Feb. 1, 2005
A QUICK LOOK AT VMI
In 2004 the Seminoles opened their season against VMI by winning the two game series 8-7 and 8-1. The Seminoles have never lost to VMI going 11-0 and 8-0 in games taking place in
LAST YEAR’S NUMBERS IN THE FSU/VMI SERIES
Avg. .258 .100
Runs 16 8
Hits 16 6
Dbls 3 2
Trpls 2 0
HRs 2 0
RBIs 14 6
Slg % .468 .133
BB 17 6
K 5 20
SB 3 1
ERA 2.00 7.71
The 2005 Seminole baseball team is young but the worries about whether this team could hit or not seems to be unfounded. Opening weekend the Seminoles hit .303, scored 22 runs, slugged .394 and recorded nine extra base hits (all doubles). The team hit equally well against lefties (.302) as it did against right-handers (.304) and with runners in scoring position the Seminoles’ average was close to their overall average for the weekend (.298). Four players recorded three or more RBIs versus CSU and eight players overall drove in a run. Last season, FSU had All-Americans Stephen Drew and Eddy Martinez-Esteve yet the team hit .258 in the first series versus VMI and didn’t hit .300 or better in a series until the fifth series of the year in the middle of March when FSU batted .333 versus
Mike Martin said the most experienced group on the 2005 squad was his pitching staff and opening weekend seemed to bear that out. The Tribe staff posted a one-hitter Friday, a two-hitter Saturday and posted a stellar 1.33 ERA for the weekend.
WHAT A START
If you told FSU pitching coach Jamey Shouppe that after opening weekend all three of his starters would have 0.00 ERA’s, the associate head coach would have been pretty happy. While Hunter Jones and Brian Schultz are still in line to start games when their health improves, it is hard to complain about FSU’s three starters from opening weekend. Mark Sauls, Michael Hyde and Barret Browning combined for a 0.00 ERA, pitched 14 innings, allowed four unearned runs and struck out nine batters. While Hyde was the only starter to get a win, each pitcher put FSU in position to get a victory and those three pitchers were a big reason FSU opened the season at 3-0.
Not only did Kevin Lynch pick up two wins opening weekend but the senior continues to show how reliable and durable he has been during his four year career. With two appearances versus
Tyler Chambliss got the first shot to fill the role of FSU’s closer and it looks like the sophomore doesn’t want to give that job up. On Friday Chambliss closed out a 2-1 win and Sunday he came in with the bases loaded and the tying run at the plate. Chambliss needed just five pitches to record a strikeout and end the threat. The Live Oak, FL native doubled his career save total opening weekend. The sophomore saved both the Friday and Sunday games. He allowed just one hit, one walk and struck out five. Last season only two FSU pitchers even recorded more than two saves all season and Chambliss is almost half way to reaching last year’s high water mark for saves, which is five by fellow hurler Kevin Lynch. Last season the first Seminole pitcher to save two games was Kevin Lynch and he didn’t record his second save until the 18th game of the year. In 2003, Daniel Hodges saved 12 games for FSU but even he didn’t pick up his second save until the fifth game of the year. In 2002 it was game 10 before Eric Roman picked up the team’s second save and in 2001 it took 19 games before Justin Lord saved a second game.
HERE’S TO YOU MR. ROBINSON
If you were wondering if Shane Robinson’s blistering close to 2004 was going to last, the sophomore started to answer that question opening weekend. Robinson led the team with a .545 average; he scored six runs, hit two doubles, knocked in three runs, slugged .727, drew four walks and posted an on base percentage of .667. He recorded a hit in all three games as well. In the last 14 games of 2004, Robinson hit .424, with five doubles, a triple, a home run and 14 RBIs. He slugged .593 as well. Robinson credits a hot finish to 2004 combined with his stint in summer ball for his confidence at the plate in 2005. While it is early, last season Robinson didn’t record his sixth hit until his sixth start. He has already collected six hits in three games this season. His first two doubles of the year came in game 11 and 12. This year he already has two after the first weekend. Robinson also led the way when it came to two-out RBIs. The sophomore recorded three versus CSU hitting .667 in two out situations.
Despite a one-hit victory opening day, the Seminoles only scored two-runs versus CSU ace Brad Bissell. The main reason for the lack of runs was the Tribe’s .063 average with runners on base. The Seminoles recorded just one hit in 16 opportunities with runners on. That changed dramatically Saturday and Sunday. In the next two games the Seminoles scored 20 runs going 17-for-48 (.354) with runners on base. The team hit .333 with runners in scoring position in those two games compared to .125 (1-for-8) Friday.
Senior captain Aaron Cheesman had a huge opening weekend (see weekend recap). The catcher has bettered his stats every year he has been in Tallahassee and if the CSU series was any indication, that trend will hold up for the fourth year in a row. The reason Cheesman is so great is because he does the little things so well. One of the most important RBI situations is when you have a runner on third and less than two outs. Cheesman came up in that situation four times last weekend and all four times he drove in the run. That isn’t the only situation where Cheesman came through. With runners in scoring position, the senior hit .444. In 11 opportunities the Sarasota native advanced runners successfully 64% of the time.
Sophomore Michael Hyde made a big impression in the first FSU start of his career. The Tallahassee native was the only FSU starter opening weekend to pick up a victory. Hyde went five innings, gave up two unearned runs, walked three and struck out three. After the two-run first where both runs were unearned, the sophomore cruised through the next four innings. He faced just one batter over the minimum giving up just one hit and issuing only one walk the rest of the way.
IN THE NICK OF TIME
Starting at shortstop as a freshman is no easy task but after one weekend, Tallahassee native Nick Francis deserves some credit. The Godby High School product recorded a hit in all three games versus Charleston Southern. He hit .300, scored four runs and even recorded the first double of his FSU career. Most importantly, in 10 chances, Francis only made one miscue.
OFFENSIVE PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
Aaron Cheesman, SR, C, Sarasota, FL
Florida State knew it would need to rely on its veterans early on this season and senior captain Aaron Cheesman came through immediately for FSU. The catcher recorded three straight multi-RBI games in the season opening series versus Charleston Southern as FSU swept the Buccaneers. Cheesman went 4-10 with seven RBIs, two runs scored, a double, two walks, a sacrifice fly and the game-winning RBI in Friday’s 2-1 victory. The three-year starter came through in the clutch all weekend hitting .444 in nine opportunities with runners in scoring position as well. Cheesman recorded a hit in all three games of the series and had two RBIs in game one, two RBIs in game two and three RBIs in the series finale. He was perfect behind the plate all weekend while handling two starters who had never pitched an inning of Division I baseball in their careers.
PITCHING PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
Kevin Lynch, SR, RHP, Ft. Pierce, FL
Florida State’s only other four-year senior joined Aaron Cheesman in stepping up all weekend when a young FSU club needed him most. Lynch came in to relieve the starter both Friday and Sunday and picked up both wins while getting Florida State out of potential jams. In Friday night’s 2-1 win, Lynch pitched 3.1 innings allowing just one hit, no walks and striking out five batters. With two runners on and FSU holding onto a 2-1 lead, Lynch came in with a 3-0 count on the batter. The senior proceeded to strike out the hitter and end the threat. Sunday FSU was in front 4-0 in the fifth when the Buccaneers once again tried to rally from behind putting two runners on with just one away. Lynch came in and recorded a strikeout and a fly ball out to end the CSU threat.
FSU BASEBALL TEAM NOTES
The Seminoles swept their season opening series for the 11th straight season…with its 9-2 victory Saturday, Florida State won its 21st straight, second game of the season…FSU is now 14-0 all-time versus CSU…the Seminoles are now 50-7 all-time on opening day and 53-4 in home openers…with the Seminoles sweep of CSU opening weekend, the squad has now lost just two opening weekend series in 57 years and has won 49 of 52 home opening series in school history…Florida State started four newcomers all three games opening weekend. Tony Thomas, Jr. (true freshman) started at second, Nick Francis (true freshman) started at short, Bryan Henry (sophomore transfer) started at third and Jack Rye (true freshman) started in right…on top of the field players two pitchers who had never pitched an inning of DI ball started this weekend for FSU (sophomore Michael Hyde and junior Barret Browning)…overall, 12 newcomers saw action in the field and on the hill this weekend…the FSU pitching staff threw a one-hitter Friday night and a two-hitter Saturday night. For the weekend, the Seminole staff limited CSU to a team batting average of .128 and an average of .083 with runners in scoring position…Of FSU’s 22 RBIs opening weekend, nine came with two outs, which is 41%.
FSU PLAYER NOTES
Center fielder Shane Robinson had a monster weekend for FSU. The sophomore hit .545 (6-for-11), scored six runs, hit two doubles, drove in three runs and slugged .727 from the leadoff spot in the order. Robinson also recorded the game-winning RBI in Friday’s game…left fielder Gibbs Chapman opened the season in big time fashion as well. The senior hit .429 (6-for-14) with two doubles and an RBI while slugging .571… North Florida Community College Community College product Bryan Henry took advantage of his opportunity as a starter at third opening weekend. The Tallahassee native recorded two doubles and four RBIs while slugging .455…Brooks Wallace National Player of the Year candidate Ryne Malone was a big factor all weekend for FSU. The sophomore posted a .500 on base percentage and scored five runs with a double and an RBI as well…freshman Ruairi O’Connor, who graduated high school early to enroll in FSU just this month, recorded an RBI single in just his second career at bat…designated hitter Brant Peacher hit .667 with runners in scoring position this weekend.