May 9, 2005
A QUICK LOOK AT THE STETSON SERIES
The Seminoles currently lead Stetson 36-20 in the series which dates back to 1949. The last meeting between the two in
TUESDAY: Hunter Jones will make his 10th start of the season and his second in the series with Stetson. Last time he faced the Hatters, Jones went just 2 2/3 and gave up three runs. He walked four Stetson hitters and recorded just one strikeout. The junior left-hander is coming off one of his best outings of the season versus
WEDNESDAY: After dropping out of the weekend rotation for the first time in ACC play versus
In the two games played against Stetson in 2005 Seminole hitters have held the edge in just about every offensive category. Florida State has put up a .343 batting average to Stetson’s .246 in the two meetings in Deland. Although the only home run in the first two games did not come from a Seminole, Florida State hitters have out slugged Stetson .471 to .323 thanks to nine Seminole extra base hits (all of which were doubles) to just three extra bases from the Hatters (two doubles and one home run). While the Seminoles hit for a better batting average and slugging percentage, they only out scored Stetson 12 to 10 over the course of the two games as FSU took both games by one run each.
Of the Seminoles’ 12 runs scored in the two games against the Hatters, it was truly a team effort as nine different players crossed home plate for FSU. Brant Peacher, Aaron Cheesman and Gibbs Chapman were the only Seminoles to score two runs.
Shane Robinson led all Seminoles with five hits in the two games against Stetson in 2005 for a .556 batting average. However his batting average was only third best on the team as Brant Peacher and Jack Rye each went 3×5 for a .600 average. Three other Seminoles (Ryne Malone, Ryne Jernigan and Cheesman) had three hits in the two games going 3×8 for a .375 batting average.
The Seminoles totaled nine doubles in the two games against Stetson. Peacher established a new career high for doubles in a game as he recorded all three of his doubles against Stetson during the finale of the two game series in Deland. Rye and Robinson each added two doubles to help up the Seminoles’ total
Despite hitting .143 in the series, Gibbs Chapman played a huge role for the Seminoles as he recorded a .455 on base percentage. Chapman, along with Cheesman, led the team with three walks each and Chapman was also hit-by-a-pitch. Chapman was also one of three Seminoles (Robinson and Malone) to swipe a base in the two games against Stetson. Chapman’s only hit of the series came in the most opportune time as he reached base on a single in the eighth during the finale of the two game series. Chapman would then steal second and eventually advance to third as Malone came to the plate. Malone then cashed in on an infield base hit driving in Chapman who scored what proved to be the game-winning run.
Seminole pitchers have a combined earned run average of 3.50 against Stetson in the two games. Hunter Jones and Brian Schultz each received a no-decision after starting the first two games. Shultz threw six innings allowing three runs two of which were earned on four hits and one walk while striking out six. Jones lasted 2 2/3 allowing three runs two of which were earned on four hits and four walks while striking out one.
Six Seminole pitchers appeared out of the bullpen and they came through for the Seminoles with a combined ERA of 2.89 and held opposing hitters to a .258 batting average. Tyler Chambliss was light outs in the series as he pitched 3 2/3 no-hit innings only allowing two runners to reach base via walks while he struck out five. Chambliss picked up a win in the first game and recorded a save in the second.
THAT’S WHAT WE ARE TALKING ABOUT
It may have only been Maryland but Seminole coaches and fans had to like what they saw from their team this past weekend in College Park. Florida State hit .330 as a team and combined for a 1.33 staff ERA in their first ACC road sweep in nearly a year. The .330 team batting average was the highest for a series since FSU hit .333 versus a then 1-30 Hawai’i Hilo squad and it is the first time since the Duke series that FSU posted a team batting average over .300 in an ACC series. The staff ERA of 1.33 may have been even more impressive considering the Seminoles hadn’t left a series with an ERA below 2.33 since the first ACC series of the year against Virginia Tech. It was just the fourth time this season that FSU pitchers had combined to post an ERA below 2.00 in any series of three or more games. If you compare ERA to batting average, a case can be made that this wais the best series of the season for FSU. The discrepancy between batting average and ERA (.330 average and 1.33 ERA) was 197 points tying the best mark set earlier this season when FSU hit .297 and posted a staff ERA on 1.00 versus Appalachian State. It was just the fourth time this season that FSU posted a batting average over .300 and an ERA below 2.00 in a series.
IS IT A COINCIDENCE?
After leaving the bee’s nest at Georgia Tech where the FSU pitching staff posted an 8.39 ERA, the Seminole pitchers have been a main reason for FSU’s 8-3 record in the last 11 games. In this stretch, which has included three games at Miami, three games versus Virginia and two games with Florida, FSU pitchers have posted a 2.51 ERA while holding opponents to a .217 batting average. Seminole pitchers have 30 more strikeouts than walks (64 to 34) and they have given up just 18 extra base hits in 350 at bats, which is an average of just one for every 19.4 at bats. What has been the difference? The change came about when Bryan Henry was inserted into the starting rotation. The sophomore has stabilized the staff since a stellar relief outing in Atlanta landed him a starting role. In these last 11 games, Henry is 4-0 with a 1.48 ERA. He has pitched nearly twice as many innings as any other FSU hurler and opponents are hitting just .192 off him in the last 11 games. He has 17 strikeouts compared to just five walks and teams are hitting just .161 against him with runners on base.
The numbers that Bryan Henry is putting as of late are staggering whether it’s his four straight starts with seven or more innings pitched or his four wins in two weeks including two victories over top five teams in a span of five days. Henry has totally changed the FSU pitching staff in less than a month’s time. In the last 15 games dating back to April 12, Henry is 5-0 with a 1.17 ERA in 38 1/3 innings of work. He has pitched twice as much as anyone on the staff in the last 27 days and he has more than half of the squad’s nine wins in those 15 games. The fact that the sophomore has won 55% of FSU’s games in the last month is pretty impressive but not quite as impressive as one other stat. In eight appearances and 37 2/3 innings of work in ACC play, Henry has walked just two batters and struck out 29! His K:BB ratio of almost 15:1 is unheard of.
DON’T FORGET ABOUT THIS GUY
With Cesar Carillo, Jonathan Hovis, Andrew Miller and Stephen Faris in your conference and Bryan Henry on your own team, it is easy for a pitcher to get overshadowed but what Kevin Lynch has done in 2005 is probably one of the great overlooked stories of the season. If it were not for Shane Robinson having a national player of the year type season, you would be hard pressed to find anyone wearing Garnet and Gold who wouldn’t say Kevin Lynch is the MVP for FSU in 2005. The senior middle reliever is 7-0 in 34 appearances this season with a 1.91 ERA. His seven wins lead the team and put him in the top five of the conference with the likes of Carillo, Andrew Miller and Daniel Bard. Lynch leads FSU with an opponent batting average of .185 and his 53 K’s are fourth-best on the team among all pitchers. Only National Closer of the Year candidate Tyler Chambliss averages more K’s per game among FSU regulars than Lynch’s 13.5 strikeouts per nine innings. The senior has been one of the biggest reasons for FSU’s success in 2005 and if you don’t believe it just look at the wins and losses. Florida State is 27-7 in games where Lynch pitches meaning when Lynch steps on the mound, the Seminoles win almost 80% of the time. As amazing as that is, what Lynch is doing in ACC play is even more spectacular. The Ft. Pierce native has appeared in 14 of FSU’s 24 ACC games and posted a 3-0 record, an opponent batting average of .149 and an unbelievable ERA of 0.84. Lynch is just a couple innings shy of qualifying for many ACC statistical categories but if he were eligible his ACC ERA would be half of the next best pitcher’s ERA and his opponent batting average would be more than 50 points better than anyone else’s.
HEATING UP AT THE RIGHT TIME
Losing those first two games to Miami in Coral Gables was tough especially when FSU looked like it had the series opener wrapped up before letting it slip away. After dropping another game to the Hurricanes on Saturday, head coach Mike Martin wanted to see how his team would respond. Not only did they go out and trounce the Canes 13-1 on Sunday but they have continued to respond since that game. After going 1-5 in the first six games versus Georgia Tech, Florida and Miami, the Seminoles have turned things around in a big way and FSU is 7-1 in their last eight games with wins over Miami, Florida and two over Virginia. In the last eight games FSU is averaging over seven runs per game and the team is hitting .299. The Seminoles have homered 10 times in just those eight games an amazing number when you consider the Seminoles didn’t hit their 10th home run of the season until the 22nd game of the year. The team is slugging .477 and the staff ERA is a stellar 2.25. FSU’s lat eight opponents have hit just .208 against the Seminole pitching staff and they have struck out 47 times while drawing only 18 walks. Florida State will need to keep rolling as they try to climb the conference standings with two series versus teams in the top six of the standings.
AS HE GOES, WE GO
If you are looking for a reason FSU has gone 7-1 in its last eight, you just have to look at the guy who makes the whole offense go. Shane Robinson is an ACC Player of the Year and National Player of the Year candidate for a reason and he is tuning it on down the stretch just when FSU needs him the most. In FSU’s current 7-1 stretch, Robinson is hitting .481 with 13 runs, two triples, a home run, 20 total bases, eight walks and six steals. He is also slugging .741 and getting on base 62% of the time as well. Robinson has also reached base 14 of 24 times when leading off an inning in that span as well. He is hitting .625 with runners on base and .500 with runners in scoring position as well. In 12 opportunities to advance runners, Robinson has been successful all 12 times.
ASSAULT ON THE BOOKS
Shane Robinson’s march through history didn’t end when his 40-game hit streak concluded earlier this season. There are still a lot of Florida State records he is pursuing. The highest batting average ever posted by a Seminole is .455 by J.D. Drew in 1997 but the highest average ever in 250+ at bats is .450 and Robinson is currently just 10 points off that mark set by John-Ford Griffin. The sophomore is already fifth in steals in a single season with 40 and needs 11 more to tie the record. His 22 doubles put him 14 away from the single season record but he is only four away from moving into the top 10 in that category as well.
Florida State has been pretty successful in 2005 versus Atlantic Sun competition with a 5-0 record against the conference. In those five games (two versus Stetson and three against Jacksonville) the Seminoles have hit .320 and slugged .523. Florida State is averaging a home run a game and more than three doubles per contest. FSU pitchers have a 2.80 ERA against the Atlantic Sun and are allowing an averaging of less than a hit per inning.
Tony Thomas, Jr. may want to think about transferring to Campbell the way he is playing against the A-Sun. The freshman shortstop is batting .636 and slugging 1.182 in his five games against the conference. He has scored 11 runs, hit two of his three homers, driven in four runs, collected 13 total bases walked six times and posted an on base percentage of .789. He has also never committed an error versus an A-Sun squad. He has recorded a hit every time he has faced an A-Sun left-hander and he is batting .400 with runners on, .833 with the bases empty and .333 with a runner in scoring position. More amazingly, he is reaching base 83% of the time with the bases empty.
FIRST TO 50
Gibbs Chapman has had a pretty impressive two-year stint at FSU. After knocking in 41 RBIs last season, his first in Garnet and Gold, Chapman is the first Seminole to surpass 50 RBIs this year. He is now just eight RBIs shy of 100 in a two-year span. He is also leading the team with eight home runs. Last year only three players hit more than eight home runs (Eddy Martinez-Esteve, Stephen Drew and Ryne Malone). Speaking of Malone, he is nearing that mark as well with 97 in his first two years at FSU.
OFFENSIVE PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
Senior left fielder Gibbs Chapman was one of the main reasons the Seminoles went 4-0 last week with a key conference sweep of Maryland and a non-conference win over No. 4 Florida. Chapman recorded a hit in every game last week and led the team in RBIs, doubles, triples, total bases and home runs. Chapman slugged .850 and hit .400 as he drove in eight runs including a season-high five in the opener versus Maryland where he hit his second grand slam of the season. Five of the senior’s eight RBIs came with two outs and he hit .300 or better versus left-handers, right-handers, with runners on, with the bases empty, with the bases loaded and with runners in scoring position. Started the week with an RBI single and a stolen base in FSU’s 9-4 upset of No. 4 Florida. Chapman then opened the Maryland series in a big way by hitting a grand slam to put the Seminoles up 4-0. Later he made sure Maryland didn’t stage a comeback as he tripled home another run plating his fifth RBI of the game. In game two versus the Terps Chapman followed up his five RBI game by going 4-for-5 with two more runs scored and two more RBIs. He singled in the first and came around to score what turned out to be the winning run. He had another hit, this one an RBI single, in the second before homering for the second time in the series to put the game away in the ninth. Chapman chalked up his fourth extra base hit of the weekend in Sunday’s finale as he doubled and came around to score his fifth run of the week.
PITCHING PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
Mark Sauls pitched Florida State to two of its four victories last week as he won starts versus No.4 Florida and Maryland on the road. He pitched 12 1/3 innings in the two wins and held opponents to a .196 batting average. Sauls allowed just one hit in 21 at bats to left-handers last week holding them to a .048 average. He scattered nine hits in the two starts and gave up only four runs. The junior started the week with his biggest start of the season on the road in Gainesville versus No.4 Florida in the rubber match of the three-game series. Sauls threw 5 1/3 allowing three runs as he kept FSU in front of the Gators all game allowing the Seminoles to blow it open in the late innings in a 9-4 win. He then turned around five days later and pitched FSU to its first ACC road sweep in almost a year. Sauls tied the longest outing of his career allowing one run and four hits in seven innings of work in picking up his sixth win as he moved to 6-1 on the season.