April 4, 2005 - by
WEEKLY RELEASE: Eighth-Ranked Seminoles Host JU Wednesday Night

April 4, 2005

  • Game Notes


    The last time the Seminoles met JU was at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville March 22. Florida State won that game 9-0. It was just the second shutout of the season for FSU. That victory boosted the Seminoles’ current win streak to 10 straight and 30 of the last 31 against the Dolphins. The Seminoles also have a 20 game win streak versus the Dolphins at Dick Howser Stadium. The last time FSU lost to JU in Tallahassee was May 1, 1991. FSU leads the all-time series 100-30 and 66-9 in games played at FSU. The Seminoles have recorded 13 shutouts in the series with nine of those coming at home.



    Junior Mark Sauls will get the start for FSU versus JU Wednesday night. The Panama City, FL native was the Seminoles’ opening day starter suffered from tendonitis earlier in the year but worked himself back into the weekend rotation before a rough outing at Duke moved him into a mid-week role. Sauls’ start at Duke was his only poor outing of the year. He gave up four runs in just a 1/3 of an inning versus the Blue Devils. Outside of that start, Sauls has allowed just three runs in his other six games. No starter has done a better job against righties than Sauls who is limiting them to a .180 batting average. The one area Sauls has not done as well as he would like is with runners on base where opponents are hitting .303. The strangest stat on Sauls is that four of the six runs he has allowed have come in the first inning but opponents are hitting just .067 off Sauls in the first. The right-hander is at his best in the fourth where he has yet to allow a hit in four innings of work and has four strikeouts and one walk.


    100 WINS

    When FSU traveled down to Jacksonville earlier this season and won a 9-0 game, it marked the Seminoles’ 100th win in the series. JU is just the third opponent in FSU baseball history who the Seminoles have recorded 100 wins against. All three opponents that FS has beaten 100 times are from the state of Florida. Florida State‘s 127 wins against Miami are the most of any opponent. Florida is second with 105 and then JU with 100. The Seminoles reached the 100-win plateau the quickest against the Dolphins needing just 130 games to reach 100 wins. FSU won its 100th game against both Miami and Florida in the 179 series meeting.



    Despite the fact that Clemson was leading Florida State 7-3 in the bottom of the ninth in the series finale April 3 there was a lot of drama in the FSU dugout and Dick Howser Stadium stands. Shane Robinson’s 40-game hit streak was hanging in the balance. The sophomore was 0-for-3 and he was the fourth batter due up in the final inning. The first two batters went down in order bringing up Brandon Manasa. The part-time player promptly fell behind 0-2 before getting the count to 2-2 and singling through the right side. The hit gave Robinson one last chance to tie the ACC record ironically set by a former Tiger (see chart). Robinson had only extended his hitting streak in the ninth inning on one occasion before and that was in 2004. The outfielder laced a ball to right field but it did not fall in ending the amazing run. There really is no way to put into perspective what Robinson did but here are a few comparisons. There have been only five hitting streaks longer than 40 games in the history of Major League Baseball. On the major league level there have been 17 perfect games yet just five hitting streaks of 40 or more games. There have been 16 individual perfect games in DI baseball history so it is almost twice as likely a pitcher will throw a perfect game than a batter will hit safely in 40 straight games. During the streak Robinson has led off a game with a hit 15 times and picked up his first hit in the second inning seven more times. So 22 of the center fielder’s first hits have come within the first two innings. He recorded the first hit in the seventh four times (Auburn, St. Joe’s, Hawaii-Hilo and Hawaii Pacific). The hit streak would have been a little bit shorter if not for a ninth inning double in the Super Regional versus Arkansas in 2004. That was the latest the sophomore had to wait for the first hit of the game. Robinson recorded his first hit of a game in the third four times, in the fourth four times, in the sixth twice and the seventh four times. He had never recorded his first hit in the fifth inning until the series finale versus Duke when he extended the streak to 37 games on a fifth-inning base knock. The only inning in 2005 where Robinson hadn’t recorded that first hit was in the ninth and that was where he needed one the most versus Clemson. Robinson has hit for a cycle as far as first hits go. He has got the first knock of the game via a single, double, triple and home run. He has 26 first hit singles and 12 first hit extra base hits. Nine times he has gotten his first hit via a double and once it come on a triple and twice via a home run. Seventeen of the final 17 first hits came on singles.


    What’s More Likely?

    MLB Perfect Games — 17

    MLB 40+ Hit Streaks — 5

    NCAA DI Perfect Games — 16

    NCAA DI 40+ Hit Streaks — 7

    NCAA DII Perfect Games — 14

    NCAA DII 40+ Hit Streaks — 4

    NCAA DII 40+ Hit Streaks – 4



    1st Inning _______ 15

    2nd Inning _______ 7

    3rd Inning________ 4

    4th Inning________ 4

    5th Inning________ 1

    6th Inning________ 2

    7th Inning________ 5

    8th Inning________ 1

    9th Inning________ 1

    Single___________ 28

    Double__________ 9

    Triple___________ 1

    Home Run_______ 2

    Tied FSU Record__ JU (3rd)

    Broke FSU Record_ DU (3rd)

    Streak Started____ UCF (6/5/04)

    Streak Ended CU (4/3/05)


    GOODBYE 40, HELLO 51

    Shane Robinson’s 40 game hitting streak was simply amazing. It was the longest such streak in FSU history, the second-longest in ACC history and tied for the eighth longest in NCAA DI history. While that streak came to an end versus Clemson April 3, there is another streak Robinson kept alive with his fifth inning walk. Robinson has reached base safely in 51 straight games dating back to May 20, 2004. The last time Robinson played in a game where he didn’t get on base was May 16, 2004 versus Duke. He has had 206 at bats during the 51-game streak and he has reached base 126 times, which means he has reached base 61% of the time he had an at bat over the last 51 games.



    Senior middle reliever Kevin Lynch is not only carving his place in the FSU record books with his 113 career appearances he is helping FSU win ball games almost every time he takes the hill. Only three pitchers have more innings pitched and everyone is a starter and nobody has anywhere near his 23 appearances. The record for appearances in a season is 41 and Lynch is on pace to break that record. If he does, he will own the single season appearance record, the career appearance record and the career relief appearance record. Lynch just isn’t pitching a lot he is pitching very well especially in crucial situations. Once again this past weekend the senior came on with the bases loaded and did not allow a run to score. That was the sixth time that has happened in seven chances. Of the 34 runners he has inherited this season only five have scored and he has not allowed an inherited runner to score since March 5. It is a shame there are not stats to accurately describe just how important Lynch is. He has nine holds (coming into a game with the lead and leaving with the team still leading) and five wins this season but his biggest contributions are the games Lynch has kept close that FSU has won. Of his 23 appearances, there has been just one occasion where Lynch came into a game with FSU winning and the Seminoles did not go on to get the victory (3/11 Hawaii’).



    Florida State‘s starting pitching has gone through a lot of shuffling this season but that hasn’t stopped the group from getting results. FSU starting pitching is 17-4 in 36 appearances this year and on only six occasions have they given up more than three runs. The Seminole starters have been particularly effective as of late. Of FSU’s last 10 starts, five were quality starts and everyone was an FSU win. After starting pitchers walked four or more batters five times in the first 14 games, the FSU starters have gone 22 consecutive games with three walks or less from its starters. Seminole pitchers have a 3.42 ERA this season in games they have started.



    The right side of the FSU infield has been spectacular in 2005 with Tony Thomas, Jr. at second and Ryne Malone at first. Malone has not made an error this season when playing first base. The sophomore actually made his first error of the year in the series finale against Clemson but it came while playing third. Thomas has made just six errors in 160 chances in 2005 but if you take out the challenging infields in Hawaii‘, Thomas has just one miscue in 130 chances. What a difference that is compared to 2004 when the right side of the FSU infield had more than 20 errors through the first 36 games of the season.



    While the Seminoles are hitting a hefty .336 is clutch situations (with runners on, with runners in scoring position, with the bases loaded and with two outs) there is an area of concern over the last 10 games. In their last 10 outings, FSU has stranded 92 runners on base, which works out to one an inning. The problem was never more evident than against Florida where FSU out hit the Gators but stranded 12 runners compared to five in a 9-2 loss. Overall this season, FSU is stranding over eight runners per game. That is about the same as last year’s team but with considerably more power in the 2004 line-up, there is a bigger premium on not stranding base runners in 2005.



    While Tyler Chambliss and Kevin Lynch are garnering a lot of the attention out of the FSU bullpen, Matt DiBlasi has quietly cut his ERA by more than 2/3 in the last six weeks. The junior has not allowed a hit or run since the team returned from Hawaii. He is also currently on a streak of 10 straight innings of work without allowing an earned run, which covers 12 appearances. DiBo has allowed just one earned run all year in 14 1/3 innings of work. He has just one walk in his last six outings and hasn’t surrendered a hit in his last four appearances. After hitting 2.08 in his fourth appearance, the left-handers ERA has fallen to just 0.63. No FSU pitcher with more than two innings pitched has a lower ERA than DiBlasi.

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