March 15, 2005 - by
WEEKLY RELEASE: No. 16 FSU Baseball Opens ACC Play Friday

March 15, 2005

  • Weekly Release in PDF Format


    This year’s meeting between the two schools will be the first since Virginia Tech has joined the ACC. The last time the Seminoles played Virginia Tech was in 1991 when the Seminoles swept a three game series at home 3-2, 4-1 and 11-1. FSU currently leads the all-time series 20-4 which dates back to 1967 and have a current streak of 11 consecutive wins in a row dating back to 1989.  During their 11 game win streak FSU has scored at least eight runs in seven of the 11 games. The Seminoles also hold a record of 17-4 against Virginia Tech in games played at home.  Neither team has recorded a shutout in the series.



    After a rough finale to the Hawaii trip, you’d think the last thing the Seminoles need is a conference series but you’d be wrong. Since joining the ACC in 1992, Florida State is 32-4 in ACC opening series. Florida State has never lost an ACC opening series and has swept its opener eight times. If you only include ACC home openers, the Seminoles are an amazing 33-3. Florida State is on a 25-game winning streak when it comes to the opening weekend of ACC play. The last time the Garnet & Gold lost a conference game at home on opening weekend was 1995 to Wake Forest. This is the 13th time in 14 years that FSU has opened ACC play at home. The only time the Seminoles opened conference play on the road came in 2002 at Virginia.



    There was no doubt that the sweep by Hawaii that closed FSU’s spring break trip hurt. Florida State suffered its worst shutout loss in school history, lost on a walk-off hit in the bottom of the ninth and blew two, four-run leads. It was just the 18th three-game series sweep by a non-conference opponent in FSU baseball history. One thing FSU has on its side though is that it has always rebounded well after such slip-ups. Last season the team lost a three-game series to Arizona State only to reel off five straight wins afterwards. FSU has gone on three seven-game win streaks following a series sweep and one six-game run. The only two times FSU lost a three-game series and didn’t follow by playing at least .500 baseball came in 1984 when the team lost back-to-back games following a sweep and in 2001 when FSU followed a sweep by Miami by going 1-2 over the next three games. 



    The way FSU baseball finished its Hawaii trip cast a pretty dismal sense of the entire trip but playing .667 on a two-week road trip is nothing to frown about. There were plenty of individual performances that stood out over the two-week trip as well. Shane Robinson continued to lead the way for FSU. On the two week Hawaii trip, the sophomore hit .514 with a team-leading three doubles and four RBIs. He slugged .600, was on base 61% of the time and fielded a perfect 1.000. He also swiped nine consecutive bases and scored a team-high 14 runs. Freshman Jack Rye really found his swing as well and left Hawaii as FSU’s new clean-up hitter. The California native hit .481 and led the team with eight RBIs. He was 2-for-2 with the bases loaded and 2-for-3 with runners in scoring position. In a more limited role due to the play of Rye, fellow newcomer Ruairi O’Connor had a nice trip. He hit .429 and slugged .857. O’Connor was the only Seminole to homer in Hawaii and he did that at Aloha Stadium.



    Outfielder Shane Robinson is in the midst of an ACC Player of the Year and an All-American type season. His 30-game hitting streak and unreal numbers speak for themselves. The guy is at nearly 100 at bats and still hitting .500 on the year. He leads FSU in average, slugging, on base percentage, runs scored, hits, doubles, total bases and steals. But to really put into perspective what Robinson is doing this year, two stats speak volumes. With 36 runs scored and 21 RBIs, 31% of FSU’s runs in 2005 have involved Robinson in one way or another. Second, in 25 games and 98 at bats, he has struck out only seven times. There have been 20 games where he hasn’t struck out at all and he has just two, two strikeout games all season. On top of that, every time he steps out he is averaging two hits, a steal, at least one run scored and an RBI. EVERY TIME! He has been the model of consistency this year.



    While Florida State and Virginia Tech are two fairly young teams, there inexperience is made up on each team’s bench. The team’s two coaches that have over 2,700 wins and 71 years of head coaching experience combined. Mike Martin and Chuck Hartman came into 2005 in the top five for the most wins by active D-I coaches and in the top seven for the most wins all-time by D-I coaches. Coming into the week, the pair had amassed 2,766 victories and only one other pair of D-I coaches in the same conference can match that total and that is Augie Garrido (Texas) and Larry Hayes (Texas Tech) who came into the week with 2,912 combined wins.



    In eight of Tyler Chambliss’ 12 appearances, the closer has not allowed a hit and on 10 occasions he has not allowed an earned run…Chambliss has not given up an extra base hit in 15 2/3 innings this season…Aaron Cheesman has not struck out more than once in any game this year and in 15 games he has no K’s…reliever Matt DiBlasi has not issued a walk in nine of his 12 appearances…Michael Hyde has struck out more batters than he has walked in each of his last five appearances…there have only been four games this year where Shane Robinson has not scored a run.



    There were a few worried faces in the Seminole dugout Sunday in the second game of a doubleheader with Hawaii-Hilo. The team, in front 3-0, was sweating out whether All-American candidate Shane Robinson would be able to extend his 24-game hitting streak to 25 games. In the first game of the twin bill the center fielder needed just five pitches in the top of the first to move out to 24 games. In the second game Robinson was one strike away in his final at bat from seeing the run come to an end. After fouling off a few pitches the sophomore hit a 1-2 pitch through the right side of the infield starting a five-run rally to blow the game wide open. Robinson has now upped that streak to 30 games. Here are some facts from the Shane Robinson hitting streak. Part of the reason there have been so few worries during the 30-game hitting streak is the fact that Robinson has led off a game with a hit 10 times and picked up his first hit in the second inning seven more times. So 17 of the center fielder’s first hits have come within the first two innings. The latest he has had to wait this season is the eighth inning and he has recorded that first hit in the seventh four times (Auburn, St. Joe’s, Hawaii-Hilo and Hawaii Pacific). The hit streak would be a little bit shorter if not for a ninth inning double in the Super Regional versus Arkansas in 2004. That is the latest the sophomore has waited for the first hit of the game. Robinson has recorded his first hit of a game in the third once, in the fourth three times, in the sixth twice and the seventh once. He has never recorded his first hit in the fifth inning and not once in the ninth in 2005. In fact, the ninth inning is the only frame in which Robinson hasn’t recorded a hit but he has only had two at bats in the last frame of the game. Robinson has hit for a cycle as far as first hits go. He has got he first knock of the game via a single, double, triple and home run. Most amazingly he has 18 first hit singles and 12 first hit extra base hits. Nine times he has gotten his first hit via a double and once it come on a triple and twice via a home run.



    J.D. Drew                               1997                        34

    Marshall McDougall           1999                        33

    Ryan Barthelemy                  2002                        33

    Shane Robinson                   2004-05                  30

    Brad Parker                            1988                        28

    Luis Alicea                            1984                        27



    Shane Robinson is on a 30-game hitting streak and is leading the Seminoles in almost every offensive category but he has another streak going that is pretty impressive as well. Since getting thrown out trying to steal in the first game of the year, the sophomore has now swiped 24 consecutive bases without being caught. He has already surpassed his freshman number of 19 steals with 25 in 2005 and he and Gibbs Chapman are becoming a terror for opponents on the bases. The two have combined to swipe 38 of 40 bases they have attempted to steal. They are the only two Seminoles in double digits as far as steals.



    So much focus has been put on Shane Robinson and deservedly so but you can’t overlook the season Gibbs Chapman is having so far. The senior leads the team in RBIs (27), walks (20) and homers (3) and is second in slugging percentage (.517), on base percentage (.457), runs scored (21), total bases (45) and steals (13). Chapman is having a very balanced campaign so far. In his 25 starts, the left fielder has scored a run in 18 games, recorded a hit in 20 games and knocked in a run in 17 games. There has only been one game this season where Chapman has not recorded a hit, run or RBI and that came in the 15-0 loss to Hawaii.



    Tony Thomas, Jr. still may not be hitting as well as he wants to but over the last month he has raised his average almost 100 points (.174 to .270). He has recorded a hit in nine of the last 12 games but one thing that hasn’t changed is that whether it is a hit or a walk, the freshman keeps finding ways to get on base. In his 23 games as a starter, Thomas has reached base in 20 games. He is third on the team in on base percentage and second on the team in walks and with Shane Robinson hitting behind him, he is fourth on the team in runs scored. In his first 10 games as a starter, Thomas did not record a walk and a hit in the same game despite the fact he reached base via one or the other eight times. Since then, Thomas has reached by a walk and a hit in the same game seven times.



    Freshman Ruairi O’Connor’s path to FSU was unconventional. He is the first high schooler to graduate early and enroll at Florida State in the spring. You would think that he would have trouble adjusting to college pitching especially without a senior season under his belt but guess again. O’Connor is second on the team with two homers and he is slugging .486 on the year. Most amazingly, he has struck out just four times in 35 at bats and he has never K’ed more than once in any game in 2005.



    Sophomore Shane Robinson isn’t the only Seminole with a streak going. Senior reliever Kevin Lynch is in the midst of a pretty good streak himself. The reliever has now gone 14 consecutive innings without allowing an earned run. In fact, in 16 appearances Lynch has not allowed an earned run on 13 occasions. One of Lynch’s greatest assets is his experience and every time he steps on the mound he comes closer and closer to notching his place in FSU history. With 106 career relief appearances, he is just five away from second place all-time at FSU. He is chasing former teammate Daniel Hodges who holds the record for appearances and relief appearances.



    1) Daniel Hodges       127

    2) Zach Diaz                116

    3) Ricky Kimball         113

    4) Chris Chavez          109

    5) Kevin Lynch          106

    6) Mike DiBlasi           98

    7) Chris Roberts         97



    1) Daniel Hodges       127

    2) Zach Diaz                111

    3) Kevin Lynch          106

    4) Mike DiBlasi           98

    5) Ricky Kimball         92

    6) Chris Ginn               86

    7) Chris Chavez         85



    One of the most impressive players as of late has been reliever Trent Jarvis and Florida State fans should expect to see more of the pitcher as FSU moves into conference play. The redshirt freshman has not allowed a run all year in 4 1/3 innings and he is striking out batters at a ratio of almost 2:1 compared to his walks. After an impressive Hawaii trip, FSU head coach Mike Martin singled Jarvis out as a guy that will see more playing time.



    Fans looking for a reason for FSU’s struggles in Hawaii need look no further than K’s. Before leaving for the islands, FSU had never struck out more than nine times in a game and that happened just once. On their travels through the islands Florida State struck out 10 times three times. The Seminoles averaged over seven K’s a game in Hawaii and in six of the games in the islands FSU struck out seven or more times. The 66 K’s seem even worse when compared to the 45 walks the team drew.



    Robinson was one of the few bright spots in a rough week for FSU in Hawaii. The sophomore hit in every game last week and has now extended his hitting streak to 30 games, the third-longest in FSU history. He had three multi-hit games, scored two or more runs in four of the games, he hit .526 (his season average is now at .500) and stole six bases. He has already surpassed his season total for steals and has now swiped 24 consecutive bases since being thrown out on opening day of the 2005 season. He has 16 multi-hit games on the year as well with eight two-hit games and eight three-hit games. For the week he went 10-for-19 with two doubles, eight runs scored, two RBIs, two doubles, six steals, two walks and he was perfect in the field. He slugged .632 and posted an on base percentage of .625. Robinson hit .500 with runners on base, .545 with the bases empty, .600 with runners in scoring position, .500 with two outs in an inning and he reached 67% of the time when he led off an inning.


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