Feb. 8, 2005
A QUICK LOOK AT
The Seminoles come into this year’s meeting with
STRICTLY BY THE NUMBERS
Games 6 3
Avg. .303 .353
Runs 51 35
Hits 63 36
Dbls 20 6
Trpls 0 2
HRs 2 3
RBIs 47 30
Slg % .436 .539
BB 39 21
K 39 14
SB 13 5
ERA 1.83 2.33
With the first 6-0 start since 1999 under his belt, FSU head coach Mike Martin moved past USC legend Rod Dedeaux this weekend and into sixth place on the all-time wins list for DI coaches. With 1,344 wins, Martin’s winning percentage now stands at .748 the third-best winning percentage of any DI coach with at least 1,300 victories. The next milestone for Martin is most likely win NO. 1,400. He started the season trailing Texas Tech’s Larry Hays by 48 wins for fifth on the list. Hays is still leading the Red Raiders so it may take a little longer for Martin to move into fifth than it will for him to reach his 1,400th win.
Not only is this the biggest non-conference home weekend of the year with
Florida State’s start to the 2005 season is amazing in a lot of ways but probably the most amazing stat has to do with runs allowed. This squad comes into the Auburn series having allowed just 14 runs in the first six games of the season. Only two teams in 58 years of Florida State baseball have allowed fewer runs in the first six games of the year. In 1970 the team allowed just nine runs in the first six games and in 1969 the Seminoles allowed 12 runs. The 1987 and 1992 teams allowed 14 runs, which equals the accomplishment of this year’s team. In 1987 and 1992, those teams had players like All-American Richie Lewis, Paul Wilson, Chris Roberts and Roger Bailey. This staff may not have a returning All-American but the 2005 group may prove to be one of the deepest in a long time.
Only one of Florida State’s starters in the first six games of the season ever started a game for FSU before 2005 but the group is pitching like a bunch of veterans. In 29 innings of work, FSU starting pitchers have allowed just three earned runs for an ERA of just over 1.07. Mark Sauls, Barret Browning and Michael Hyde came into 2005 with 17 total starts and all of those starts were made by Sauls. That hasn’t stopped the Florida State starters from limiting opponents to a .167 batting average and giving up just one extra base hit so far this season. With Hunter Jones and 2004 freshman All-American Brian Schultz returning to action this past weekend, the young FSU starters are actually getting deeper and stronger.
THINKING ABOUT OMAHA
It is way too early to read too much into the Seminoles’ 6-0 start but if you are the type of person that believes in signs this is a great start for FSU. The last time an FSU squad started 6-0, the team ended the season playing for the National Championship in Omaha. That 1999 team started the year 11-0 and ran out to a 35-3 record. But that wasn’t the best start ever by an FSU club. The best start ever came in 1975 when the team started the year on a 15-game win streak and ended up in the College World Series. While 6-0 is a long way from 15-0, the 2005 team has accomplished a rare feat already. With three-game sweeps of Charleston Southern and VMI, this is the fourth time in 58 years that FSU has started a season by winning back-to-back three game series. The only other times a Seminole team won back-to-back three-game sets to start a year was in 1982 (Georgia State and Mercer-Atlanta), 1991 (Duke and Arizona State) and 1999 (UNC Asheville and Arizona State).
HITTING THEIR STRIDE
FSU has scored 51 runs in the first six games of the season. It is the fifth time in the last 10 years FSU has scored 50 or more runs in the first six games of a season. Not bad for a team that was supposed to rely on pitching and defense while trying to locate their swings. The Seminoles are hitting .309 as a team. Last year, it was 22 games into the schedule before FSU had a team batting average as high as this group’s average. While FSU didn’t record its first home run of the year until Sunday’s 15-0 win over VMI, this team is slugging .436 and has already recorded 20 doubles. The 20 doubles through six games are the more than the 2004 (5) and 2003 (13) teams. Only the 2002 team had more over the last five seasons (13 in 2001).
Comparing stats from one season to the next through just six games really means very little but let’s do it anyway. While the 2005 Seminoles may not have an Eddy Martinez-Esteve or Stephen Drew, the squad has gotten off to a faster start than the more star-studded team of 2004. Through six games and an almost identical number of at bats (204 to 205), this year’s team is batting 36 points higher, has 14 more doubles, fewer strikeouts, an on base percentage 20 points higher, six more stolen bases, has an ERA over three runs less and a fielding percentage almost 50 points better. The pitching staff already has two more saves, given up 12 fewer hits, allowed 27 fewer runs, 18 fewer earned runs and an opponent batting average 37 points lower as well. After six games in 2004, FSU’s defense had committed 14 errors, this season they have three despite playing new players at short, second, third and in right field.
Games 6 6
Avg. .303 .273
Runs 51 46
Hits 63 56
Dbls 20 6
Trpls 0 2
HRs 2 10
RBIs 47 40
Slg % .436 .468
BB 39 47
K 39 40
SB 13 7
ERA 1.83 4.99
FLD .987 .940
Freshman Ruairi O’Connor graduated high school early to enroll at FSU just over a month ago and the outfielder is already making an impact at FSU. O’Connor started the first game of his career versus VMI Sunday and in his second at bat of the game, he blasted a home run off the scoreboard in left field. It was the first homer hit by an FSU player in 2005. Last year FSU had already hit six home runs by the sixth game of the season but if you look just a season before that, the 2003 team did not hit its first homer until the fifth game of the year and had three after six games, just one more than the 2005 team.
LIKE A DREAM
There had probably been plenty of times growing up that sophomore Bryan Henry dreamed about knocking in the winning run for FSU in front of his hometown crowd in the bottom of the ninth. Who says dreams don’t come true. Saturday versus VMI, Florida State had watched a one-run lead slip away in the top of the ninth inning. With two away in the bottom of the ninth Brant Peacher gave FSU new life with a double down the line. That brought Henry to the plate. The Tallahassee native sprayed a 3-1 fastball into shallow right scoring the winning run and giving FSU a walk-off victory.
FAST START THANKS TO THE TOP
One of the reasons Florida State is off to such a fast start is because the Seminoles are getting out to early leads. FSU has outscored its opponents 19-2 in the first three innings of its six games this year. The reason for that has been the top of the order. Shane Robinson, Gibbs Chapman, Aaron Cheesman, Ryne Malone and both DH’s Brant Peacher and Josh Spivey have been tearing it up. The Seminole’s 1-5 hitters hold the top six batting averages on the team and as a group they are hitting .406. The top of the Seminole order has 14 of the team’s 20 doubles and 25 of the 47 RBIs. As a group they are slugging .588 and in 106 at bats they have combined to strike out just 16 times.
FINDING A NEW WAY TO GET ON
After opening the season playing solid defense and getting on base despite being held hitless, freshman second baseman Tony Thomas, Jr. got his bat going versus VMI. In the opening series of the year against Charleston Southern, Thomas may not have recorded a hit but he was on base more than 46% of the time. This past weekend, the Valrico, FL native hit .400 with a double, three RBIs and a stolen base. His .250 average is tied for sixth-best on the team. Not bad after a 0-for-7 start to his career.
Two prominent Seminole starters returned to action this past weekend bolstering an already strong FSU pitching staff. In 2004, leftie Hunter Jones spent much of the season as Florida State’s No. 1 pitcher. After seeing his 2004 season cut short because of an elbow injury, Jones made his first appearance since last year’s surgery and pitched three scoreless innings without issuing a walk Sunday against VMI. Brian Schultz also made his return to the hill this past weekend. The 2004 freshman All- picked up a save Friday after pitching four innings and allowing just one run and striking out three.
SPOTLIGHT ON FSU
After much deliberation, the 2005 FSU baseball television schedule was released and the Garnet & Gold will appear on TV 12 times this regular season. All three of the first-ever ACC meetings between FSU and Miami will be broadcast by Sun Sports as well as two of the three games in the series with Florida. ACC TV will broadcast FSU games versus Georgia Tech and North Carolina. Fans can also catch FSU in ACC action in single games versus Virginia Tech, Clemson and Virginia. Sun Sports will also broadcast a separate game from the UNC series. FSU fans can see seven straight Seminole baseball games from 4/16 (Georgia Tech) to 4/29 (Virginia) and for FSU fans that get Fox Sports South, eight straight games will be broadcast. Check out the schedule below.
Friday 3/18 6:00 pm Virginia Tech at Florida St.
Sunday 4/3 1:00 pm Clemson at Florida St.
Friday 4/15 7:00 pm FSNS: Florida St. at Georgia Tech
Saturday 4/16 1:00 pm ACC: Florida St. at Georgia Tech
Sunday 4/17 1:30 pm Florida St. at Georgia Tech
Tuesday 4/19 7:00 pm Florida at Florida St.
Friday 4/22 7:00 pm Florida St. at Miami
Saturday 4/23 7:00 pm Florida St. at Miami
Sunday 4/24 1:00 pm Florida St. at Miami
Friday 4/29 7:00 pm Virginia at Florida St.
Tuesday 5/3 6:30 pm Florida St. at Florida
Friday 5/13 7:00 pm North Carolina at Florida St.
Saturday 5/14 1:00 pm ACC: North Carolina at Florida St.
OFFENSIVE PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
Shane Robinson, SO, CF, Tampa, FL
Florida State sophomore Shane Robinson has been unstoppable so far in 2005 and the Tampa, FL native showed no signs of letting up this past weekend versus VMI in a three-game Florida State sweep. Robinson hit .583 (7-for-12) in the three game set with four runs scored, two doubles, two RBIs, nine total bases, a .750 slugging percentage and a .615 on base percentage. He was a perfect 4-for-4 in steals and was also perfect in the field. He hit .667 with runners in scoring position and led the squad in two-out RBIs. Robinson started the weekend by going 3-for-5 Friday with two doubles, two runs scored and an RBI. Saturday the sophomore went 1-for-3 with a walk and a run scored. He finished the series off with a 3-for-4 outing that included another run scored, another RBI and three steals as the Seminoles have gotten off to their best start (6-0) since 1999. With hits in all three games, Robinson has hit in all six of Florida State’s games in 2005. He has raised his average to a team leading .565. He also leads FSU in runs (10), hits (13), doubles (4), total bases (17), slugging (.739), on base percentage (.643) and steals (7).
PITCHING PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
Barret Browning, JR, LHP, Jesup, GA
For the second straight week, junior college transfer Barret Browning made a strong start on Sunday afternoon to help Florida State complete a series sweep. This week versus VMI, Browning pitched five innings, allowed just three hits and for the second straight week did not give up a run. The Chipola JC transfer raised his scoreless innings streak to 9.1 innings to start his FSU career and picked up his first victory in the process. Browning held VMI to a .176 batting average and combined with two other pitchers to throw the first shutout of the season for Florida State.