March 9, 2006 - by
WEEKLY RELEASE: No. 2 FSU Baseball Opens ACC Play Versus First Place Maryland Friday

March 9, 2006


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THE MARYLAND SERIES


The series between the Seminoles and Terrapins began in 1965. Since then the two teams have met 48 times. Of all the ACC opponents FSU has faced, the Seminoles have the highest winning percentage (93.8%) against the Terrapins with a 45-3 record. Currently, Florida State is on a 24 game winning streak in the series and of those 24 games only three have been decided by two runs or less. FSU has scored double digit runs versus Maryland 16 times in this 24 game stretch and shutout the Terps five times. The most impressive span of games during the Seminoles’ 24 game win streak came in Tallahassee in 2000 when FSU won all three games via shutouts while scoring double digit runs in every one of those games. The Seminoles have scored 10 or more runs in each game of their three game set with the Terrapins on three occasions since 2000. In 2003 and 2004 FSU won six straight games from UMD with 10 or more runs. In 2003, the Seminoles scored 12 or more runs in each game of the series. It was the last time FSU accomplished that before its recent three game set with Brown.  The last time the Terrapins came away with a victory against the Seminoles was March 26, 1998 when the two teams met in Tallahassee, FL. Maryland won the first of the three game series 14-6. Florida State then went on to win the next two games, 14-2 and 10-0. At home, Florida State is 22-2 against Maryland. After going 11-2 versus the Terps in the first 13 games of the series, FSU has posted a 34-1 record in the last 35 meetings. As ACC opponents, FSU is 41-3 versus Maryland as the teams met just four times prior to Florida State joining the conference. All four of those meetings came prior to 1971.


 


Strictly By The Numbers


2006     FSU     UMD


Games  16         13


Avg.     .335      .227


Runs     157       47


Hits      183       99


Dbls     39         24


Trpls     7          6


HRs     21         4


RBIs    148       40


Slg %   .547      .337


BB       106       34


K         93         88


SB        31         15


ERA     2.68      4.99


 


THE STARTER


FRIDAY: Brian Henry will start his sixth consecutive Friday night game and the 10th of his career. Henry, an All-ACC first team selection in 2005, has already started more Friday night games in the first month of 2006 then he did in all of 2005. The junior has been remarkable this season and is getting better each time out. He enters FSU’s ACC opener with a scoreless streak that is up to 21 innings and a K:BB ratio of almost 6:1. Henry’s control has been phenomenal this year as evidenced by just six walks in 31 2/3 innings of work. He has not hit a batter or thrown a wild pitch either. Of the 427 pitches he has thrown this season, 68% (289) have been strikes. Every one of his starts this season and 12 of his 16 career starts have been quality starts. In 11 of those 16 starts he has also allowed one earned run or less. After giving up four runs and three earned runs in his first two starts, Henry has been untouchable in the last three games. In his last three starts Henry is 3-0 with a 0.00 ERA, he has struck out 24 batters, issued two walks and combined on all three of FSU’s shutouts this season. Overall he is 4-0 with a 0.85 ERA, best among all FSU pitchers. He leads the team in ERA, wins, innings, strike outs, runners picked off and batters struck out looking. His 13 K’s looking are almost double the amount of anyone else on the team and the three runners picked off is just one short of tying his total from all of last season. As good as Henry was in 2005, he is showing that he may be even better this year. His average per nine inning numbers are better in virtually every category this season. He is pitching longer per outing, which is to be expected as a full-time starter in 2006 but the dramatic improvement in his numbers is amazing. Henry is averaging almost 2/3 less earned runs per nine innings (0.85 to 2.22), almost twice as many K’s (9.95 to 5.87) on top of a reduction in walks and hits per nine innings as well.


 


SATURDAY: Tyler Chambliss will return to his familiar role as FSU’s Saturday starter after a mid-week start versus the Gators and a Sunday start versus Brown. Chambliss struggled for the first time this season versus the Bears. After throwing 106 pitches just four days earlier, the junior couldn’t make it out of the fourth inning his next start. He gave up a career-high six walks and six runs although only two were earned as his defense did not help him out on the day. With almost a full week of rest, Chambliss looks to return to form versus Maryland. Chambliss enters the game 4-0 with an ERA of 2.17, which is impressive but up from 0.95 before his starts versus Florida and Brown. In his first three starts and four appearances, Chambliss allowed just three runs of which only two were earned. In his last two outings, one against a former-No. 1 club and both within a span of four days, Chambliss has allowed nine runs and five earned runs. This will be a big start for Chambliss to see if his last two outings were more a testament to a tough opponent and schedule more than anything else. The former All-ACC closer continues to put up impressive numbers in almost every statistical category. Right-handers are hitting below .200, teams are hitting just .255 with runners on base and with the bases empty they are doing even worse hitting just .186. Overall opponents are hitting just .218 off of Chambliss and he is striking out (26) twice as many batters as he is walking (13). He has given up fewer extra base hits than any of FSU’s regular starters but he has hit two batters and uncorked two wild pitches as well. The only real area of concern for Chambliss continues to be his struggles with putting the leadoff runner on almost 40% of the time.


 


SUNDAY: Barret Browning is coming off his best start of the season and will start on Sunday for the fourth time this year and he will make his fifth start in the weekend rotation. His last time out, Browning gave up just one run and one walk while fanning five in a win over Brown. It was the fewest runs he had given up in a start since May 7, 2004 versus Maryland when he went five innings and gave up just one run. Browning has shown he gets better the more he pitches this season and has won each of his last three starts. In the first inning he has posted an ERA of 2.25 but that number jumps to 11.25 in the second and 4.25 in the third. If the senior left-hander can get through those opening frames he has shown he can be dominant as evidenced by his 0.00 ERA in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings. The most impressive improvement for the Jessup, GA native over the last two weeks has been his control. After walking six and striking out six in his first two starts, Browning has issued just three walks and struck out 10 batters in the last two games. His 3.66 ERA is the fourth-best on the team but the seven doubles he has surrendered and the .318 opponent batting average are concerns. Maybe even more concerning is the fact that left-handed batters are hitting .400 versus the southpaw.


 


WHAT HAPPENED LAST YEAR


Florida State and Maryland met for one three game series in College Park, MD last year. The Seminoles swept the series, winning 7-2, 8-1 and 4-2. The Seminole pitchers posted an ERA of 1.33, while the Terrapins’ ERA was 6.00. Florida State came away with twice as many hits (34) as the Terrapins (17), while posting a .330 batting average compared to the Terrapins .173. Nine FSU pitchers appeared against the Terrapins last series, seven of which have returned. All three pitchers who started against Maryland, Bryan Henry, Mark Sauls and Barret Browning, are back and two will start again this weekend. Bryan Henry and Barret Browning were both dominant for FSU. Henry went 7.0 innings gave up one run on four hits a walk and three strikeouts. Terrapin batters hit just .167 off of him but he did give up the only homer of the series to Maryland. Henry tamed the Terps left-handed batters to a tune of 0x5 and also did not allow a hit with runners on base in seven tries. Browning didn’t have as long of an outing throwing 5.0 innings but he gave up just three hits and one run while fanning two and walking two. The Terps hit just .176 off Browning and like Henry no left-hander recorded a hit. Maryland also went 0x7 versus Browning with runners on base. Saturday starter Tyler Chambliss pitched against the Terps as well and was the only Seminole to post an ERA above 1.80. While Chambliss struck out the side in his only inning of work, he also gave up a run leaving his ERA at 9.00 for the series.


 


Offensively, the Seminoles reigning national player of the year had the best series. Shane Robinson hit .500, scored four runs, had a triple, a homer, two RBIs, he slugged 1.000, walked four times, did not strike out once and stole two bases. He also torched UMD lefties hitting .750 versus that group. Ryne Malone and Jack Rye are the only other FSU players back in 2006 that hit over .300 versus the Terps last season. Both players hit .333 in the three games but Malone was the only one of the pair with an RBI as he collected two. Tony Thomas. Jr. had one of the best series by a returning Seminole due to his clutch hitting. Thomas hit .400 with runners on, .500 with runners in scoring position and with two outs in an inning. He did go 0-for-11 though when leading off an inning and hitting with the bases empty.


 


WHAT TO EXPECT FROM THE TERPS


The Terps top hitter from last year’s FSU series is back in Jason Von Behren. The senior started all three games and hit .455 but all five of his hits were singles and none drove in a run. No other Maryland hitter who will be in Tallahassee in 2006 hit better than .182 versus the Seminoles last year. Not a single Terrapin returner recorded an extra base hit off FSU in 2005. Four of Maryland‘s seven offensive returnees didn’t record a hit in the three games and if you take away Von Behren, the rest of the Terp returners combined to go 3-for-38 in the series.


 


Maryland will throw three pitchers who did not start versus FSU in 2005 and only one, Brett Tidball, who saw any action last season. Tidball had a rough outing versus the Seminoles. In one inning of work, Tidball gave up four runs and they were all earned as his ERA for the series was 36.00. The sophomore was saddled with the loss versus FSU after giving up a grand slam to former Seminole left fielder Gibbs Chapman. Tidball was susceptible versus FSU left-handers who hit 1.000 off of him. Jack Rye was the only current Seminole to record a hit off the Terrapin’s scheduled Friday night starter though. Despite one shaky inning by Tidball, most of Maryland‘s returning pitchers did rather well against FSU. Five Terp relievers who held FSU without a run are back this season.


 


ACC OPENERS


Since joining the ACC in 1992, Florida State is 35-4 in ACC opening series. The Seminoles have never lost an ACC opening series and have swept its opener eight times in 14 tries. If you only include ACC home openers, the Seminoles are an amazing 36-3. Florida State is on a 25-game winning streak when it comes to the opening weekend of ACC play at home. The last time the Garnet & Gold lost a conference game at home on opening weekend was 1997 to Virginia in the second game of the series. That was the last time FSU failed to sweep its first ACC home series of a given season. This is the 14th time in 15 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.


 


PICKS TO CLICK IN THE ACC


Based on last year’s performances in ACC play here are a few players to watch out for as FSU plays a conference opponent in 10 of the next 11 weekend series:


Shane Robinson: Collegiate Baseball’s 2005 National Player of the Year and a leading candidate for 2006 ACC Player of the Year leads the way for FSU. Last season Robinson led all FSU players in ACC games with a .385 average, a .517 on base percentage and was second on the squad with a .547 slugging percentage. He was first on the team with 27 walks and 37 runs and his 14 steals were almost four times as many as any other Seminole. The center fielder drove the FSU offense reaching base to leadoff an inning 52% of the time. He was also third on the squad with eight two out RBIs.


Ryne Malone: Sported FSU’s second-best batting average in conference games as he hit .358 in America‘s best baseball conference last year. Malone’s 28 RBIs were a team high as were his eight doubles and .578 slugging percentage. He joined Shane Robinson as the only two Seminoles to score 30 runs in ACC games and nobody had a better average versus left-handers than Malone who hit .433. Malone was one of FSU’s biggest weapons in clutch situations (anyone remember the UNC series?). The junior hit .397 with runners on last year, .429 with the bases loaded and .400 with two outs in an inning including nine two out RBIs.


Bryan Henry: It’s not a surprise to see All-ACC first teamer Bryan Henry on a list of guys to look out for in conference play. The junior went 5-2 with a 1.59 ERA in conference games last year, three-quarters of a run lower than any ACC pitcher. He posted the lowest opponent batting average (.203) of any ACC pitcher in conference games as neither right-handers nor lefties hit .210 off of him. Henry was filthy when opponents had runners on base as they batted just .164 against him in those crucial situations. ACC teams hardly fared better trying to rally against Henry with two outs in an inning as they hit just .207 in those situations.


Tyler Chambliss: The second team All-ACC selection had six saves and two wins in conference games last year. While he moves into a starting role in 2006, Chambliss proved he can cut it versus the nation’s best teams in the ACC. The junior posted a K:BB ratio of almost 3:1 and with runners on base, when he was called on to come in on many occasions, ACC squads hit just .184 off of him. Chambliss averaged over 14 strikeouts per nine innings in league games, which was the best among all Seminoles and he gave up just two extra base hits in 20 1/3 innings of work.


 


PROVING HIS WORTH


For a guy who started his FSU career at third base, Bryan Henry is proving he belongs among a long line of great Seminole pitchers. In less than one full season as a starter, Henry is 13-3 with a 1.86 ERA and he has 93 K’s. Of his 16 starts, 12 have been quality starts and he has allowed one earned run or less in 11 of those assignments. Henry’s numbers stack up with some of the best to ever wear the Garnet and Gold. With more than 120 innings under his belt, Henry’s career ERA is the third-best ever by a Seminole with 100-199 innings of work. He is one of just five pitchers in FSU history with more than 100 innings to have an ERA of 1.86 or better and the first one to do so since 1970. The last FSU starter with over 100 innings pitched and an ERA below 2.40 was Paul Wilson and he was FSU’s only No. 1 overall draft pick. Henry is definitely in good company.


 


TWO GUYS SIX K’S


Jack Rye and Dennis Guinn are providing the pop in the Seminole line-up this year which is a perfect balance to Shane Robinson’s All-American lead-off capabilities and Ryne Malone’s steady stick. Guinn and Rye entered the week first and second in the ACC in homeruns and both are in the top four in the conference in slugging percentage. The FSU sluggers have combined to hit .404, slug .789, drive in 44 runs and hit 11 homers. As amazing as those numbers are, there is one that is even more startling when you consider the power numbers these two players are posting. In 109 combined at bats and more than 140 plate appearances, Guinn and Rye have combined to strike out just six times. Both are showing incredible patience at the plate, Rye more so than anybody as the sophomore has struck out only two times and drawn an amazing 20 walks. That number leads the team and is far and away more than anybody in the conference. Rye is averaging 1.33 walks per game, which is a higher rate than J.D. Drew’s record setting season in 1997 when he drew 1.25 walks per game. That season Drew was walked in 30% of his at bats this year Rye is being walked 40% of the time. WOW!


 


TWO THE TOP


Although Baseball America still has FSU outside of the top five this week, the 2006 Seminoles are continuing their climb to the top of the polls. FSU is ranked eighth by Baseball America, and fifth in the USA Today and NCBWA polls. This week’s Collegiate Baseball poll has Florida State ranked No. 2 in the nation. It is the 298th consecutive time FSU has been ranked in the oldest collegiate baseball poll in existence and it is the highest ranking for a Seminole team since May 5, 2003 when the Seminoles were the consensus No. 1 team in the nation. The last time FSU was ranked second in a poll was the week before (April 28, 2003) before the club assumed the No. 1 spot.


 


D-DAY


Florida State catcher Danny Diaz has started to scare opponents with his offense lately on top of his work behind the plate. Including the game where he busted out versus Florida five games ago, Diaz is hitting .294 with seven RBIs, which is third on the team behind only Jack Rye and Dennis Guinn. Diaz has hit .500 against left-handers in this stretch, hit .333 with runners on, .500 with runners in scoring position and .600 with two outs in an inning. His fielding percentage is 1.000 in the last five games and he has gunned down three runners over that stretch as well.


 


THEY ARE COMING FROM ALL OVER


As much as FSU Head Coach Mike Martin is looking for his entire line-up to hit, when it comes to winning games, everyone in his batting order is pitching in. Seven different Seminoles have driven in game-winning RBIs this season and no one player has more than three. Shane Robinson, Buster Posey and Tony Thomas, Jr. are all tied for the team lead with three game-winning RBIs and they represent three different parts of the line-up. Robinson has started every game at the lead-off spot, Posey has hit fifth more than at any other spot and Thomas seventh. Jack Rye has spent most of the season hitting second and Josh Spivey fifth and they both have two game-winning hits. Travis Anderson and Dennis Guinn both have a game-winner as well.


 


LET THE GAMES BEGIN


While ACC play officially opened last weekend with Maryland taking two of three from Duke, a case can be made this is the real start of the conference season with 10 teams involved in an ACC series. The 12-member league opens up the quest for the Atlantic and Coastal Division titles in better shape than they have in a long time if you put stock in the national polls. In three of the four major polls, the ACC has four teams in the top five. While the order may be jumbled Florida State, Georgia Tech, Clemson and North Carolina enter this weekend sporting a top five ranking in the USA Today, NCBWA and Collegiate Baseball polls. No other major conference in America right now can brag that they have even one top five team in any of those three polls while the ACC has four (Rice is in the top five in all three polls). The conference isn’t just top heavy though as NC State and Miami are both ranked in at least one poll and Wake Forest showed up at No. 30 in a poll this week as well. That puts seven ACC teams among the top 30 in the nation in the NCBWA poll.


 


FIRST OF 12


Sunday’s game versus Maryland will be the first of 12 scheduled to be broadcast during the regular season. Last year FSU posted a record of 10-8 when its games were televised. During the regular season Florida State was 8-5 in TV games. This year eight of the 12 broadcasts will originate for Tallahassee. The four road games on the schedule right now are Saturday’s game versus North Carolina, the first two games of the Clemson series and the final game versus Wake. The TV games versus Wake and Clemson will all be televised consecutively as FSU fans can watch three straight road contests. That isn’t the longest stretch though. From Saturday April 15 versus Miami all the way to April 22 versus Georgia Tech, fans can watch six straight FSU baseball games. Nine of the 12 games will be broadcast on SUN Sports starting with Maryland this weekend. One game will be shown on CSS (Clemson) and the other two (UNC and one UM game) will be broadcast by FSN Florida.


 


TV GAMES


Date     Opponent          Network           Result


3/12      Maryland          SUN


3/24      Duke                SUN


4/1        @ UNC            FSN


4/15      Miami               FSN


4/16      Miami               SUN


4/19      Florida              SUN


4/21      Ga Tech           SUN


4/22      Ga Tech           SUN


5/7        @ WFU           SUN


5/12      @ Clemson       SUN


5/13      @ Clemson       CSS


5/20      NC State          SUN


 


SPRING HAS SPRUNG


While Florida State fans and players are focused on the season that is already well underway, there are plenty of former Seminoles making news on the field. The opening of Spring Training finds 11 former FSU players on the 40-man roster for Major League teams and two others that are non-roster invitees. Some old veterans like Doug Mientkiewicz (Kansas City) and Eduardo Perez (Cleveland) are in new places while others like Paul Wilson (Cincinnati) are in familiar territory. Former FSU greats like Marshall McDougall, John-Ford Griffin and Stephen Drew will try to stick with their Major League clubs this year in hopes of matching the careers of Wilson, Mientkiewicz and J.D. Drew. Seminole alums aren’t just playing in the grapefruit and cactus leagues; two are playing on the International stage at the World Baseball Classic. Perez (Puerto Rico) and Mark LaMacchia (Italy) are competing for their countries in the first ever true world championship for baseball.


 


40-MAN ROSTER


Kevin Cash                   Tampa Bay


Matt Diaz                     Atlanta


JD Drew                      LA Dodgers


Stephen Drew               Arizona


John-Ford Griffin           Toronto


Marshall McDougall      Texas


Doug Mientkiewicz        Kansas City


Scott Proctor                 NY Yankees


John Wasdin                 Texas


Paul Wilson                   Cincinnati


Eduardo Perez              Cleveland


 


NON-ROSTER INVITEES


Mickey Lopez               Florida


Randy Choate               Arizona

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