March 15, 2006 - by
WEEKLY RELEASE: No. 1 FSU Looks To Continue 16-Game Win Streak At Virginia Tech Friday

March 15, 2006


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THE VIRGINIA TECH SERIES


Florida State leads the all time series with Virginia Tech 23-4 winning 85% of the meetings, which is the second highest among ACC opponents (Maryland .938). The Seminoles have not lost to the Hokies since April 21st, 1989, winning 14 straight games since that loss. FSU has only played three games all-time at Virginia Tech and Florida State is undefeated in Blacksburg. The last time the two teams met in Blacksburg was May 8-10, 1990 and FSU won by scores of 6-4, 5-1 and 25-14. There has never been a shutout in the series and last year’s set as ACC opponents renewed the series between the teams that was on a break for 14 years. That was not the first meeting as conference rivals for the teams though. From 1982-1991 Florida State and Virginia Tech played 15 times in the regular season as Metro Conference foes with FSU posting a 14-1 record in those games. So in conference battles between the Seminoles and Hokies FSU holds a 17-1 edge.


 


THE ROTATION


FRIDAY: Bryan Henry will look to continue his spectacular 2006 season Friday night versus Virginia Tech. The junior has been unbelievable this year as he has already put together a scoreless inning streak that reached 27 2/3 innings, the third-longest ever at FSU, and a streak of 16 straight innings without issuing a walk. Henry’s control has been the key to his success so far in 2006. The right-hander has walked just six batters in almost 39 innings of work. He leads FSU in ERA at 1.63, is tied for the team lead with five wins, he has three combined shutouts, and has allowed just eight runs in six starts. There are no match-up advantages versus Henry and that’s what makes him so tough. Lefties are hitting just slightly better than righties (.227 to .224) but neither is having much success. When teams get runners on base versus Henry they have had hit better (.333) but getting runners on has been the challenge. Henry has walked just six batters, hit none and opponents are just 17 for 97 (.175) when the bases are empty. The Tallahassee native hasn’t even thrown a wild pitch this season. Henry was FSU’s best starter on the road last season. His ERA in road games was almost three runs better than any other FSU starter and his four wins were tops as well. The only game which Henry started that FSU lost this season came on the road at Auburn but you can hardly blame Henry as he went six innings and allowed just two runs. Last year Henry made nine appearances on the road and four starts. In games away from Mike Martin Field, opponents hit just .203 off of Henry and he walked just five batters while striking out 30. Once again Henry was excellent versus both left-handers and righties in road games with neither hitting even .215 but lefties really struggled against Henry with a .180 average. One other interesting Henry note, no team stole a base versus the All-ACC first teamer in road games last season.


 


SATURDAY: Tyler Chambliss is coming off the best start of his career versus Maryland. The right-hander threw a complete game and struck out a career high 15 Terrapin batters. It was the most strikeouts by a Seminole pitcher since April 26, 1997 when Randy Choate fanned 15 Maryland batters as well. It was the first complete game of Chambliss’ career and the first by a Seminole in the regular season since May of 2004. Chambliss set career highs for innings pitched (nine), strikeouts (15) and pitches (123). It was an important outing for the curveball specialist after giving up six runs in 3 2/3 innings versus Brown. He will now look to put together back-to-back quality starts like he did in his first three starts of 2006 when he allowed just two earned runs in 18 innings. The Live Oak, FL native has been dominant versus right-handed hitters who are hitting just .187 off of him. Chambliss is dominating opponents in almost every statistical category but is still putting 40% of the lead-off runners he faces on base. On the other side, of the 16 leadoff runners Chambliss has allowed to reach base only four have come home to score so he is doing a good job of limiting the opponent’s success in scoring that runner. Chambliss did have some struggles in road games last season as his ERA was 3.5 runs higher away from Mike Martin Field than it was at home (0.69 vs. 4.24). As a closer last season, Chambliss was 4-0 with 11 saves at home and 1-3 with four saves on the road. So far in 2006 Chambliss has shown he is a different pitcher away from home. The right-hander’s two biggest wins this season have both come on the road versus then-No. 5 Florida and Auburn. Chambliss has both of FSU’s road wins this year and he has more than twice as many innings of work in away games than any other Seminole. He has also had success versus Virginia Tech. Last season he made two relief appearances, picked up two saves and did not allow a run.


 


SUNDAY: Michael Hyde had a big week last week as he won two of Florida State’s four games pitching the Seminoles past Mercer Tuesday night and then he secured FSU’s sweep of Maryland with another victory Sunday. Overall Hyde worked 11 innings last week and gave up just eight hits. He struck out six, walked four, allowed three runs and posted a 2.45 ERA. Mercer and Maryland hit just .133 versus Hyde with runners on base and lefties hit just .182 off the Tallahassee native. Hyde has now earned his third weekend start of the season. The Tallahassee native has won all three of his starts this season and has not allowed more than two runs in any of those three outings. After a rough relief appearance in his first outing of the year versus Charleston Southern, the junior has seen his ERA drop from 20.25 to 3.72 with four consecutive strong outings. He is the only returning starter with a win over the Hokies as he went six innings and gave up two runs in a victory over Virginia Tech last year. Hyde is second on the team in wins as he will enter Sunday’s game with a 4-0 record and a 3.72 ERA. Opponents are hitting just .206 off Hyde and his K:BB ratio is better than 2:1. Right-handed hitters are hitting only .167 off of him, the second-best average on the staff. Hyde is also doing a great job with runners on base limiting hitters to a .147 average. Like Chambliss, Hyde is putting the leadoff runner on base a lot (42%) of the time but he has shown marked improvement in that area in his last two starts. In the last 11 innings Hyde has allowed just two leadoff hitters to reach base and only one of those runners came around to score. This will be Hyde’s first action of the season in any capacity away from home. Last season Hyde posted a 2-1 record in road games as he made four starts and seven appearances. While wins and losses are the bottom line, Hyde would like to improve on some of his road numbers like a 7.66 ERA and a .330 opponent batting average. Last year in games away from Mike Martin Field, both left and right handed hitters batted over .325 against him and teams hit .380 with runners on base. Another area of concern was opponent’s .421 batting average with two outs in an inning. On the positive side, the last game Hyde started away from home was at the ACC Championships versus Wake Forest and he had a stellar outing. Then a sophomore, Hyde went 7 2/3 allowing three runs, none of which were earned, as he struck out six batters and issued just one walk.


 


WHAT TO EXPECT


Last year Florida State faced off against Virginia Tech in Tallahassee from May 18-20th, winning all three games by a combined score of 23-4. Throughout the three game series, Florida State batted .323 compared to Virginia Tech’s .294. The Seminole pitching staff combined for just a 1.33 ERA, while the Hokies had a 7.50 ERA for the series. Jack Rye led the Seminole attack in game one with 2 RBIs in the 3-1 victory. Kevin Lynch pitched four perfect innings, striking out six as he earned his fifth win of the season. The second game saw Florida State win more handily (12-2) as Ruairi O’Connor set career bests in hits (3), doubles (2), and RBIs (5). Michael Hyde earned the win for the Seminoles pitching six strong innings, giving up two runs on eight hits while striking out six. Florida State completed the sweep in game three by an 8-1 margin. Shane Robinson paced the Seminoles with three hits and two RBIs. Mark Sauls pitched three-hit ball for six innings and gave up only one run in the win.


 


Shane Robinson led the team with a .583 batting average in the three game series, with one home run and three RBIs, and was a perfect 4-for-4 when leading off an inning. Jack Rye hit .571 with four RBIs and led all Seminoles by going a perfect 3-for-3 with runners in scoring position. The Florida State pitching staff combined for a 1.33 ERA. The Florida State bullpen did not allow a run, they give up only five hits and struck out a total nine batters in 11 innings of work throughout the weekend.


 


Look for FSU to do its most damage at the front and back end of the games this weekend. During the three game sweep in 2005, Florida State outscored Virginia Tech 7-1 in the first inning. In innings six through nine, Florida State blanked Virginia Tech by a score of 9-0. FSU would also like to repeat its pitching performance from that series as Seminole hurlers limited Virginia Tech to a .229 batting average. The bullpen combined for nine strikeouts and gave up no runs during the three game sweep. With runners on base Florida State combined to give up only 8 hits in 44 at-bats (.182)


 


Strictly By The Numbers


2006        FSU        VT


Games    20            15


Avg.       .331         .287


Runs       186          91


Hits         225          151


Dbls        47            26


Trpls       8              6


HRs        24            14


RBIs       175          83


Slg %      .529         .439


BB           115          72


K             118          91


SB           38            19


ERA        2.75         6.07


 


KING HENRY


It is too early to crown FSU starting pitcher Bryan Henry the king of any season or career records but looking at what the junior has done in 2006 and through his two seasons on the mound, he will make a run at some big time FSU records. Henry posted the third longest shutout streak in Seminole history recently and has already combined on three shutouts this season, more than FSU had as a team in all of 2005. Where Henry has really been getting the job done though is with his control. He has struck out 41 batters, issued just six walks and not thrown a wild pitch as of yet. His K:BB ratio is almost 7:1, an unbelievable number. The single season record at FSU for K:BB for a season is 6:1 and that record was established in 1969 by Jeff Hill. Henry is now 14-3 in his FSU career with a 2.04 ERA. He has 12 quality starts in his career and he has allowed a remarkable one earned run or less in 11 of his 17 starts. His lifetime ERA jumped up to 2.04 after one rocky inning versus Maryland but it is still the lowest career ERA for any Seminole pitcher who has pitched between 100-199 innings over two seasons. Pat Osburn and Steve Mastin both posted sub-1.00 career ERA’s in the 100-199 inning range but both pitched just one season. Since 1971, no pitcher within 100-199 career innings has posted a lower ERA than Henry.


 


K:BB Single Season


2006       Bryan Henry        7.00


1969        Jeff Hill   6.00


1960        Frank Davis           5.58


2003        Daniel Hodges      5.43


1987        Rod Byerly            5.33


2004        Eddie Cannon       5.33


2003        Eddie Cannon       5.29


1969        George Lott           5.21


1968        Steve Mastin        5.20


1971        Bill Fuller               5.05


 


BUSTING IT OPEN


Seminole catcher Danny Diaz is in the midst of a career-best five game hitting streak and is showing off the kind of big play potential the coaches knew he was capable of. During his hit streak Diaz is batting .316 and slugging .526. He has two doubles and a triple and he leads the team over that stretch with eight RBIs. While Diaz has raised his average almost 70 points during this stretch he has been coming up with big hits long before his hit streak. So far this season Diaz has broken open two tie games and a one-run game with multiple RBI hits. With FSU and Florida tied 1-1 it was Diaz’s two-run double that put the Seminoles in front of the fifth-ranked Gators and set the stage for the FSU win. When people think back on the 21-5 win over Brown few will remember that game was tied 1-1 in the fifth before the catcher’s two-run single opened the door for a near-record 15 run inning. Then Diaz did it again versus Winthrop. With the bases loaded in a 1-0 game Diaz cleared the bases with a triple putting FSU up 4-0 in a game the Seminoles went on to win 10-0. Two of the biggest wins this season for FSU were the victories at Florida and over Winthrop and Diaz was a huge key to securing both of those W’s.


 


20/20


Both the 2005 and 2006 Seminole baseball teams got off to incredible 19-1 starts but how similar are the two teams statistically beyond the records?  The teams are really pretty similar in a lot of areas but the 2006 team really separates itself when it comes to producing runs. This year’s squad has scored 33 more runs in the first 20 games and when you look at some key stats it is easy to see why. While the 2006 team obviously is a better home run hitting team with almost three times as many, it is really the clutch situations where this year’s squad is proving to be much better. With runners on base, with runners in scoring position and with the bases loaded the 2005 team posted a .290 average through the first 20 games while this year’s team is hitting .354 in those situations. This year’s squad is hitting 118 points better with the bases loaded, 72 points higher with runners in scoring position and 56 points better with runners on base. Those are the situations where most of a teams runs are produced and the 2006 Seminoles are coming through big time in those areas. Another glaring difference between the two teams through 20 games is the way this year’s club is hitting left-handed pitching. The 2006 Seminoles are hitting 46 points higher versus lefties this year compared to last.


 


HITTING


                AB          Avg.       Hits         Runs       2B           3B           HR          RBI         TB           Slg. %     OB %


2005        663          .314         208          153          57            5              9              142          302          .456         .419


2006        680          .331         225          186          47            8              24            175          360          .529         .437        


 


PITCHING


                IP            ERA        CG           SHO        H             R             ER           BB           K             Avg.      


2005        179          2.21         1              1              149          62            44            83            163          .230


2006        177          2.75         1              4              160          66            54            60            176          .240


 


YOU KNOW THIS GUY WALLY PIPP?


Wally Pipp had a headache and sat out a game. A kid named Lou Gehrig filled in for him and went on to play 2,130 consecutive games. That name has cropped up recently around the Mike Martin Field in reference to left field. Mark Gildea started the year replacing Gibbs Chapman and had a great start. Gildea was hitting .385 and slugging .654 before a hamstring injury kept him out of the line-up. Next came Travis Anderson. The junior stepped in for four games and was having the best game of his young career before turning an ankle and he has been sidelined ever since. After Ryne Malone spent three games in left, the junior returned to third base and Ryan Strauss took his turn filling in. All the sophomore has done in three games is hit .556, slug 1.000, post an on base percentage of .556, hit a double and the first home run of his career. It is hard to tell who is the Wally Pipp of the Seminole left fielders but right now it is easy to see who is playing the role of Gehrig in this scenario. Strauss, who spent most of 2005 on the mound, is showing that he plans on holding on to the left field spot even with Anderson and Gildea looking like they are ready to return.


 


NOT JUST NO. 1


When FSU was voted the No. 1 team in the nation by Collegiate Baseball this week it marked the first time in 53 Collegiate Baseball polls dating May 26, 2003 the Seminoles were back on top. Florida State, by virtue of an 18-1 record and a 15-game win streak coming into the week, jumped over Georgia Tech and into the top spot in this week’s poll. Florida State has had a long history of No. 1 rankings. This is the 26th week since 1999 FSU has been ranked first in the nation by Collegiate Baseball, which is more than any other program. No other program has even reached the 21 week mark. Only Texas (20), Miami (18), Rice (17) and Stanford (15) have even done it 15 times. No ACC team has been ranked No. 1 more times than FSU since 2002 and only Clemson has spent even half as many weeks at No. 1. The Tigers have been No. 1 eight times, Miami five times and Georgia Tech twice. The Seminoles haven’t just dominated when it comes to No. 1 rankings in the Collegiate Baseball poll. Since 1999, FSU has spent 54 weeks ranked either first or second in the nation’s oldest college baseball poll. Only five other schools have even spent more than 20 weeks in either first or second and none has done it more than 42 times except for FSU. Not only has FSU spent more weeks at No. 1 since 1999 than any team in America but the Seminoles have also been ranked No. 2 for more weeks than any school as well.


 


TOPPING THE CB CHARTS


School                    No. 1       No. 2       Total


Florida State         26           28           54


Stanford                 15            27            42


Rice                        17            17            34


Texas                      20            8              28


Miami                     18            5              23


Fullerton                6              15            21


 


NOT EVEN CLOSE


One of the nicest things about the Maryland series, besides the sweep, is that the 2006 Seminoles finally got to play some close games. The Friday game was decided by two-runs and for the first time all year FSU was involved in a one-run game beating the Terps 4-3. Part of the reason for that is the fact FSU is scoring a prolific amount of runs and they are scoring them early. Of FSU’s 186 runs, 118 have come in the first five innings and the Seminoles are outscoring their opponents 118-30 in those frames. Florida State has won 17 of its 19 games by scoring six or more runs and won nine games by a margin of seven or more runs. FSU has been cruising in games so far this season. The latest the Seminoles have scored the game-winning run this year has been the sixth inning and in 11 of their 19 wins FSU had scored the eventual game-winning run by the third inning. The third and fifth innings have been the biggest disasters for FSU opponents as the Seminoles are outscoring teams by 33 runs in each of those frames. This is a big reason why Florida State’s numbers in the seventh, eighth and ninth don’t look so encouraging on paper. FSU is being outscored in the last three innings of games 31-29 and FSU has yet to score a run in the ninth inning mainly because they have only batted in the ninth inning three times. The final inning of the game is the only frame where FSU has been outscored this season (7-0). As the games get tougher, it will be a key for Florida State to close that gap in the latter innings.


 


WHEN WE WON IT


First Inning           2


Second Inning      5


Third Inning          4


Fourth Inning       3


Fifth Inning           3


Sixth Inning           2


Seventh Inning     0


Eighth Inning        0


Ninth Inning         0


 


MARSH IS HARSH


Brent Marsh was one of the biggest additions to the FSU bullpen this off season. The former South Carolina closer was second in the SEC in saves and second in saves in conference play last year. With Tyler Chambliss’ move to the starting rotation the closer role was a big question mark and Marsh, a Tallahassee native, fell into the Seminoles’ laps as Head Coach Mike Martin says. While Luke Tucker is closing games for the Seminoles, Marsh’s work out of the pen has been a big key to FSU’s success. Marsh has yet to walk a batter this season in 10 appearances covering 11 innings. In eight of his appearances he has not allowed a run and in half his outings he hasn’t even allowed a hit. Teams are hitting just .175 off the senior and he has 10 K’s this season. Left-handed batters are really struggling hitting just .125 (2×16) and Marsh has not let a single leadoff runner reach base this season.


 

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