June 7, 2005
A QUICK LOOK AT THE
Bryan Henry will start FSU’s Super Regional opener against the Gators. Henry had one of his biggest outings of the season earlier this year versus
Mark Sauls continues to show the form that made him a third round draft choice of the Minnesota Twins coming out of high school. The junior has now taken over the number two spot in FSU’s rotation following Bryan Henry in the last three ACC series of the season and at the ACC and NCAA Tournaments. Sauls opened 2005 as FSU’s Friday night starter. A bout with tendonitis shelved him for more than a month and he is now pitching as well as he has all year. Sauls has yet to lose a game he has started this season. He is 6-1 with a 3.68 ERA and in his 12 starts the junior is 6-0 with a 3.41 ERA. As a starter, teams hit just .234 off him and in 60 2/3 innings he has allowed just 11 extra base hits. Dating back to 2004, Sauls has won his last nine decisions as a starter. Over the last six weeks, Sauls has started against teams that were ranked No. 5 (Miami), No. 4 (Florida), No. 8 (North Carolina), No. 18 (NC State) and No. 7 (Georgia Tech) at the time of those games. In those games Sauls went 1-0 with a 3.91 ERA against the highest-ranked teams on FSU’s schedule in 2005. In his 16 appearances in 2005, Sauls has allowed either one or no earned runs 10 times. There have been only four occasions where Sauls has surrendered more than three earned runs and those were all four run outings. Two of those three appearances accounted for just 2/3 of an inning combined, which means Sauls has allowed eight of his 27 earned runs in just two outings that covered 2/3 of an inning. Without those two hiccups, Sauls’ ERA drops from 3.68 to 2.62 as he has allowed only 19 earned runs in his other 65 1/3 innings of work. Sauls has gotten into trouble with his control at points throughout the season. He is the only FSU pitcher to have as many walks as strikeouts this season (30:30). His control has improved in his last seven starts as he has issued 14 walks and struck out 17 batters. He has already defeated the Gators once this season going 5 1/3 and allowing only three runs.
Michael Hyde will make his second start in the NCAA Tournament after an impressive debut in the 2005 NCAA Tallahassee Regional opener versus Army. Hyde went six innings and allowed only two runs. It was his second straight start of more than six innings and the first time the sophomore has done that since late February and early March. The Tallahassee native is 7-2 with a 4.40 ERA and has shaved a half a run off that number in the last two weeks. Hyde leads the team in starts with 17 and is the first FSU pitcher to crack the 100 innings pitched mark this season. He started the first 12 appearances of his FSU career but since then he has made five starts and three appearances in relief. In Hyde’s first nine starts he went 6-2 with just one no decision. He got off to a fast start at the beginning of the year as he streaked out to a 4-1 start while posting an ERA of 1.78 in his first six starts. After a rough patch in the middle of the season, including a 10-run outing versus Hawai’i where the Bows put up 10 hits and 10 earned runs on the right-hander, Hyde has been very solid as of late. In his last five starts, Hyde is 1-0 with a 4.03 ERA and 15 strikeouts. In his last three appearances, two of which were starts, the Tallahassee native is 1-0 with a 2.04 ERA in 17 2/3 innings of work. One of the biggest concerns with Hyde is the fact that he leads the team in homers surrendered (9), doubles surrendered (18), extra base hits allowed (27) and his .287 opponent batting average is the second highest among all FSU starters. In the last three appearances Hyde has given up just three extra base hits on top of issuing just three walks while striking out 12. Hyde has proven he can go deep into games as proven by his 100 innings pitched. With just two exceptions, the sophomore has pitched at least five innings in every start this season and he is second on the team with an average of 5.02 innings per appearance.
SUPER REGIONAL NOTES
During the 2004 Super Regional, Florida State dropped two close games back-to-back to Arkansas (7-5 and 4-2). The Seminoles however will enter this year’s Super Regional confident as all four of their top hitters (Aaron Cheesman, Shane Robinson, Gibbs Chapman and Ryne Malone) from that series are in the lineup this year. Those four players are the only current Seminoles to have started in both Super Regional games. Combined they posted a batting average of .441 and slugging percentage of .588.
Cheesman led the Seminoles in batting average (.571), slugging percentage (.857), and on-base percentage (.667). In the first game the catcher went 2×4 with a run and a walk. In the second game Cheesman went 2×3 with a triple, a run and a hit by pitch.
Robinson had a huge Super Regional as well as he was the only Seminole to record a three hit game and the only Seminole to record multiple extra base hits. Robinson had a batting average of .444 and a slugging percentage of .667. In game one Robinson went 3×5 with a double and an RBI. In game two the Seminoles’ center fielder went 1×4 with a double and a run.
Chapman was the Seminoles main source of run production as he led the entire team with two RBIs. He equaled Robinson’s batting average of .444 and recorded a slugging percentage of .556. In the opening game of the Super Regional Chapman went 2×5 with a double, a run and two RBIs. In the next game Chapman went 2×4.
Ryne Malone had a solid offensive series for the Seminoles as he recorded a .333 batting average. In the first game Malone went 2×5 with two runs and in the second game he went 1×4.
Of the seven total runs scored in the 2004 Super Regional, six of those seven runs were scored by current Seminoles. Current Seminoles also recorded 15 of the 23 total hits and 20 of the 29 total bases over the course of the two games.
Danny Wardell and Brant Peacher were the only other current Seminoles to make appearances in the 2004 Super Regional at the plate as each recorded one pinch hit at bat.
Kevin Lynch and Matt DiBlasi were the only two current Seminoles to make pitching appearances in the 2004 Super Regional. Each pitcher made one appearance and they combined to pitch two innings and allow just one run, earned, on two hits.
After dropping the first game of the series to Florida (9-2) the Seminoles took the next two games of the series 4-2 and 9-4. Florida State and Florida both posted batting averages of .308 but Florida State managed to reach base at a much higher rate as they recorded an on-base percentage 34 points higher than Florida (.379 to .345) in the three games. Florida State also managed to out slug Florida by 115 points (.500 to .385).
Shane Robinson’s six hits were the most by any Seminole as he posted a .545 batting average (6×11). Aaron Cheesman’s five hits were the second most by any Seminole as he hit .385 (5×13) in the three games against Florida.
The Seminoles 11 extra base hits helped them to rack up 52 total bases for a .500 slugging percentage. Ryne Jernigan, Gibbs Chapman and Robinson were tied for the team lead with seven total bases a piece. Jernigan and Chapman each recorded three hits including a double and a home run. Robinson’s six hits included a double that helped him slug .636.
Brant Peacher hit .600 in the series (3×5) with one of his hits leaving the ball park for a home run. Peacher’s six total bases helped him to slug a team leading 1.200 and his three runs tied him for the team lead with Robinson and Tony Thomas Jr.
The Florida State pitching staff posted a combined ERA of 4.33 as opposed to Florida’s ERA of 5.19. Seminole pitchers also had a better K:BB ratio of 3:1 as opposed to the Gator 1.9:1.
Hunter Jones, Bryan Henry and Mark Sauls each started a game against Florida. Jones suffered his first loss of the season as he started the opener and threw five innings allowing seven runs, six earned, on nine hits and a walk while striking out four. Bryan Henry picked up his third win of the season after he threw 7 1/3 innings and only allowed two runs, earned, on eight hits and three walks while striking out five. Mark Sauls started the third game and picked up his fifth win of the season. Sauls went 5 1/3 innings and allowed three runs, earned, on five hits and two walks while striking out two. Sauls was also the last person that left-handed Gator hitters wanted to see as he held them to a minuscule .063 batting average (1×16).
Seminole reliever Matt DiBlasi was the only Seminole pitcher to appear in all three games as he combined to pitch 3 1/3 innings and allow just one run, earned, on two hits. DiBlasi also did not walk a batter and he struck out four.
Tyler Chambliss was clutch for the Seminoles as he recorded saves in both of the Seminoles victories. The Seminoles closer pitched a combined 2 1/3 scoreless innings and allowed four hits while striking out two.
NOBODY HAS MORE
Since the NCAA moved to a regional format, no active coach in Division I baseball has more wins in the NCAA Regionals and NCAA Super Regionals than FSU’s Mike Martin. The Seminole boss has 86 of FSU’s 120 NCAA Tournament wins (not including the World Series). He is the only active coach in America with over 80 wins in regional/super regional play. No active D1 coach is even within 10 games of catching Martin. Legendary Texas Head Coach Cliff Gustafson is the all-time leader with 93.
THE ROAD AHEAD
While Florida State is only 14-11 on the road this season, the Seminoles have won six of their last eight on an opponent’s field. Nobody has been better on the road than Shane Robinson. The Collegiate Baseball National Player of the Year is hitting .444 away from home and leads FSU in hits (44), doubles (11), triples (2), slugging (.657), on base percentage (.553) and steals (14) in road games. Aaron Cheesman and Jack Rye are the other two Seminole regulars that have had the most success on the road as far as average goes. Rye is hitting .338 and Cheesman .348. Half of outfielder Gibbs Chapman’s 10 homers have come on the road and he leads the team with 25 RBI’s in 25 away games. No FSU pitcher has been better away from home then senior Kevin Lynch. He is 1-0 in 21 1/3 innings with an amazing 0.84 ERA. He has 23 K’s compared to just three walks and has allowed just two earned runs. Bryan Henry has been FSU’s most effective starter in road games. Henry leads all FSU starters in wins (four), strikeouts (27) and ERA (1.24). Nobody does a better job of holding opponents off base as Henry’s opponent batting average is just .184. Of the Seminoles’ 14 road victories Henry has four himself.
When Shane Robinson was named Collegiate Baseball’s National Player of the Year he joined some impressive company at FSU. Robinson is one of just five Seminoles ever to win any national player of the year honor and the first to do it since 1987. Robinson is also the first sophomore ever at Florida State to win the award and the last sophomore to win the Collegiate Baseball National Player of the Year was Kevin Mench of Delaware in 1998. He and Robinson are the only two sophomores to win the award in the last 15 years. The last Seminole to win player of the year was current LA Dodger J.D. Drew and he is the only other FSU player to win the honor from Collegiate Baseball. Robinson is still a semi-finalist for the Baseball America, Brooks Wallace and Dick Howser Awards as the best player in college baseball this season.
FSU’s National Players of the Year
Mike Fuentes 1981 SR
Jeff Ledbetter 1982 JR
Mike Loynd 1986 SR
J.D. Drew 1997 JR
Shane Robinson 2005 SO
Shane Robinson was left off the final five for USA Baseball’s Golden Spikes Award and won Collegiate Baseball’s National Player of the Year all in a matter of a week. The Seminole sophomore doesn’t have the power numbers the other player of the year candidates have but if you look at the six most prominently named POY candidates, it is hard to argue that Robinson isn’t deserving. Of these six players Robinson is first in average, on base percentage, runs scored, hits, doubles, stolen bases and at bats. Only one player on this list is first in two categories while Robinson is the leader in seven. His batting average is 16 points higher than the next best number, his on base percentage is 12 points better, he has 12 more runs scored than anyone else and 22 more steals. Even his power numbers stack up with the group. Robinson’s slugging percentage is fourth-best of the six players and his home run and RBI numbers are in the same league as the best ballplayers in the nation.
Player AVG OBP SLG AB R H 2B HR RBI SB
Shane Robinson .434 .538 .616 279 94 121 25 6 43 48
Ryan Braun .396 .477 .741 212 70 84 15 18 75 22
Jeff Clement .352 .478 .615 213 48 75 17 13 50 5
Jacob Ellsbury .416 .504 .606 221 50 92 18 6 46 22
Alex Gordon .382 .526 .735 238 75 91 22 18 62 23
Trevor Crowe .418 .491 .745 251 82 105 25 9 54 26
SUPER REGIONAL FACTS
This is the fourth time in seven years that FSU has been matched up with an SEC team in super regional play. Three of those four super regionals have been on the road. The only time FSU has advanced to the World Series against an SEC team from super regionals was in 1999 when they hosted Auburn. The last two times FSU has gone on the road to face an SEC team in a super they did not advance on either occasion (at Georgia in 2001 and at Arkansas in 2005). Since the format was adopted in 1999, the Seminoles have never made it to Omaha when they have had to go on the road for a super regional. The only two times the Seminoles advanced was in 1999 (Auburn) and in 2000 (Miami) and both of those were staged in Tallahassee. FSU is currently on a five game losing streak in super regional play and in their last 10 super regional games they are only 2-8. Florida State is 3-4 against the SEC in super regionals and 5-5 in super regional games played in the state of Florida (all in Tallahassee). The good news is that FSU went 6-2 versus SEC teams in 2005. FSU has swept a super regional once, been swept twice and had the series go to three games on the other three occasions, where Florida State is 1-2 in the third and deciding game. Eleven of the last 12 times FSU has made it to Omaha they have advanced out of their own regional or super regional. The last time the team made it to the series out of a road regional was 1996 when FSU won the Stanford Regional crown.
What a way for four-year senior Kevin Lynch to finish his career at Mike Martin Field. The senior improved to 12-0 and picked up his 13th straight win in a career-high 4 2/3 inning appearance clinching FSU’s seventh straight trip to super regionals. It was Lynch’s 46th appearance of the season and there was none more memorable. The Ft. Pierce, FL native stood on the mound in the eighth and handed the ball to his best friend Matt DiBlasi and then walked off to a standing ovation from almost 5,000 fans. He even got a curtain call as the Dick Howser faithful thanked him for each one of his record 136 career appearances.
It is hard to find the words to express just how good Tallahassee Regional Most Outstanding Player Bryan Henry has been this season. Every time you think you have seen it all, the Tallahassee native does you one better. A prime example was his win over Auburn in the winner’s bracket of this past weekend’s regional. After pitching seven or more innings in five straight starts, Henry’s previous two outings were 6 1/3 each. Then he pitches probably the biggest game of his young career and throws FSU’s first nine-inning complete game in a year. The last Seminole pitcher to throw a complete game was Eddie Cannon in the opening game of the 2004 NCAA Regionals a year ago to the day when Henry pitched his gem. Hunter Jones did pitch a complete game this season but it was a seven inning affair as part of a double header. Last season Rhett James was the only other Seminole to throw a complete game. In the last three years, Henry is one of only five FSU pitchers to throw a nine-inning complete game.
TWO HIT OR NOT TWO HIT
Florida State capitalized on every opportunity they had in their opening NCAA Regional game against Army. The Seminoles were victorious 3-2 as they recorded only two hits in the entire game. The last time Florida State recorded two hits and left that game with a win was April 23, 1993 on the road against Miami. Seminole starting pitcher Paul Wilson only needed one run of support thanks to two hits from the Seminoles offense to beat Miami 1-0. Florida State’s official line from that game was 1-2-1 and Miami’s was 0-4-1. In the 12 years between two-hit wins Florida State has only recorded two hits in a game three times. In that same span Florida State has five victories when they have recorded three hits in a game.
Bryan Henry is so good at keeping people off base that when Auburn hit a two run homer off the super sophomore in the Tallahassee Regional championship game people were scratching their heads trying to remember if that had ever happened to the emerging superstar. Henry has surrendered six homers this season but four of the six have been solo shots. The last and only time Henry gave up a multi-run homer before Sunday was March 26th versus Duke and that was a two-run homer as well. His bookend two-run homers surrounded a stretch of 36 games where the only homers he allowed were solo shots.
SOLO SHOT 2
From a guy who only gives up solo shots (Bryan Henry) to a guy who almost always hits them. Shane Robinson hit the first three-run home run of his career in FSU’s 10-4 win over Auburn in the Tallahassee Regional championship game. Four of the sophomore’s six homers this season have been solo shots as have five of his seven career homers. Before the three-run blast, Robinson’s only homer with a man on base came March 20 versus Virginia Tech and it was a two-run shot.
With its win over Auburn Sunday FSU advanced to super regionals for the seventh straight season. The Seminoles are one of just two teams to advance to every super regional since the format was instituted in 1999. Joining Florida State in making it to Super Regionals all seven years is the University of Miami. LSU’s streak of six in a row came to an end when Rice eliminated them in the Baton Rogue Regional on Monday.
Florida State and Texas are the two most successful programs in the history of college baseball in almost every category and the two powerhouses are once again squaring off in a fight over another record. After regional play, the two teams are first and second for the most program victories in regional/super regional play. They are the only two schools in NCAA Baseball history with over 120 wins in NCAA Tournament play (not including the World Series). Only three schools have ever won more than 100 Regional/Super Regional games and two are from the state of Florida (FSU & Miami). Texas has been in regional play six more times than the Seminoles giving the Longhorns an average of 2.5 wins per appearance compared to 2.8 for FSU. The Hurricanes lead both schools winning an average of 3.2 games per tournament appearance.
NCAA TOURNAMENT WINS
Florida State 120
Oklahoma State 87
Arizona State 77
NOT TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT
Florida State won its first two games at the 2005 NCAA Tallahassee Regional Tournament games by one-run which is nothing new for the Seminoles. FSU is now 12-4 this season in games decided by one run. In the postseason (NCAA and ACC Tournament) FSU is 3-1 in one-run games and versus teams in this year’s NCAA Tournament field, the Seminoles are 9-2 in those contests. Last season, FSU was 10-6 in one run contests and 12-9 in games decided by one or two runs. This year’s Seminoles are 19-6. Florida State has equaled its win total in one run games from the previous seven NCAA Tournaments in this year’s regional alone. From 1997 to 2004 FSU went 2-3 in one run games in regionals and super regionals. FSU is 2-1 in regional play in one-run games coming into 2005 and 0-2 in Super Regional games decided by a single run. Before this season, the last game FSU won in an NCAA Regional by one run was last season with a 3-2 win over UCF. Before then it was a 1997 victory over South Florida 6-5.
AGAINST THE FIELD
A lot was made of Florida State’s schedule throughout the season but after seeing the 64-team NCAA Tournament field it is hard to argue that the schedule was anything but tough. The Seminoles played 34 of their 71 games versus the NCAA Tournament field and they posted a record of 21-13 in those games. Almost 48% of FSU’s 2005 schedule was played against the NCAA Tournament field. Of those 34 games, 19 were played in Tallahassee where FSU dominated the regional competition going 15-4. The Seminoles played eight games versus national seeds (Florida and Georgia Tech) and 14 games versus teams seeded No. 1 in their regional (Miami, Clemson, Florida and Georgia Tech). Florida State played nine series (three or more games) against teams in the NCAA Tournament and FSU won five of those nine series against regional teams including one over a national seed (Florida). Florida State has played 14 games against four teams (Georgia Tech, Clemson, Miami, and Florida) who are appearing in a NCAA Super Regional. During the season Florida State won two of the four series against teams playing in a NCAA Super Regional (Clemson and Florida).
WALKING AWAY WITH A WIN
One of the trademarks of the 2005 Seminole baseball team has been its ability to win close games despite being such a young team. FSU is 19-6 in games decided by one or two runs for a .760 winning percentage. That means this young Seminole team has won a higher percentage of close games (one or two runs) than they have in all the other games on their schedule (34-12 .739). Not only has FSU won close games they have won games in dramatic fashion. Florida State has won nine games this season in their final at bat and six have been walk-off wins. One of the earliest walk-off wins of the 2005 season came against Tallahassee Regional participant Auburn. Three of Florida State’s six walk-off wins have come against North Carolina and the other three came against VMI, Auburn and Clemson.
WHAT A YEAR
It really is hard to fully illustrate the type of season Shane Robinson has put together in 2005. The USA Today/SportsWeekly first team All-American garnered numerous headlines for his FSU record 40-game hit streak but the sophomore outfielder has been producing all season long for Florida State. Robinson was a candidate for all four national player of the year honors and is a semifinalist for the Brooks Wallace Award and one of four finalists for the Dick Howser Trophy. He is the first player in FSU history to record 100 hits and steal 40 bases in the same season and was the first player in the nation to reach the 100-hit plateau this year.
He leads the nation in runs scored and is the only player in America over 90 in that category. Robinson is second in the nation in hits and at bats, third in steals and on base percentage and in the top five for batting average, doubles, and total bases. The sophomore is the only player in America in the top five in every one of the following categories: on base percentage, average, runs, hits, doubles and total bases.
Just like he did on the national stage, Robinson dominated the ACC as well. Coming into Super Regionals he leads the ACC in batting average by nine points and had more hits, runs, stolen bases and total bases than any player in the conference. He was first in the ACC in on base percentage and fourth in slugging despite being FSU’s lead-off hitter.
FSU has played 71 games this season and in 56% of those games (40), Robinson has recorded two or more hits. He has only been held hitless seven times in 71 games; in more than 90% of FSU’s games this season Robinson has recorded a hit. There has only been one game all season long where Robinson did not reach base in one way or another. He is now tied for third for single season hits at FSU with 121 and Robinson has scored 94 runs meaning the outfielder single-handedly has accounted for 20% of Florida State’s 478 runs.
LYNCH IN A PYNCH
Senior relief pitcher Kevin Lynch has gotten Florida State out of more bases loaded jam this season then you can count on one hand. Lynch has entered the game for Florida State on ten different occasions with the bases juiced and got the Seminoles out of the jam without allowing a run to score seven times including six in a row.
Lynch’s streak of six began on February 23 against Stetson and was ended against Miami April 23. Lynch appeared against Stetson, Hawaii-Pacific, Hawaii, Virginia Tech, Clemson and Miami all with the bases loaded and got out of each one with out allowing a run to score. During that period Lynch appeared in those six games with two outs in the inning five times and zero outs once. Lynch recorded a combined four strike outs to get the Seminoles out of those six bases loaded jams. After Lynch’s streak came to an end against Miami he went right back to work against Maryland when he entered the game with one out in the eighth and the bases loaded and proceeded to get the first hitter he saw to hit into a double play.
Against Auburn he allowed one run to score on a fielder’s choice. Against St. Joes’s Lynch would have been able to get out of the inning if not for some bad luck. The first batter Lynch faced hit a ball to third that was ruled an error but allowed a run to score. Against Miami his streak of six came to an end as two runs scored thanks to a fielder’s choice and an error.
Lynch has entered the game with the bases loaded and gotten the Seminoles out of the jam twice in the fourth, once in the fifth, three times in the sixth and once in the eighth.
SLAMMING THE DOOR
An appearance by ace reliever Tyler Chambliss is a welcome sign for the Seminoles. The sophomore is on the NCBWA Stopper of the Year watch list and he enters the NCAA Super Regional second in the nation with 15 saves. Seventy-two percent of the time that the right-hander has entered the game, Florida State has come away with a victory (30-of-38). In 22 of those appearances, the Live Oak native has come away with a save (15) or victory (7). The sophomore doesn’t have enough innings pitched to qualify for the NCAA stats for K’s but his rate of 12.78 would place him fourth in the nation. Chambliss has done some of his best work when the game was on the line as he has only allowed seven of the 20 runners he has inherited to score.
SET IT OFF
Being the lead-off guy is a tough job. When you are the first batter to hit in a game you don’t get the benefit of watching the pitcher throw before you step in. You don’t get advice from a teammate on how to approach that guy or on what he throws. On top of all that you are expected to get the offense started. It’s no problem if you are Shane Robinson. The sophomore has been in the one hole every game in 2005 for Florida State and in the 71 games he has led off the outfielder has gotten on base 41 times via a hit, walk or hit by pitch. That is over 58% of the time he is leading off the game by getting on base. Robinson is batting .444 (24×54) and slugging .666 (36×54) in the first at bat of games this season. He has 16 singles, six doubles, two home runs and 16 walks. Of the 41 times he has gotten on base in the first, he has come around to score FSU’s first run of the game 24 times. Maybe the most amazing stat is the fact that Robinson has just five strikeouts all season when leading off a game.