to throw Michael Hyde (4-2). Game Tracker will be available for the contest along with a live radio broadcast available on WFLA locally and on the Internet at seminoles.com.