March 1, 2005 - by
WEEKLY RELEASE: Eighth-Ranked FSU Baseball Heads To Hawaii

March 1, 2005

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    This will be the fourth trip to Hawaii that Florida State Baseball has made in school history. Florida State is currently 14-6 all-time in games played in Hawaii. The Seminoles made their first trip to Hawaii back in 1994 where they took three of four games from the University of Hawaii and then proceed to take two of three from Hawaii-Hilo. FSU made their next trip to Hawaii in 1998 when they split both series in which they played, 2-2 against University of Hawaii and 1-1 against Hawaii Pacific.  The last time the Garnet & Gold made the trip to Hawaii was in 2002 when they won three of four from University Hawaii and swept Hawaii-Hilo in three straight games.  The Seminoles recorded their only shut out in Hawaii against Hawaii Pacific 2-0 in 1998 and have never been shut out in the state themselves. Florida State has scored in double digit figures five times and has held the competition in Hawaii to single digits in every game. This year’s trip to Hawaii will also mark the first time that the Seminoles will take on three different schools in Hawaii.




    The Seminoles will make the trip to Hawaii-Hilo for the third time in the school’s history.  FSU leads the overall series 5-1 which dates back to 1994.  The last time the two met was in 2002 when FSU swept the three game series 16-2, 5-1 and 14-7.  The Seminoles have won the last five games in the series. Neither team has recorded a shutout but the Seminoles have held Hawaii-Hilo to just one run in three of the last five games.



    This will be the third meeting between FSU and Hawaii-Pacific. The series is currently tied at 1-1. The schools last met on February 10, 1998 when they played a doubleheader in Honolulu, HI. The Seminoles won the first game of the doubleheader 2-0 and Hawaii-Pacific won the second game 9-8.



    The Seminoles last faced Hawaii in 2002 in a four game series.  The Seminoles won the last three games of the series 8-5, 7-4 and 12-1.  The 12-1 victory constituted the most runs FSU had ever scored against Hawaii as well as the largest margin of victory over Hawaii.  The Seminoles lead the all-time series 9-6 which dates back to 1977.  FSU is currently 8-4 in games that are played in Manoa, HI.  Neither team has recorded a shutout in the series.  The last three consecutive wins for FSU also matches the longest winning streak for the Seminoles in the series. The previous three game win streak came from 1994 to 1998.



    Maybe it is because he plays next to him in the outfield and they have time to talk out there or maybe it’s the conversations in the on deck circle as the team’s 1 and 2 hitters but whatever it is, Gibbs Chapman is playing a lot like Shane Robinson these days, which is a good thing. The senior left fielder is now in the top two with Robinson in eight offensive categories (batting average, slugging percentage, on base percentage, runs, hits, RBIs, steals and total bases). He is even upstaging Robinson in the areas where the budding All-American makes his living. Chapman is a perfect 9-for-9 leading off an inning and hitting a team-best .579 with the bases empty. He is now second on the team in steals and he has overtaken Robinson for the team RBI lead. His nine steals are already more than he had all of last season when he swiped eight in nine attempts. Last week he even stole more bases than Robinson (3-2). The pair is also 1-2 in another key category as Chapman leads the team with 10 two-out RBIs and Robinson is second with eight. With these two at the top of the FSU order, it is making life easier for every one behind them.



    The Florida State bullpen has been one of the biggest keys to Florida State‘s early success in 2005 especially the play of closer Tyler Chambliss and reliever Matt DiBlasi. They are first and third on the staff in ERA as both have ERA’s below 1.25. Combined they have a 25:8 strikeout to walk ratio and they have allowed just two earned runs in over 18 innings of work. Righties have had no chance against the pair going 1-for-33 (.030). One of the keys to the success of the FSU bullpen has been its performance with two outs in an inning. Since the bullpen is so often called into games with two away in an inning and since two-out rallies are such killers, the performance of DiBlasi, Chambliss and Kevin Lynch in this area has been vital. Opponents are hitting just .132 of those three relievers with two outs in an inning. Overall, teams are batting just .198 against the Seminoles with two outs. FSU is hitting almost 100 points better in the same situations.


    RUN ON

    There has been a lot more variety in the box score when it comes to stolen bases as of late. While Shane Robinson still has a hefty lead in the category, more Seminoles are stealing as of late. Of the first 31 bases FSU stole in 2005, 45% (14) were swiped by Robinson. Since then FSU has stolen 13 bases and Robinson has just two of those steals, which is only 15%. Gibbs Chapman has really upped his steals as of late. After swiping just three bases in the first three series of the season, Chapman has now swiped six in the last three series, two of which were just two games. But when it comes to thievery, Robinson is still the man. He has averaged a steal per game this year and on that pace he would shatter the record of 51 set by Edwin Alicea in 1988. Robinson has swiped at least one base in 10 games this year and he has stolen multiple bases in a game four times. That means he is stealing two or more bases in 25% of FSU’s games. He is already almost half way to the seventh-best single season as far as steals go in school history. The 2005 team is stealing bases in bunches and if you don’t think so just look at last year’s team. The 2005 Seminoles have stolen four or more bases six times in 16 games. The 2004 squad stole four or more bases in a game five times all season (68 games). The 2004 squad stole five or more bases just twice while this year’s team has already done that three times. That stat isn’t just an anomaly either because the 2003 swiped four or more bases in a game six times in 68 games as well.



    One of the big reasons FSU is stealing so many bases in 2005 is speed and that speed is also evident in another area, doubles. The Seminoles already have 50 doubles, which is an average of more than three a game. That puts them on pace to become the first Seminole team ever to break 200 doubles in a season. The record for two-baggers is 182. This year’s team already has eight games in which they have recorded four or more doubles. Last season’s team recorded four or more doubles 13 times all of last season. The 2003 team had four or more doubles in a game 16 times so this year’s squad is almost half way there despite playing 52 fewer games.



    There really is no secret as to why FSU is 15-1 to start the season. The team is playing good baseball one series after another. The hitters are doing their job as FSU’s team batting average has dipped below .300 on just three occasions all season and all three of those instances happened within the first five games of the year. On the other hand, the staff ERA has never risen above 2.78 and has been at 2.50 or below following 11 of the Seminoles’ 16 games. Another big factor in the successful start has been the team’s defense and more importantly not making key errors. While the 2004 team fielded .958 in the first 16 games of the year versus .966 for this team, the 2005 squad is not making nearly as many costly errors. Florida State has committed two or more errors in a game four times in 2005 and has won all four games. Last season’s team was 20-16 in that same category.



    The Seminoles are having success in 2005 because they are getting ahead of opponents early on in ballgames. FSU is outscoring its opposition 3 to1 (76-25) in the first five innings of games. The Seminoles are doing even better when you look at just the first and second innings where they have an edge of 35-10 in runs scored. The two best innings for FSU are the second and fifth. In those two frames FSU is out scoring teams 44-10 and they are hitting .357 and .362 as a team in those innings. That doesn’t mean the Seminoles can’t get it done late either as evidenced by a 5-0 record in one run games and a .324 batting average in the seventh, eighth and ninth. It is hard to label any innings money innings for the FSU pitching staff when you consider their ERA is below 1.70 in five innings and below 1.13 in four of those five frames.



    Tyler Chambliss continues to dominate for FSU as he put together a perfect week. He factored into three of FSU’s four wins with a victory and two saves. He didn’t allow a hit or run and he has now finished 10 of Florida State‘s 16 games. Opponents are hitting just .094 against the sophomore and right-handers have just one hit against him all year. He is tied for the team lead in wins and first with five saves. His K:BB ratio of 4.5:1 is the best in the team as is his average of 14.73 K’s per game. He has not allowed an extra base hit this season and he has given up just one earned run.



    After sitting behind All-American catcher Tony Richie for three years, Aaron Cheesman wasn’t a lock to become FSU’s starting catcher. According to head coach Mike Martin in the 2004 media guide, “Cheesman won the job in the fall but he will be pushed”. Three years later the Sarasota, FL native is one of the top all-around catchers in America. He is not only leading a very young Seminole team to a 15-1 record he is playing the best baseball of his career. Firstly, Cheesman is doing it all behind the plate defensively and as far as handling a very young and talented pitching staff. The catcher has thrown out 47% of the runners who have tried to steal on him compared to 26% last season. His fielding percentage is up and while early the staff’s 2.50 ERA would be the best in 30 years. At the plate he is hitting over .350 and he is on pace to set new career highs in almost every category. His biggest improvement in 2005 has been pitch selection as his K:BB ratio went from 1:1 last year to 1:2.5.



    With all the success the 2005 team is having, there is one area where the team has yet to break through and that is pinch hitting. The Seminoles have not recorded a pinch hit in 2005 going 0-for-9…want to know why Shane Robinson is an All-American candidate, you just need to look at a few numbers outside of his batting average, which is an impressive .492. Robinson is hitting .484 with runners on, .667 with the bases loaded, .524 with runners in scoring position and .500 with two outs. That puts his CBA (clutch batting average) at an amazing .507…Florida State is perfect versus left-handed starters this season going 4-0…Gibbs Chapman has already equaled his home run total from 2005 in just 16 games…Shane Robinson is hitting .500 or above in six different innings this season.



    Shane Robinson, OF, SO

    Florida State University

    Not only did Shane Robinson record a hit in all four of FSU’s games last week extending his hitting streak to 21 games, Robinson had four consecutive multi-hit games. He has now recorded two or more hits in 10 of the Seminoles 16 games in 2005. The center fielder was the catalyst for FSU’s 4-0 week, which included two road wins versus a Top 40 Stetson squad. He not only hit .500 but he slugged .722. Robinson recorded two doubles in a game twice last week and he led FSU in hits, total bases and doubles. In 21 plate appearances, Robinson struck out just once. He hit .625 with runners on base and .500 with runners in scoring position. In the opening game of the two game set with Stetson Robinson doubled twice. After the second double, he ended up coming around to score and break a 3-3 tie in a game FSU eventually won 5-4. Had an RBI single in game two versus Stetson to put FSU up 4-3. Singled and scored the first run of the game in the opener versus Appalachian State. Had one of his biggest games in the second game versus ASU. 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 a no-hitter with FSU trailing 1-0. He came around to tie the game. Robinson then drove home the game-winning run with another double in the eighth.



    Tyler Chambliss, P, SO

    Florida State University

    The sophomore was just dominant last week recording a win or save in three of Florida State‘s four wins. He did not allow a hit or run in 4 2/3 innings over three games. He struck out seven of the 14 batters he faced this week. In his win versus Stetson Chambliss came into to a 4-4 game in the eighth with the bases loaded and one out. He got the Hatters’ designated hitter watching strike three and preserved the tie on a foul out to the catcher. He needed just four pitches to end the threat. After FSU took the lead in the top of the ninth, Chambliss closed out the win by facing just four batters. In the second Stetson game, FSU took a 7-6 lead in the top of the eighth bringing the closer into the game. He needed just 23 pitches and faced only six batters in the final two frames to pick up his fourth save of the year. After getting a game off, Chambliss closed out a 4-1 win over Appalachian State on 11 pitches in the ninth for his fifth save of the year.


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