Feb. 26, 2005
Tallahassee, FL – Saturday’s match-up between the 11th-ranked Florida State baseball team and Appalachian State was a classic pitchers duel despite the fact the pitchers came in with completely opposite stats. FSU’s Barret Browning entered the game 2-0 with a 0.89 ERA and Mountaineer starter Jonathan Reeder came in 0-2 with a 5.59 ERA. That didn’t stop Reeder from throwing a no-hitter through six innings while Browning did not allow a hit through the first five frames. Despite the lack of offense early on, the Mountaineers (1-9) broke out to a 1-0 lead but they couldn’t contain Shane Robinson down the stretch as FSU (15-1) finally broke through in a 4-1 victory. It was FSU’s 12th straight win over Appalachian State.
“Our guys played with a lot of poise today,” said FSU head coach Mike Martin. “Baseball is a game you’ll never be able to figure out and that is why it is such a great game. You look at numbers and Reeder is not going to be able to shut us down. He has given up a lot of runs. We have scored a lot of runs but he goes out there and pitches a tremendous game. Our guys have been through a lot of close ballgames and I think that helped us today.”
“It is a lot more fun when you are involved in a pitcher’s duel like that,” said Browning. “When you are throwing against another strong pitcher and the game is close, it is just that much more fun to be out there. I live to play this game and play it for big stakes and when we have a tie ballgame against a good fighting club like they (ASU) are, it is just up to me to go out there and do my job. I was just happy I was able to do that for seven innings.”
The game was dominated by the two starters who got outs in as diametrically opposite ways as their stats entering the game. Reeder (0-3), a sophomore from Matthews, NC, induced FSU into 13 fly ball outs and just five outs on the ground. Browning, on the other hand, only got two outs through the air as he recorded 15 of his 21 outs on ground balls.
“We didn’t really do what we are trying to do,” said Martin. “We want to make people make plays. When you pop the ball up…well, I can catch a fly ball. When you hit the ball right and left you have a chance to beat one out or the ball can take a bad hop. Anything can happen when you hit the ball hard on the ground.”
Once again Robinson was the difference for FSU offensively. The All-American candidate led off the sixth with his ninth double of the year breaking up the no-hitter with FSU trailing 1-0. He came around to tie the game on senior captain Aaron Cheesman’s sac fly. Robinson then drove home the winning run with another double in the eighth scoring Tony Thomas, Jr. His 10 doubles lead the team along with his .492 batting average. His hit streak is now up to 21 games, the eighth longest in school history.
“I don’t think about the streak,” said Robinson. “My goal is three hits a game and that is what I come out here each day chasing. That is the only thing I am looking at. I only got two today so I am not totally satisfied. I just come out with that same mentality every day. I don’t let the streak get into my head and I never think about it during the game. Getting on base, getting the offense going and frustrating pitchers on the base paths is my role. I am just trying to be the best player I can be and utilize all my tools.”
After giving up a couple of first inning walks, Reeder set down 11 straight FSU batters before walking Ryne Jernigan with one-out in the bottom of the fifth. Reeder’s third walk of the game didn’t lead to any runs though as the game entered the sixth still tied at 0-0.
Browning retired 13 straight batters going into the sixth but the junior lost his no hitter on a lead-off double down the right field line. A sac moved the runner to third as ASU looked to break on top. Browning got the second out on his third K of the game but a two-out single dumped in front of Robinson in center field put the Mountaineers in front 1-0 with runners on the corners but Browning limited the damage to just the one run.
“The ultimate goal is to keep the other team to as few runs as possible,” said Browning. “You notice you are throwing a no hitter. You definitely notice those types of things and it is something you use to push you a little bit more. It is always fun to chase something as great as a no hitter but it is all about winning the ballgame and we were able to do that today.”
As he does almost 64% of the time, Robinson led off an inning with a hit, this time it was in the sixth. The sophomore ripped a lead-off double down the left field line. After his fourth K of the game, Reeder hurt his own cause with a wild pitch to move Robinson to third. Cheesman then tied the ball game with a sac fly driving in his 11th RBI of the season.
Thomas led off the bottom of the eighth with a bunt single and moved into scoring position on a passed ball with nobody out in the inning. Robinson then drove him home with his second double of the game, which was also his first game-winning hit of the season. The sophomore moved to third on a Reeder balk and Chapman drove him in home with his 20th RBI of the year. Ryne Malone extended the lead to 4-1 off new pitcher Josh Fish as each of the Seminoles top four hitters recorded an RBI on the day.
“I am sitting up there looking fastball until I get two strikes on me,” said Robinson. “I am sitting on a fastball. He tried to beat me in with a fastball and I turned on it pretty well and got a good bat on it.”
With FSU tied, Martin went to the bullpen in the eight with Kevin Lynch (3-0) who ended up picking up the win pitching one inning. Tyler Chambliss came in to close the game and picked up his fifth save on just 11 pitches in a perfect ninth featuring two strikeouts.
The Seminoles conclude their series with the Mountaineers Sunday, February 27 at 1:00 p.m. It will be the last home game for FSU until they open ACC play March 18 at Dick Howser versus Virginia Tech. The Garnet and Gold is expected to throw Brian Schultz (0-0). 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.