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THE MINNESOTA SERIES
This will be the first meeting between FSU and Minnesota since a 2004 game played in Minneapolis and the Gophers will make their first trip to Tallahassee since February 18, 1996. Florida State holds a 14-1 edge in the all-time series but after winning 14 straight the Gophers took the last meeting between the teams 6-1. The 15 games played with Minnesota are the second most for FSU versus any Big Ten opponent. The only team the Seminoles have played more often is Michigan State (21 meetings). Florida State has played every team in the Big Ten except for Northwestern and has a winning record against every Big Ten school except for Purdue who holds a 1-0 edge in the series due to an 11-1 win in 1993. Overall, the Seminoles are 66-14 against Big Ten competition all-time. Five of the 14 games between the two teams have been played in Minnesota and the other 10 in Florida. One of those ten meetings came in Miami in 1981. FSU has scored eight or more runs versus the Gophers in 12 of the 15 games and in the last six games Florida State has outscored Minnesota 50-31. Only three current Seminoles played in the game the last time the two teams met. Shane Robinson and Ryne Malone were in the field and Matt DiBlasi pitched in that contest. Robinson went 0-for-4 from the leadoff spot while Malone went 1-for-3 with an RBI playing first base. DiBlasi worked one inning giving up two hits, one run and striking out two. He did not issue a walk. Four of the Gopher batters that hit 1-5 in the 2004 game are still on the Minnesota roster but neither of the pitchers that threw that day is back. Minnesota outfielder Tom Steidl had a big game versus FSU in 2004 going 3-for-4 with three runs scored and two RBIs. Tony Leseman also had a good game as well as going 2-for-4 with two RBIs. Leseman is expected to be in the starting line-up this weekend while Steidl is currently projected as a utility player this season for the Gophers.
FSU vs. the Big Ten
Michigan State 16-5
Ohio State 5-3
Penn State 7-2
FRIDAY: Bryan Henry continues to impress in his second season as the Seminoles Friday night starter. The junior is coming off his most impressive outing of 2006 in a dominating performance against UNC Asheville. Henry pitched seven innings allowing just three hits. He did not issue a single walk while striking out nine batters. He tied a career-best by allowing just three hits and his nine K’s were one short of a career high as well. Right-handers went just 1-for-16 versus the Tallahassee native as he combined with two other pitchers for the first shutout of his career. It was the second time this season that Henry has started a game and not issued a walk and the fourth time he has done that in his two year career. With the outing, Henry improved to 2-0 and dropped his ERA to just 1.45. Opponents are hitting .188 off the right-hander and he is walking just one batter for every five strikeouts (4:20). Henry’s streak of shutout innings and innings without a walk reached 13 with his performance Friday night. He leads FSU with 18 2/3 innings of work and his 20 K’s are tops on the team as well. Neither righties nor lefties are hitting better than .200 against him. It has been almost impossible to get on base versus the junior. On top of the fact he has walked only four batters, teams are just 5-for-48 (.104) against Henry when the bases are empty and he has not hit a batter, thrown a wild pitch or been called for a balk. Of the 73 batters Henry has faced this year only four have got on base without earning their way on (5%) and only three of the 19 batters he has faced to start an inning have reached base. The junior continues to be a nightmare for opponents at Mike Martin Field. His ERA at home this season is just 0.71 and he has given up only one earned run at Dick Howser Stadium. In 45 at bats opponents are hitting .145 and he has surrendered just one extra base hit (a double) in 12 2/3 innings pitched in his home stadium. The main reasons for Henry’s success at home is the fact that he is not walking batters (4), he is keeping the lead runner off base (2-for-13) and when he has a chance to end an inning as opponents are just 1-for-12 (.083) against him with two down in a frame. The only area where Henry’s numbers aren’t impeccable is when teams are able to get runners on base, which is rare. In 21 opportunities to hit with runners on, teams are posting a .381 batting average against Henry.
SATURDAY: Michael Hyde makes his return to the rotation this weekend after a strong outing in relief versus UNC Asheville this past weekend. The junior played a key role in the Seminoles Sunday victory over the Bulldogs. Hyde came into the game with no outs and runners on first and third in a 5-2 game. The Tallahassee native struck out the side conjuring up images of Kevin Lynch’s heroics with runners on base and no outs in an inning. For the season the right-hander is 1-0 with an 8.10 ERA. His numbers are skewed due to one rough outing and just two appearances. In his first relief appearance Charleston Southern got to Hyde for three runs in just 1 1/3 innings of work. Despite the bumpy outing, the Tallahassee product picked up the win in that game. Besides the inflated ERA, Hyde’s numbers have been very solid in 2006. He has issued only one walk in 3 1/3 innings while striking out five batters. Opponents are hitting just .182 off of him as he has allowed two hits all season. The right-hander has been very tough on righties allowing just one hit in eight at bats (.125). He has surrendered just one hit with runners on base (1×7) but has put two of the three leadoff batters he’s seen on base. Last year Hyde led the team in starts (17) and was the only Seminole to log more than 100 innings of work (100.1). He was 7-2 with a 4.40 ERA and had a K:BB ratio of 2:1. The junior was very good versus non-conference opponents last year where he picked up five of his seven wins. He had an ERA of 3.88 and all of his 11 appearances versus non-ACC teams were starts. Two areas where Hyde had some problems versus non-conference foes last season were with runners on (.307) and with two outs in an inning (.361). Hyde pitched very well at Mike Martin Field in 2005 as well where he was 4-1 with a 3.71 ERA. All 12 of his outings at home last year were starts and he held opponents to a .259 average at Dick Howser Stadium. All of his situational stats in home games were below .275 except for reached by leadoff which he allowed 31% of the time.
SUNDAY: Barret Browning is penciled into to make a Sunday start for the fourth straight week. Browning pitched five innings in a win over UNC Asheville this past weekend. He improved his numbers from his first start in almost every area. Browning pitched longer, gave up half as many runs and walked half as many batters. He struck out the same number of batters and gave up an equal number of earned runs. One area of concern for the coaching staff was the fact Browning gave up three doubles in the game and was able to go just five innings. Browning’s numbers are still a little higher than the coaches would probably like. He is 1-0 with a 3.72 ERA but he has walked as many batters as he has K’ed (six) and opponents are hitting .341 against him. Teams are above .330 against Browning in every situation and his average of almost four doubles per nine innings are areas the senior will continue to work on. Browning is averaging more hits per nine innings (13.03) than Henry and Chambliss combined (11.27) but with just 9 2/3 innings pitched, it is hard to read too much into those numbers. In 16 starts in his FSU career, Browning has allowed more than two earned runs on just five occasions so despite giving up some hits in a course of a game, the Georgia native has shown the ability to keep those runners from coming home time and time again. As good as the FSU bullpen is Browning would like to give them less to do as he has only been able to pitch more than five innings six times in his 16 career starts. If Browning starts as scheduled versus Minnesota on the 26th, that would be a good omen for the leftie. Last season he had the second-longest outing of his career on that exact date pitching seven innings and giving up just one run versus Appalachian State. He gave up just four hits and fanned three batters in that start.
COUNTDOWN TO 1400
This weekend the University of Minnesota comes to town for the first time since 1996. The Gophers will open their 2006 season in Tallahassee. Minnesota won the Big 10 Championship from 2002-2004 and were runners-up in the conference tournament last season. While the Gophers have only beaten FSU once in 15 meetings, they did win the last time the squads faced off in Minneapolis in 2004 so it should be an interesting series. There is another big reason this will be a huge series and that is because with two wins, FSU Head Coach Mike Martin will notch win 1,400 of his illustrious career. The Seminole boss is currently sixth all-time in Division I wins and he is attempting to become only the eighth coach in NCAA history to reach the 1,400 win-plateau and only the sixth active coach to do so. Of the seven coaches with 1,400 wins Martin would have the fifth-best winning percentage and the second-highest winning percentage among active Division I coaches. Of the top 10 coaches across all divisions for wins, only four coaches have a winning percentage above .700 and Mike Martin is among that group. Gene Stephenson of Wichita State is the only active coach who would have 1,400 wins and a higher winning percentage than Martin. Overall, Martin would rank third in the DI 1,400 win club behind Stephenson and former Texas coaching legend Cliff Gustafson for winning percentage.
COACH LAST SCHOOL YRS RECORD WIN PCT
1) Gordie Gillespie* Ripon 53 1,677-847-1 .664
2) Augie Garrido* Texas 37 1,547-722-8 .681
3) Gene Stephenson* Wichita State 28 1,512-491-3 .754
4) Don Schaly Marietta 40 1,438-329-13 .812
5) Cliff Gustafson Texas 29 1,427-373-2 .792
6) Chuck Hartman* Virginia Tech 46 1,426-783-8 .645
7) Larry Hays* Texas Tech 35 1,429-780-2 .647
8) Mike Martin* Florida State 27 1398-473-4 .747
9) Rod Dedaux USC 44 1,342-597-16 .691
10) Larry Cochell Oklahoma 39 1,331-813-3 .621
Records current as of 2/20/2006 *=active coach
WHAT MORE COULD YOU WANT
It is hard to ask for anything more than what the FSU pitching staff did this past weekend. While starters Bryan Henry and Tyler Chambliss get a lot of the credit for their two stellar starts, and deservedly so, the staff on a whole was just phenomenal versus UNC Asheville. FSU pitchers posted a 1.00 ERA allowing just three runs in 27 innings. They struck out 31 batters and issued a paltry five walks. Of the 103 batters faced, FSU hurlers gave only five a free pass to first base as they did not hit a batter either. The last time FSU pitchers walked fewer batters in a three-game series was in March of 2004 when the staff combined to walk two Maryland batters in three games. Seminole pitchers walked just one batter in each of the first two games against Asheville. Last year FSU didn’t have back-to-back games versus an opponent where they issued a walk or less on any occasion. The only time the staff pitched consecutive games with less than two walks came against Appalachian State and Hawaii Hilo.
OFF TO AN EVEN BETTER START?
It might be hard for some to imagine Shane Robinson having a better year than he had in 2005 when he was named Collegiate Baseball’s National Player of the Year but the junior expects nothing less of himself in 2006. He has made it a goal to show that he can sustain or even exceed his success of 2005 and so far he is off to a good start. Through eight games and the same number of at bats, Robinson has scored more runs, has more hits, the same amount of doubles, fewer K’s and a higher batting average than he did at this point last year. This season, Robinson has reached base in his first at bat of a game seven times in eight tries and five of those seven times he has come around to score the first run of the game. Last season he led off the game by getting on in six of eight opportunities and came around to score the first run of the game four times.
SHANE 2005 vs. 2006
AB H R RBI 2B HR BB SB 1ST AB SLG AVG
2005 30 16 13 7 4 1 6 8 6×8 .767 .533
2006 30 17 14 4 4 0 5 7 7×8 .700 .567
Florida State is off to a great start in many areas this season. The pitching staff has a 2.41 ERA and has a staff K:BB ratio of almost 3:1. Six Seminole starters are hitting over .330 and the squad is slugging .530. One of the most surprising early season trends is the power numbers being posted by the Seminoles. Through eight games FSU hitters have 10 homeruns which is more than they had in the first 21 games of 2005. In the first eight games of 2005 the Seminoles had four homers. This season they have more than twice that number. Jack Rye leads the way with three, which is more than he had in all of last season. Dennis Guinn and Tony Thomas, Jr. both have two. It took 15 games last season before any one Seminole had multiple homeruns and it wasn’t until game 28 that three players had more than one homer. Overall, FSU has 33 extra base hits this season. To go along with the 10 homers, FSU has 21 doubles and two triples. That is nine extra base hits ahead of the pace of the 2005 squad. This past weekend the Seminoles hit six homeruns versus the Bulldogs, which is more than they had in any series in 2005. The last time FSU had more than six homers in a regular season series was in May of 2004 versus Wake Forest when the team hit eight.
UNDER THE RADAR
One of the quietest but biggest losses for the 2006 Seminoles was probably left fielder Gibbs Chapman. While players like Aaron Cheesman and Kevin Lynch left huge voids, the absence of Chapman’s solid play in left and good offensive stats was a concern as well. Enter redshirt freshman Mark Gildea. The Tampa, FL native is flying under the radar right now with the big numbers being put up by Shane Robinson, Jack Rye and Ryne Malone but look who’s right behind them in the stats. Gildea has started every game so far in left and is hitting .391, slugging .696, he has five RBIs and is the only Seminole with a single, double, triple and homerun so far in 2006. He has scored six runs and has an on base percentage of .500. He is torching left handed pitching to a tune of .444 and he is delivering with runners on as well (.429). Gildea is hitting at least .333 in every situational category including reaching base when leading off an inning, which he has done 44% of the time. That is a key stat especially since when he starts off an inning he is hitting ahead of Shane Robinson, Jack Rye, Ryne Malone and Buster Posey.
CAN’T SAY ENOUGH ABOUT THEM
The early success of the entire FSU pitching staff has been a welcome sight to fans and coaches. With the graduation of Kevin Lynch and Tyler Chambliss taking over a starting role, there were some questions that needed to be answered. So far the staff has answered each and every one of them. FSU pitchers have a K:BB ratio of almost 3:1 this season (75:27). Obviously this is very early on, but the 2.8 K:BB ratio so far in 2006 would be the fourth best total on record for FSU baseball if it were to hold up. Only two teams in school history have struck out three or more batters per walk. In 2003 FSU hurlers were just over that mark at 3.04 and the 1970 team set the record at 3.2 walks per K.
One of the main reasons for that success has to be the play of the Seminoles top two starters. Bryan Henry and Tyler Chambliss have combined for 37 K’s and just 10 walks. It isn’t just Henry and Chambliss that are dominating batters though. Seven Seminoles pitchers have appeared in three or more games this season and that group has combined to fan 57 batters and walk just 17. That’s a ratio of almost 3.4 strikeouts per walk. The only two pitchers on staff with more than four walks this season are both starters (Chambliss and Browning) and have combined to throw almost 28 innings.
K:BB LAST 10 YEAARS
GOT ANOTHER ONE
Bryan Henry’s selection as ACC Pitcher of the Week was the second of his short career and it boosted FSU’s total number of ACC Pitcher of the Week awards to 40, more than any other team in the conference. The only team even close to matching that number is Clemson with 33. No other team in the conference has had one of its pitcher’s receive that honor more than 27 times. FSU has yet to receive a player of the week award from the ACC in 2006 but the Seminoles are prolific in that category as well. There have been 47 occasions where a Seminole player has been named ACC Player of the Week trailing only Georgia Tech at 52. When you combine weekly honors, no school in the ACC has had its players honored more times than Florida State‘s 87.
ACC WEEKLY HONORS
PLAYER PITCHER TOTAL
FSU 47 40 87
GT 52 27 79
CLEM 38 33 71
NCST 28 26 54
WFU 25 22 47
UNC 33 13 46
UVA 12 23 35
UMD 12 12 24
DUKE 12 10 22
UM 3 2 5
VT 1 2 3
BC 0 0 0
4 AND 6
Baseball stats are one of the most fascinating parts of the game for fans and there are always quirks in that statistical information. That is true for FSU through the first eight games especially in the pitching stats. FSU has not allowed a run, earned or unearned, in the fourth or sixth innings. Those are the only two innings in which FSU pitchers are perfect. In five of the other seven innings, the Seminoles have an identical ERA of 2.25. The only frame where opponents have had any real success has been the seventh inning where FSU pitchers have an ERA of 7.88.
ODDS & ENDS FROM THE UNCA SERIES
Bryan Henry upped his streak of innings without a walk to 13 with seven innings of work and no walks versus UNCA…the Seminoles recorded their first shutout (10-0) since March 23, 2005 against Jacksonville…Jack Rye’s streak of games with both an RBI and a walk ended at six…the Seminole staff’s shutout streak of 16 innings came to an end in the eighth Saturday…Mark Gildea posted a career-best 3-for-3 day in game two of the series…for the third straight game FSU recorded 12 or more hits.
OFFENSIVE PERFORMANCES OF THE WEEK
California native Jack Rye had the best three-game series of his young career in leading FSU to a sweep of UNC Asheville last weekend. The right fielder recorded multiple hits in all three games for the first time in his career and in just one weekend he equaled his career homerun total. Rye batted .545, scored four runs, drove in four runs, hit two homers, collected 12 total bases and slugged an amazing 1.091 for the series. He also walked twice and did not strikeout the entire weekend. The sophomore led FSU in homeruns, total bases, slugging and walks. He was second on the team in batting average, RBIs, on base percentage and runs scored. He scored a run and recorded two hits in each of the three games with the Bulldogs. He hit .444 with runners on base, .500 with runners in scoring position and he was second on the team in two-out RBIs. The two homers were the first of his career in his home stadium.
Had a monster series versus UNCA hitting .636, slugging .909 and reaching base almost 70% of the time. Robinson scored six runs, had three doubles, drove in a run, recorded 10 total bases, two walks and drove in a run. The All-American tied a career high with three steals in second game of the series.
PITCHING PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
Right-hander Bryan Henry set the tone for No. 7 Florida State’s sweep of UNC Asheville with a stellar performance Friday night in a 10-0 shutout in the series opener. The junior pitched seven innings allowing just three hits and not issuing a single walk while striking out nine batters. He tied a career-best by allowing just three hits and his nine K’s were one short of a career high as well. Right-handers went just 1-for-16 versus the Tallahassee native as he combined with two other pitchers for the first shutout of his career. It was the second time this season that Henry has started a game and not issued a walk and the fourth time he has done that in his two year career.