April 27, 2005 - by
WEEKLY RELEASE: No. 15 FSU Baseball Hosts Virginia This Weekend

April 27, 2005

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    Last season the Seminoles visited Charlottesville and dropped the first game of the three game series but then won the next two games 7-6 and 4-1. The loss in the series opener ended FSU’s six-game win streak versus UVa. The Seminoles have a commanding advantage when they play Virginia at home posting a record of 19-3. FSU has won 10 consecutive home games in the series. Florida State also has the all-time advantage over Virginia 37-9. The Seminoles have won 21 of the past 24 meetings between the schools. The Seminoles have recorded five shutouts in the series.



    FRIDAY: The meteoric rise of sophomore starter Bryan Henry has landed him his first ever Friday night start. While starting 32 games at third base Henry made a few bullpen appearances. He was so impressive he garnered a mid-week start versus Florida and then a Sunday start versus Miami. Now he will take a shot as FSU’s new Friday night starter. The right-hander is coming off wins over No. 3 Florida and No. 4 Miami and will open an ACC series for the first time in his brief career. The Tallahassee native has made just four starts in his life and for the third time in a row he will be called on to make a huge start for the Seminoles. Henry is now leading all FSU starters with a 1.79 ERA and a K:BB ratio of 5:1. The reigning ACC Pitcher of the Week has been successful in 2005 because of his control. In eight of Henry’s 10 appearances he has not issued a walk and in 40 innings of work he has walked just six batters. The only time he has ever walked more batters than he fanned was in the first start of his career in Hawai’i. Henry has the team’s best ERA in ACC play as well at 2.38 and he has been masterful against conference opponents holding the opposition to a .220 batting average. Henry has allowed more than two runs just once in an outing this year and that is when he gave up three versus Clemson.


    SATURDAY: Barret Browning will make his second consecutive Saturday start after starting the first game of every ACC series in 2005 coming into last weekend versus Miami. Browning is the only FSU starter to make every one of his 2005 starts in a weekend ACC series. Browning has had some success starting the second game of a weekend series. In four starts on “Saturday”, (Appalachian State, Hawai’i Hilo, Hawai’i and Miami) Browning is 0-1 but has a 3.27 ERA and has struck out 23 batters while issuing just 10 walks. Teams have hit just .241 against Browning in that span. As a part-time starter at the start of the season, Browning was 2-0 with a 0.86 ERA and opponents hit .243 against him. The junior transfer then moved into a full-time starting role and has struggled a little since facing better teams as FSU’s “ace”.  He has gone 1-2 with a 3.49 ERA in the last 49 innings. Teams are still hitting just .253 against him and his strikeout and walk numbers are much improved as he has fanned 48 batters and walked just 21 in that span.


    SUNDAY: Michael Hyde returns to the weekend rotation after a one series absence. Hyde has the best record (6-2) among FSU starters and except for one rough outing at Georgia Tech; the sophomore has gone five or more innings in every one of his starts. Hyde is an inning eater averaging 5 1/3 innings pitched per appearance, best on the team. While opponents are hitting just .265 against Hyde he is the only pitcher on the team to surrender double digit doubles (13) and he is tied for the team lead for the most home runs surrendered (3). That equates to an opponent slugging percentage of .378. Hyde’s ACC stats are a little skewed due to his outing at Georgia Tech where he gave up five runs in 2 2/3 innings of work. He is 2-0 in ACC play with an ERA of 6.04 but without that one Tech start, his ERA falls to 4.76 in his four other conference starts. In fact Hyde has really had just two bad starts all year, his Georgia Tech outing and a 10 run performance in Hawai’i. Minus those two starts Hyde’s ERA falls from 4.61 to 2.95 in his other 11 appearances.



    Florida State hit just .237 as a team versus Virginia last year in the three game series. Not only did the Cavaliers out hit the Seminoles (.291 to .237) but they out pitched FSU too. Virginia had a staff ERA of 4.67 in the series compared to FSU, which posted an ERA of 5.54. So how did FSU take two out of three? One area where the Seminoles dominated was extra base hits where they held an 11-4 advantage. So despite being 54 points below UVa in team batting, the Seminoles held a 21 point edge in slugging percentage (.371 to .350) mainly due to a 10-3 edge in doubles. Other than extra base hits, Virginia held a statistical edge in almost every category last season. They out hit FSU with runners on base (.404 to .400), versus lefties (.526 to .314), versus righties (.238 to .152), with the bases loaded (.400 to .000), with runners in scoring position (.448 to .429) and with two outs (.375 to .206). Virginia also fielded better than FSU as they did not commit a single error in the series (0 to 2) and they also swiped more bases (3 to 2) at a higher percentage (.600 to .500).


    The only Cavalier starting pitcher FSU faced last season that they will see again this year is junior Matt Avery. The Virginia pitcher threw Saturday night last year and is slated to open the series Friday. Avery had a strong outing in UVa’s 15-2 win. He threw 7 1/3 and allowed just two late runs. He held FSU scoreless through the first six innings of the game.


    Out of FSU’s returning starters, Ryne Malone had the best series against Virginia. The sophomore hit .400 last season in three starts versus UVa. He led the team with three RBIs and posted a team-best on base percentage of .500. Malone had three RBIs in the three games and hit safely in all three games as well. He was also a perfect 3×3 with runners on base.


    Gibbs Chapman was the only other current Seminole to hit .300 in the series. The left fielder went 3×10 with a double and two RBIs. Chapman killed UVa lefties last season going 3×7 for a .429 average. He also had a great series with runners on hitting .600 and hitting even better with runners in scoring position (.750).


    Kevin Lynch had the most success of any returning pitcher against the Cavaliers. The senior pitched three innings last season and did not allow a hit. He struck out four batters and didn’t issue a walk.


    While he isn’t slated to start this weekend, Mark Sauls is the only current Seminole to start a game on the hill for FSU in last year’s series. The junior had a terrific outing going six innings while allowing just one run. He walked more runners than he struck out (3:1) and the Cavaliers hit .300 off of him but he pitched FSU to a Sunday victory in a 4-1 win.


    RANDOM NOTES: Three current Seminoles hit .600 or above with runners in scoring position and three hit .750 or better with runners in scoring position…two current Seminoles, Gibbs Chapman and Aaron Cheesman, were the only players to successfully steal a base versus the Cavs in 2004…Brant Peacher recorded a pinch hit in last year’s series. He was the only player on either team to record a pinch hit…Gibbs Chapman had a rough series when it came to two-out hitting going 0x6 in the three games…FSU only had one opportunity to hit with the bases loaded compared to five for Virginia.



    What can you say about the week Bryan Henry had? He is the reigning ACC Pitcher of the Week and was named national player of the week by College Baseball Insider. He only beat FSU’s two biggest rivals five days apart and they are currently both residing in the top five. He pitched almost half of the innings FSU played last week (15 1/3 of 34) and he had more innings pitched than FSU’s other two starters combined. He registered the third-longest outing of the season Tuesday and then went on to record the longest outing of the year (8.0) on Sunday. Henry held the four best hitters on Florida and Miami to an average of just .230 (3×13). Jon Jay, Ryan Braun, Jeff Corsaletti and Matt LaPorta are currently batting a combined .395 and three of those four players are on at least one National Player of the Year watch list. They managed just three hits versus the Seminole sophomore.



    While FSU may not have won their series with the conference’s top two teams (Miami and Georgia Tech), there was plenty of reason for optimism especially when it comes to the Seminole pitching staff. The Yellow Jackets and Hurricanes are two of the nation’s most prolific offenses yet each hit well below its season average against FSU. Miami came into the weekend series hitting .340 but hit just .193 against Seminole pitchers, 147 points below their season average. The Yellow Jackets were hitting .348 but could only manage a .281 average versus FSU. The Seminoles also did extremely well against the best player for each team. FSU limited Tech’s Tyler Greene to a .154 average and they held UM’s Jon Jay hitless.



    For just the second time this season, FSU will go into a three games series pitching all first year Seminoles. This weekend Florida State will throw Bryan Henry, Barret Browning and Michael Hyde. Henry and Hyde are sophomores and Browning is a junior but all three are in their first season in Tallahassee. The only other time the Seminoles threw all first year players in a series was against Clemson and FSU won two of three from the Tigers. That series FSU coaches used the same three pitchers, just in a different order. Browning threw first followed by Hyde and Henry. This time Henry is taking the lead role as he will open the series Friday night. Henry was the only one of the three to lose in the Clemson series but the sophomore played all nine innings of the first game of the doubleheader before moving to the mound. The fatigue seemed to get to him as he had his least productive start of the year.



    FSU saw a victory slip through their hands at Miami in the series opener but it was what happened Sunday that will stick in people’s minds for a long time. The 13-1 Seminole victory was the worst defeat suffered by the Canes in 76 games. It was also the most lopsided win ever for the Seminoles at Miami tying the 1957 team, which defeated UM 15-3. The 12-run loss was the worst of the season for the Canes and the most lopsided defeat for UM since a 17-4 loss versus Georgia Tech April 2, 2004. It was also the most dominating win for FSU in the series since a 12-0 win at Dick Howser Stadium in 2003. Dating back to the 2003 season, Miami has allowed a team to score double digit runs just 13 times in 167 games and FSU has been responsible for three of those performances.



    Senior Danny Wardell had a day he will never forget in the series finale against Miami. Wardell broke the game open versus the Hurricanes with the first grand slam of his career, tying a personal best with four RBIs in a game. The first baseman has really been hot as of late as his playing time has increased with more starts at first. Since the Georgia Tech series Wardell is tied for the team lead with a .333 batting average but the real story is his power numbers. In those seven games, easily FSU’s toughest stretch of the year, Wardell slugged a team best .750 with a double, three homers and seven RBIs. Over that stretch he not only led the team in average but slugging percentage, RBIs and runs scored as well.



    Nobody will ever be happy going 2-5 in a seven game stretch no matter who the competition is and that goes double for the FSU coaching staff but there were some positives to come out of this recent span of games versus three teams (Georgia Tech, Florida and Miami) ranked in the top five in one poll or another at the time of the game. Statistically, it is really hard to see how FSU didn’t go 5-2 in the seven games. The Seminoles didn’t hit for average as a team .245 but they held their opponents to the exact same average. Florida State outscored their opponents (38-37), out hit them (59-53), had more extra base hits (21-18), out slugged them (.398-.366), drew an equal amount of walks (30-30), did a better job in the field (.984-.964) and even out homered that group (7-4). The Seminoles even turned more than twice as many double plays as the opponents (7-3). If you had told head coach Mike Martin going into the Tech series he would come out of this seven game stretch leading in all those offensive categories, you bet he would have taken it in a second. If you are looking for a reason why the Seminoles won just two of those games, you can’t blame the pitchers. The Seminoles limited two of the nation’s top offenses to an average of 107 points below their season batting averages and their 5.06 ERA was less than a run off of what their opponents posted (4.35). So what was the difference? There were a few categories that were heavily in favor of FSU’s opponents. The Seminoles struck out 15 more times than their opponents (67-52) and they only stole two bases compared to eight for the competition. While those are factors in the losses it was probably inexperience in big games that hurt Florida State more than anything. The Seminoles made half as many errors as Georgia Tech, Florida and Miami but the errors they made were costly. It also didn’t help that FSU had a two run and three run lead going into the eighth and ninth innings in two of those seven games and failed to hold on for wins.



    Shane Robinson once again showed why he is on every watch list for National Player of the Year. In the series versus Miami Robinson was on the field with three other National Player of the Year candidates in Cesar Carillo, Ryan Braun and Jon Jay and none played anywhere near the level of Robinson. Jon Jay didn’t have a hit in the series while Braun had just two. Jay went 0-for-5 with runners on base, 0-for-1 with the bases loaded and 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position. Ryan Braun fared a little better but still went 0-for-3 with runners on, 0-for-1 with the bases loaded and 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position. Carillo had one of his worst outings allowing three runs and leaving the game trailing 3-0. All Robinson did was hit .500, slug .833, get on base 57% of the time and not strike out all series. He got on base in his first at bat of all three games; he scored five runs, hit two doubles and a triple. He hit .667 when leading off an inning and .400 with two outs. He also hit .333 with runners on base. Combined, Jay and Braun didn’t have as many hits, score as many runs or total as many bases as Robinson and they struck out three more times than FSU’s All-American candidate.



    One of the nice things about being in Tallahassee is that it is the capitol of the state. When the senate is in session the legislators are a captive audience for Florida State news. The obviously were paying attention to Shane Robinson’s hit streak. The Florida House of Representative’s passed HR9167 April 20 recognizing the center fielder’s 40 game hit streak. The house resolution was passed with Robinson in attendance at FSU day at the capitol.



    Danny Wardell, 1B, SR, Florida State University

    The Seminoles senior first baseman recorded a hit in all four FSU games last week as the Seminoles defeated two top seven teams. He led the team with a .462 batting average, two home runs, six RBIs, 13 total bases and a 1.000 slugging percentage. Wardell also drew two walks and had a double. He recorded an RBI in each game in the Seminoles series at No. 7 Miami. Wardell hit .600 versus lefties last week, 1.000 with the bases loaded and .500 with runners in scoring position. In the Seminoles series finale versus the Canes, Wardell broke open a 4-1 game with his first career grand slam. The four RBIs tied a career high for the senior. His RBI in the series opener versus Miami put FSU up 3-0 and his sixth inning homer in game two brought FSU within a run at 3-2.



    Bryan Henry, P, SO, Florida State University

    Florida State‘s sophomore starter had a dream week. The Tallahassee native started against two top seven teams on top of the two teams he grew up watching play his hometown Seminoles in No. 5 Florida and No. 7 Miami. Not only did he beat both top seven teams, he did it with two of the best starts turned in by an FSU pitcher and he did it just five days apart. In his two wins against Florida and Miami last week, Henry pitched 15 1/3 innings gave up three runs, struck out nine batters and issued just three walks. Teams hit just .211 versus the right-hander with runners on base and .226 overall in the two games. He registered the longest outing of the year by any Seminole in the win over Miami (8.0) and the third longest outing of the year versus Florida (7 1/3).


    Tuesday versus No. 5 Florida it looked like he pitched the game of his life going 7 1/3 downing one of FSU’s most bitter rivals 4-2. Five days later it was another top five team and another huge rival. All Henry did was throw eight innings of four hit ball and allow one run as FSU handed Miami its worst defeat in 76 games dating back to April 2, 2004. The 13-1 victory was the most lopsided win ever for the Seminoles at Miami tying the 1957 team. It was also tied for the fewest runs scored by a Miami team in 2005. Henry held the Canes to just four hits and limited Miami’s two National Player of the Year candidates (Jon Jay and Ryan Braun who are ranked fifth and 21st in the nation in batting) to one hit in six at bats. He did not allow a walk versus Miami marking the eighth time in 10 appearances this season that Henry did not allow a free pass. The Canes came into the game with the fourth best team batting average in the nation and the sixth ranked offense as far as runs scored and Henry held them to one run and a team batting average of .138, over 300 points below their season average.


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