April 2, 2005
Tallahassee, FL – The sixth-ranked FSU baseball team did everything it could Saturday night to make sure Mike Martin Field at Dick Howser Stadium was christened in the right way. Junior Barret Browning (3-0, 1-0) had the best start of his career, Shane Robinson extended his hitting streak to 39 games, Tony Thomas, Jr. recorded two RBIs and Tyler Chambliss picked up his ACC-leading eighth save as FSU (28-6, 6-1) downed ACC rival Clemson 3-1. The win, coupled with a Georgia Tech loss, vaulted FSU into first place in the ACC and gave the Seminoles their 14th win in 16 games versus the Tigers.
The win snapped Clemson’s (14-10, 5-2) four-game win streak versus ranked opponents and improved FSU’s advantage in the all-time series to 56-42-1. Prior to the game, a 10 minute ceremony was held unveiling the newly named Mike Martin Field. The 26-year head coach saw his name added to the Dick Howser scoreboard as the crowd of 4,163 cheered at every turn.
“It was a great night for me and my family,” said FSU head coach Mike Martin after the field naming ceremony. “I will never be able to adequately express my appreciation to FSU President T.K. Wetherell and everyone who made this happen and there are a lot of people. We will enjoy this for tonight but we know we have to come out and play solid baseball tomorrow.”
Browning picked up his first win since February 20 with a stellar effort. The junior left-hander went 7 2/3 innings, the longest outing by any Seminole pitcher in 2005, and allowed just three hits. The only run he allowed was unearned and he struck out eight batters while issuing just two walks.
“Coming into this ballgame I knew Clemson was going to be a tough opponent,” said Browning. “They have a great team every year. I knew I was going to have to come in and have good stuff to be successful against a team that good. Fortunately I was able to hit the spots I needed to. I am very excited. It has been a while since I have gotten a win but I knew if I kept fighting I would get one eventually.”
Clemson got off to a good start in the top of the first following the ceremony honoring Martin thanks to two Seminole miscues. An error and a wild pitch put the first batter of the game in scoring position. A walk followed to put two Tigers on base before Browning cut down the lead runner at third on an attempted sac bunt for the first out. Browning recorded his first K for the second out of the inning before another wild pitch moved both runners up a base and into scoring position. The junior leftie got Kris Harvey watching strike three to end the top half of the inning.
“Sometimes errors can get in your head as a pitcher,” said Browning. “I saw the play that Ryne (Jernigan) made. It wasn’t a mental error or anything. The ball took a difficult hop and got in on him a little bit. That is part of the ballgame. At this level you have to be able to handle some adversity. I know I have been in my fair share this season. I was very confident in my teammates and myself so I just went back and tried to throw the pitches where they were called. I was fortunate to get out of that inning and then keep it rolling.”
Florida State broke through versus Clemson starter Josh Cribb (2-3, 1-2) in the bottom of the second. Thomas’s double to left field scored Ryne Malone, who reached on a bunt single. Bryan Henry, who recorded two hits in the game, then singled to center field plating Thomas. Robinson followed with a single extending his streak in the second inning for the seventh time in 39 games.
The Garnet and Gold went back after Cribb in the third as they loaded the bases on back-to-back one out singles and catcher’s interference. Thomas then recorded his second RBI of the game on a ground out making it 3-0.
The Tigers cut the lead to 3-1 in the fifth thanks to a passed ball moving the runner to third and then a sac fly scored the run.
FSU looked to get the run back in the bottom of the fifth as Jack Rye and Brant Peacher led off the inning with back-to-back singles but the Seminoles were unable to get the runners home off reliever Stephen Faris.
The first two FSU batters of the sixth reached again via a Henry single and a walk to Robinson. Gibbs Chapman sacrificed the runners into scoring position. Faris got the second out of the inning before a Rye walk loaded the bases but the Clemson pitcher got a K to end the threat.
Browning, who set a personal high with his first out of the seventh, gave up a one out hit and hit a batter to put runners on first and second in the top of the eighth. He recorded the second out of the inning with his eighth K and then gave way to ace reliever Kevin Lynch. The senior needed just one pitch to end the inning as a slow roller to third base retired the side.
Chambliss came in to pick up the save in the ninth. The sophomore put a couple of runners on before a pop up and a strike out ended the game.
Florida State will complete the Clemson series Sunday at 1:00 p.m. with a doubleheader. Both games will be nine innings and the first of the two will be broadcast live on Sun Sports. Game Tracker will be available for both contests along with Steve Melewski’s live radio broadcast available on WFLA locally and on the Internet at seminoles.com.