March 2, 2006
FRIDAY: Bryan Henry has been brilliant this season for FSU but even more so over his last two starts. The last two Friday’s Henry has gone 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA in 14 innings of work. The junior has dominated allowing 10 hits and holding UNCA and Minnesota to a .204 batting average. As impressive as those stats are the Tallahassee native has been even more impressive when it comes to strikeouts and walks. In his last 14 innings, Henry has issued just two walks and fanned 17 batters. He has gone seven innings each game and has been a part of the first two shutouts of his Seminole career. This is the first time Henry has made back-to-back starts where he didn’t allow a run. With his last two near-perfect starts, Henry has raised his consecutive streak of shutout innings to 15, which is more than double his career long from his All-ACC First Team rookie season. Henry’s control has been pinpoint accurate in 2006 as evidenced by his K:BB ratio of almost 5:1. He has walked just six batters in 25 2/3 innings while fanning 28. The junior’s streak of innings without a walk reached 16 before a free pass versus the Gophers in the third inning this past Friday. He has not hit a batter nor has he thrown a wild pitch this season. Just 26 of the 100 batters Henry has faced have reached base via a hit or walk. For the season, Henry is 3-0 with a 1.05 ERA. His ERA is the lowest it has been since the seventh inning of his career when he entered a game with Duke sporting a 0.00 ERA. At that point the sophomore had made just one start and three appearances in relief. This season he is holding opposing batters to a .213 average and his average of 6.42 innings pitched per appearance is almost an inning and a half better than any other Seminole pitcher. Henry has been magnificent at home this season going 3-0 with a 0.46 ERA in 19 2/3 innings. He has allowed just two runs and only one was earned as he is holding batters to a .200 average. Right-handers are struggling big time versus Henry hitting just .188 at Mike Martin Field. There are two big reasons for Henry’s success at home in 2006. He is keeping runners off base (six walks), a .146 average with the bases empty and he is allowing just 24% of leadoff hitters to reach. Second, when he has a chance to get out of an inning he does. The right-hander has allowed just five hits all season at home with two outs in an inning.
SATURDAY: Coming into this weekend’s action either Barret Browning or Michael Hyde will make a weekend start and if Tyler Chambliss isn’t ready to go on Sunday they will both pitch. Both pitchers made weekend starts versus Minnesota and both picked up wins. Browning has been the scheduled Sunday starter for every series finale this season. The senior is 2-0 with a 4.30 ERA. All three of his starts have come at home. Browning allowed fewer hits, struck out more than twice as many batters and gave up half the walks versus Minnesota than he did in his previous start against UNCA. In his last start the left-hander allowed the fewest hits and walks and struck out the most batters of any of his appearances in 2006. While Browning is showing that he is starting to settle into his groove, there are still some areas of concern. While he tied season-bests for walks and strikeouts, Browning gave up two doubles, he hit a batter and had a wild pitch on top of a season-high three earned runs. Of the four FSU pitchers who have started games, Browning’s .317 opponent batting average is more than 100 points higher than anyone else. Another concern has to be that left-handed hitters are batting .500 versus the Georgia native.
If Hyde gets a start this weekend, it would mark the second one of the year for the junior. He made his first start Saturday versus Minnesota and went five innings while giving up just two runs. He struck out twice as many as he walked and gave up just four hits. Hyde has a K:BB ratio of 3:1 this season and he is holding opposing batters to a .207 average. The Tallahassee native has been very tough on right-handers allowing just two hits in 20 at bats (.100). Lefties have gotten to Hyde though hitting at a .444 clip. Hyde has been very good with runners on base where teams are just 3×19 (.158) and with two outs in an inning (2×11). The biggest problem for Hyde this year has been at the beginning of innings where he is allowing 62% of leadoff hitters to reach base. On the plus side, only Brent Marsh is averaging more K’s per nine innings than Hyde among hurlers who have pitched five or more innings.
SUNDAY: Due to a Tuesday night start in Gainesville Tyler Chambliss may make a rare Sunday start versus Brown. The junior picked up his fourth straight win as he pitched a career-high 6 1/3 and threw a career-high 106 pitches versus No. 5 UF. Those numbers may keep him off the hill Sunday as coaches will evaluate him this Friday and see if he is ready to make another start this week. Tuesday night’s outing was the fourth straight quality start for Chambliss as he issued just one walk while fanning four in giving up three runs. It was his first career win over a ranked opponent as a starter as he led FSU to a 6-4 win. Chambliss has been spectacular this season. He is 4-0 with a 1.78 ERA and opponents are hitting just .194 off of him. He has issued one or no walks in each of his last three appearances and has 13 strikeouts in his last 13 innings. Chambliss has yet to give up an earned run at Mike Martin Field in 2006 and has allowed just one run in 13 innings in his home stadium. He has a 4:1 K:BB ratio in Tallahassee and is holding batters to an amazing .095 batting average. Lefties are 0-for-9 versus the Live Oak native at home and in 28 opportunities with runners on and/or two outs in an inning, teams have just two hits. The only times Chambliss has allowed an earned run this season were on the road versus SEC teams (Auburn and Florida). He is also doing a great job limiting big hits as only two of the 104 batters he has faced have recorded an extra base hit (not even 2%).
COULD MOVE TO SIXTH
With a win versus Brown Friday, the 2006 Seminoles will tie the sixth-longest home win streak in school history. This current run stands at 19 games. The 1996 team won 20 straight and they are next up on the list for the current group of FSU players. The all-time record is 26 games and that was done by three teams (1968, 1986 and 1991). If FSU is to break that record, they will have to win every game through Winthrop March 14. That will put the 2006 group at 27. As good as this run has been at home, it is still just the third best this decade as the 2003 (24) and 2000 (23) teams both had longer home win streaks. The last time FSU lost at home was May 1, 2005 versus Virginia.
With his seven inning gem last Friday night versus Minnesota, Bryan Henry had his third straight quality start of the season. That’s nothing new for the junior though. Last season Henry put together a string of eight straight quality starts before a Super Regional loss to Florida. Among pitchers who have started their FSU careers since 1999, only one player has more career quality starts than Henry. From 2000-03 Matt Lynch piled up 20 quality starts, the most by any Seminole in the last eight years. Tyler Chambliss seems to be following in Henry’s footsteps. In his first four starts of the season, Chambliss has gone at least six innings and given up three runs or less each time. Henry and Chambliss have combined to start eight games and make seven quality starts.
In 2005 freshman Dennis Guinn had just 11 at bats. He entered the 2006 season in a battle for the starting job at first and without a career hit. Look at him now. The Haines City, FL native leads FSU in homeruns, slugging percentage and RBIs through the first 12 games of the year. Guinn is in the top five of eight offensive categories and is the only Seminole with more than 30 total bases so far this season. His four homeruns are more than half the amount the entire team had in 2005 through the first 12 games. This decade only one Seminole has gotten off to a better start as a homerun hitter than Guinn and that was Ryan Barthelemy in 2001 when he hit five homers in the first 12 games. Since 2000 only one Seminole with more than one homerun in the first 12 games of a season has failed to hit double digit bombs for the year. Guinn has already done something this season no Seminole did in the last two years and only one other player has done since 2003. With his homerun versus Florida, Guinn recorded an RBI in his eighth straight game. The last Seminole to accomplish that feat was Blake Balkcom in 2003. Nine would be the most by any FSU player in the last three years.
THEY ARE BULLYING TEAMS
One of the biggest concerns in 2006 had to be the FSU bullpen. If you weren’t a coach or player, you had no idea what to expect from guys like Luke Tucker, Travis Burge, Brent Marsh and Jimmy Marshall. Sure Matt DiBlasi and Brian Chambers were back but there were still a lot of new arms. There really should be no questions about this group right now. Overall, the FSU bullpen is 1-1 with two saves and a 3.56 ERA. They have walked 16 batters and fanned 39. Those are solid numbers but since the trip to Auburn the pen has been on fire. The FSU pen has posted an ERA of 2.10 in the last seven games with just seven walks and 19 K’s. In six of those seven appearances the pen has allowed just one earned run or less and walked two batters or less. Overall in 2006, the pen has allowed one earned run or less nine times in 12 games.
STEALING HIS WAY TO THE TOP
Shane Robinson has been a terror on the base paths this season. The All-American is a perfect 8-for-8. Last season Robinson had 14 swipes in his first 12 games, more than this season but he had also been thrown out once. Last season the center fielder swiped 13 bases before he was thrown out for the first time of the year. In 2005, Robinson swiped 27 consecutive bases at one point and his longest streak as a freshman in 2004 was 19. The Tampa native has now stolen 74 bases, which puts him ninth on the career list at FSU. With 25 more steals Robinson will become the all-time steals leader at FSU and with 26 the first Seminole to swipe 100 bases. Robinson’s average is 34 steals a year, which would put him at 102 if he was able to just meet his average. Last year the junior stole 49 so he has a chance to not only get the record but obliterate it. Four of the eight players ahead of Robinson accumulated their career records over four years and three did it in three seasons. Edwin Alicea who swiped 90 bases did it in just two seasons. While Robinson’s 19 steals from his freshman campaign will always be counted, if the junior swipes 42 bases this year he will pass Alicea for the most steals in a two-year span in school history.
Dennis Guinn is off to a phenomenal start to the season. The sophomore first baseman is hitting .364, slugging .705, getting on base 43% of the time and leading the team with four homers, 14 RBIs and 31 total bases. One stat that many people probably don’t know about is how clutch Guinn has been. Of the sophomore’s 14 RBIs, 64% (9) have come with two outs in an inning. No other Seminole has more than four RBIs with two-outs in an inning and if you add up the entire Seminole starting line-up, their 12 two-out RBIs are just three more than Guinn has all by himself. Guinn’s last two homeruns have come with two outs, a grand slam and a game-tying shot versus the Gators in Gainesville. He is second on the team with a .316 average with two away, hitting .429 with runners on, .412 with runners in scoring position and on top of all that he is the only Seminole with two bases loaded hits this year.
TWO FOR TUESDAY
All season long FSU baseball fans can take advantage of the new “2 For Tuesday” ticket promotion. Ticket prices for all general admission seats for Tuesday games are now just $2.00. Fans can see their Seminoles take on four of the most surprising teams on the home schedule in Mercer (3/7), Winthrop (3/14), UNF (3/21) and Jacksonville (4/4) at a special price. Contact the FSU Ticket Office at 644-1830 for more details.
HE GOT IT!
Mike Martin crossed another milestone off his to do list with his team’s sweep of Minnesota. With Saturday’s 12-4 win, Martin became only the eighth coach in NCAA history to reach the 1,400 win-plateau and only the sixth active coach to do so. Of the eight coaches with 1,400 wins Martin has the fifth-best winning percentage and the second-highest winning percentage among active Division I coaches. Of the top 10 coaches across all divisions for wins, only four coaches have a winning percentage above .700 and Mike Martin is among that group. Gene Stephenson of Wichita State is the only active coach who has 1,400 wins and a higher winning percentage than Martin. Overall, Martin ranks third in the DI 1,400 win club behind Stephenson and former Texas coaching legend Cliff Gustafson for winning percentage.
GOT ANOTHER ONE
Dennis Guinn received the first ACC Player if the Week honor of his career Monday after a dominating performance in a three game sweep of Minnesota. It was the 48th all-time ACC Player of the Week award for a Seminole, which is the second-most in conference history. Guinn’s conference honor came just a week after Bryan Henry’s selection as ACC Pitcher of the Week which boosted FSU’s total number of ACC Pitcher of the Week awards to 40, more than any other team in the ACC. The only team even close to matching that number is Clemson with 33. No other team in the conference has had one of its pitcher’s receive that honor more than 27 times. When you combine weekly honors, no school in the ACC has had its players honored more times than Florida State’s 88.
OFFENSIVE PERFORMANCES OF THE WEEK
The Bottom Of The Order
The top four hitters in the FSU line-up will all be considered for All-ACC or All-America honors at some point in their careers and they are showing why in 2006 with all four hitting .333 or better but it was the guys at the bottom that carried FSU to victory versus No. 5 Florida. The seven, eight and nine hitters in the Seminole order combined to go 5-for-11 with four RBIs and four runs scored. Number nine hitter Danny Diaz’s two-run double broke open a 1-1 game as the catcher gave FSU a lead they would never surrender. Then Tony Thomas, Jr.’s two-run homer in the sixth proved to be the game-winner scoring the fifth and sixth runs for FSU.
The Haines City native continues to display the power coaches and teammates saw every day in batting practice in 2005. The first baseman is in a groove right now and he had one of the biggest hits of the night in the win over the Gators. After UF took an early 1-0 lead off ace Tyler Chambliss, Gator starter Kris Gawriluk held FSU off the board for three innings but Guinn’s two-out homer in the top of the fourth totally changed the game. It wiped out the only lead UF would have on the night and opened the flood gates versus Gawriluk as the Seminoles went on to get three more in the top of the next inning.
PITCHING PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
Chambliss probably didn’t have his best stuff on the night but he gave a gutsy performance in the win versus Florida. The former All-ACC closer pitched a career-high 6 1/3 and threw a career-high 106 pitches as he scattered seven hits. It was the fourth straight quality start for the junior as he issued just one walk while fanning four in giving up three runs. Chambliss kept FSU in the game all night and for the first time in his career he recorded a win over a ranked team as a starting pitcher.
There really aren’t enough adjectives to describe the FSU bullpen so far in 2006. What they did versus Florida Tuesday night was the difference in the Seminole win. Each of FSU’s three relievers came in and got a huge out. Brent Marsh came into a 6-3 game with the bases loaded and got a double play to end that threat. He was followed by Matt DiBlasi who came into the game in the eighth with the tying run at the plate and the senior put out that fire. Luke Tucker then worked a perfect ninth to pick up his second save of the season. They gave up one run, one hit and did not issue a walk in 2 2/3 innings of work.