March 22, 2005
A QUICK LOOK AT THE SERIES WITH JACKSONVILLE
The last time the Seminoles met JU was in 2004 on a Tuesday in Jacksonville where the Seminoles won 15-4. That victory helped FSU run their current win streak versus JU to nine straight and 29 of the last 30. The Seminoles also have a four game win streak in games played in Jacksonville but this will be the first ever meeting between the teams at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville. In all four of those wins in Jacksonville the Seminoles scored in double digits. FSU leads the all-time series 99-30 and 33-21 in games played in Jacksonville. Florida State has recorded 12 shutouts in the series with three of those coming in games played in Jacksonville.
WHAT HAPPENED LAST YEAR
- The combined batting average for current Seminole batters in the four meetings with Jacksonville University in 2004 was a whooping .429. Gibbs Chapman led the way with a batting average of .700 in his 10 plate appearances against JU and a .714 average against JU right-handers. Brant Peacher was close behind hitting .600 versus the Dolphins last season with all of his plate appearances coming against left handed pitching. Aaron Cheesman, Ryne Malone and Shane Robinson each hit JU hard with averages of .417, .333 and .316 respectively.
- Returning Seminoles were on base more than half the time against JU last season as they posted a .540 on-base-percentage. Jacksonville could not keep Chapman off of the base paths as he registered a .750 on-base-percentage during the four meetings. Returning Seminoles reached base 17 times either by a base-on-balls or a hit-by-pitch. Cheesman and Danny Wardell were given a free pass to first base five times each as both players were tied for the team lead against JU in 2004.
- Seminole returnees also came through in the clutch last season as they hit .333 with runners in scoring position. Chapman hit .667 with runners in scoring position while Peacher came through with a .500 average as he delivered with three hits in his six appearances when runners were on second and third.
- Five of the eight current Seminoles hitters took JU pitching yard in one of their plate appearances in 2004. Those five hitters (Chapman, Peacher, Cheesman, Malone and Wardell), they were averaging one home run as a group in every 9.4 at bats.
- In 2004 FSU scored 56 runs against JU in four games and 25 of those were scored by a Seminole on the current roster. Chapman, Cheesman and Wardell each crossed the plate five times in the four meetings.
- Of the six pitchers who made appearances against JU in 2004, Hunter Jones (Tuesday’s starter) and Brian Schultz recorded wins. Jones started the first meeting of 2004 against JU and pitched five innings allowing five runs on seven hits while striking out six batters. He earned the win as Seminole hitters provided him with nine runs of support in the first three innings of the game.
- Brian Schultz, who made relief appearances in all four meetings, earned his win after entering the third game against JU in the fifth inning. Over the four games with JU Schultz faced 19 batters and struck out nine.
- Kevin Lynch made three relief appearances against JU, pitched a combined three innings and only allowed one earned run in that span.
- Tyler Chambliss made two scoreless relief appearances and struck out five of the seven batters he faced.
- Mark Sauls made his only appearance against JU in relief during the seventh inning of the second meeting.
THE STAGE IS SET
Shane Robinson did his part this past weekend with seven hits versus Virginia Tech extending his hit streak to 33 games. The stellar sophomore will now have a chance to tie J.D. Drew’s school record in Jacksonville Tuesday night. Drew set the streak record in 1997 and since then two other Seminoles have reached 33 games. Both of those streaks by FSU players have been ended by Florida schools and both in FSU losses. In 1999 Marshall McDougall came within one game of matching Drew before his streak came to an end at home against Miami in a 4-3 FSU loss. The next player to threaten Drew’s record was Ryan Barthelemy just a few seasons ago in 2002. The third baseman extended his streak to 33 games at home on a Saturday versus Jacksonville and then traveled to JU the next day where the hit streak came to an end. It just so happens that is the same JU team Robinson will try to tie the record against Tuesday. Drew’s 1997 streak came to an end in a win at home versus North Carolina. It was the only one of the top three streaks that was ended in a win and in a conference game.
EVEN MORE AMAZING
If you thought Shane Robinson was having an amazing season you have no idea. The sophomore is on a 33-game hit streak and leads the team in batting average, slugging, on base percentage, runs, hits, doubles, total bases and steals. After 110 at bats he is hitting .509 and slugging .700 while reaching base almost 58% of the time. Those numbers are just mind boggling but they don’t really tell just how much Robinson means to FSU’s success. The youngest Seminole team in Mike Martin’s 26 years is 24-4 in large part because of Robinson. He has scored 20% of the team’s runs, collected 20% of the team’s total hits, 19% of the squad’s total bases and 18% of FSU’s doubles and home runs. Oh yeah, he has 41% of the team’s stolen bases as well. On top of all that, he has either scored or driven in almost 32% of Florida State‘s 208 runs this season.
EVEN MORE AMAZING II
Some of the best numbers for people who love stats come from the situational statistics. Those stats include a player’s numbers versus left and right-handed pitchers, with the bases loaded, with bases empty, with two outs in an inning, etc. It is also just another page of numbers for Shane Robinson to dominate. In the seven major situational categories Robinson is hitting .500 or above in six of them and he leads the team in five of the seven. He is first against lefties (.516), against right-handers (.506), with runners on (.500), with runners in scoring position (.515) and with the bases empty (.517). In the two categories he doesn’t lead, hitting with the bases loaded (.500) and hitting with two outs (.438), he is second on the team. He is also tied for the team lead with 11 two-out RBIs. He also leads the entire team by successfully advancing runners almost 68% of the time.
ARE YOU SCARED?
Coming into the game with the bases loaded is the biggest challenge for a relief pitcher but it is even tougher when you walk into a bases loaded situation and there still aren’t any outs in the inning. That was what happened to FSU’s Kevin Lynch when he took the mound in Friday’s 3-1 ACC opening win over Virginia Tech. With FSU ace Barret Browning on the hill the Seminoles were up 2-0 when Browning issued a bases loaded walk to cut the lead to 2-1. With nobody out and the bases full of Hokies Lynch was brought into the game. The ace reliever shut down the potential rally by getting the first batter watching strike three. He then got the second out on a pop up to second and ended the fifth with his second K looking of the inning. FSU head coach Mike Martin knew what he was doing when he brought Lynch into the game in that situation. It was the sixth time this season Lynch came into the game with the bases juiced and the fifth time he did not allow a single run to score. It was also the third consecutive game in which Lynch came in and ended a bases loaded threat without allowing a run to cross home plate. Overall Lynch has inherited 29 base runners this season and only five have scored, which is a measly 17%.
Freshman outfielder Jack Rye is making a huge impact in his first season as a Seminole. Despite the fact that he is sharing time with Ruairi O’Connor in right, the Californian is second on the team in batting average and slugging percentage. He is also in the top five for hits, RBIs, total bases and sac flies. He has been on a tear of late especially. After seeing his average dip to .182 following the second game of the St. Joe’s series, Rye has hit .488 in the last 17 games with five doubles and 14 RBIs. He is slugging .610 in that span as well. His average on the season is now up to .394. His hot hitting has also landed him the job of FSU’s new clean-up hitter and he is adjusting to that move very well also. Hitting out of the four spot Rye is batting .462 with nine RBIs. Since making the move in the final game of the Hilo series, Rye has a team-leading nine RBIs and he has four multi-RBI games in his last four starts compared to just one in his previous 16 starts. He has had 21 at bats in the clean-up spot in that span and has driven in a run in eight of those at bats, which is 38% of the time. He is also FSU’s top hitter when the bases are loaded. The freshman is hitting .600 going 3-for-5 with the bases juiced.
GOTTA WALK BEFORE YOU CAN RUN
One of the things that drive any coach crazy is giving up walks and that is no different with the Seminole coaches. In coach Mike Martin’s book giving up a walk is as bad as giving up a hit and base runners obviously lead to runs. His pitching staff seems to realize that as well. There has been only one game all season where FSU has walked more batters than they struck out and that was in a win over Stetson. Since that game FSU has struck out 100 batters and issued just 41 walks. In that 14 game span the Seminoles have struck out more batters than they have walked 11 times and struck out as many batters as they have walked three times. For the season, FSU has a K:BB ratio of almost 2:1.
DON’T BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU READ
Baseball coaches love stats and they use them for scouting purposes but when it comes to stealing on Aaron Cheesman, opposing coaches may want to examine that second page of stats a little closer these days. At the beginning of the season would-be base stealers were successful 73% of the time against the senior catcher swiping 11 bases in 15 attempts. Things sure have changed lately. Cheesman is on fire now when it comes to gunning down would-be base stealers. Of the last 24 players who have tried to steal on Cheesman, only 11 have been successful as he has thrown out an amazing 54% of runners during this stretch including four of the last five. Thanks to this recent run, the Sarasota native is now throwing out 45% of the players attempting to swipe bases off of him this year.
GO FOR TWO
While Florida State’s 11 home runs aren’t going to set any records (for most or least homers in a season), the team is getting it done as far as extra base hits go. Seminole batters have recorded an extra base hit in every game but one this season (the Sunday loss to Auburn). This year’s squad is even holding its own when compared to the 2004 team, which had a few more big bats in the line-up. Last season FSU recorded 250 extra base hits in 68 games for an average of 3.676 extra base hits per game. This year FSU has 92 in 28 games for an average of 3.28, which is not that far off of last year’s numbers. The 2005 Seminoles are making up for the lack of home run power as they are averaging 2.6 doubles per game compared to 2.1 for the 2004 squad.
GIVING UP NOTHING
Reliever Trent Jarvis had one of the best Hawaii trips of any Seminole and Mike Martin will tell anyone who is willing to listen that Jarvis is going to be a huge part of the Seminoles plans as the team enters a more hectic schedule over the next few months. Just one look at Jarvis’ numbers and it is easy to see why he is going to get more playing time. While only pitching 4 1/3 innings this season, the redshirt freshman has yet to allow a run and hitters are only batting .133 against him. No left-handed batter has a hit off him as of yet as he has only given up two hits all season. Opponents are 0-for-4 against Jarvis with runners on base and he has not given up a leadoff hit in five opportunities either, which is a big reason he hasn’t allowed a run. Jarvis is also doing a great job as far as his control goes leading the team with an average of 14.54 K’s per game.
Starter Barret Browning has been one of the best stories of the year for the FSU pitching staff. The junior has assumed the role of Friday night starter for Florida State after falling out of the regular weekend rotation just the third week into the season. One of the reasons he is starting on Friday’s is that FSU is 6-1 when he starts. The reason the Seminoles are winning behind Browning is because he is so good at the start of games. He has not allowed a first or second inning run in seven starts, in fact he has never allowed more than two earned runs total in any inning. He is second on the team with 41 innings pitched yet no pitcher with nearly as many innings or starts has an ERA as low as Browning’s 1.54, which is the third-best ERA in the ACC.
WINNING IN THE END
Florida State has had a knack for winning close ball games in 2005. The team is 7-1 in one-run and two-run games. One of the reasons is that the Seminoles are at their best down the stretch. Florida State‘s ERA in the eighth and ninth innings is first and second among the lowest ERA’s when calculated frame-by-frame. The FSU pitching staff has a 1.21 ERA in the ninth and a paltry 1.05 ERA in the eighth. Eight of the 11 FSU pitchers who have pitched in the eighth have not allowed a run and six of the eight pitchers who have thrown in the ninth have not allowed a run as well.
OFFENSIVE PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
Shane Robinson, OF, SO
Florida State University
Florida State center fielder Shane Robinson is now one game away from tying FSU’s record 34-game hitting streak thanks to his seven hits in the Seminoles three game sweep of their ACC opening series versus Virginia Tech. The wins extended FSU’s home win streak in ACC opening series to 31 games. The sophomore recorded a hit in the first inning of all three games and led FSU with a .583 average in the series. Robinson led off each and every game of the series with a hit and he scored each time he led off the game with a base hit. He not only led the squad in average but he led the team in runs (6), hits (7), home runs (1) and total bases (10). He slugged .833 and posted an on base percentage of .615. He hit .750 versus Tech lefties, .500 versus right-handers, .667 with the bases empty, .500 with runners on and .500 with runners in scoring position. He reached base all four times he led off an inning in the series and he hit .400 on the weekend with two outs in an inning. The Tampa, FL native is now hitting .509 on the year while leading the team in runs, hits, doubles, triples, total bases, slugging, on base percentage and steals. He is also just three RBIs off the team lead as well.
PITCHING PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
Kevin Lynch, P, SR
Florida State University
Florida State‘s senior reliever set the tone for FSU’s sweep over Virginia Tech in the opening game of the series. With FSU ace Barret Browning on the mound the Seminoles were up 2-0 when Browning issued a bases loaded walk to cut the lead to 2-1. With nobody out and the bases full of Hokies Lynch was brought into the game. The ace reliever shut down the potential rally by getting the first batter watching strike three. He then got the second out on a pop up to second and ended the fifth with his second K looking of the inning. It was the sixth time this season Lynch came into the game with the bases juiced and the fifth time he did not allow a single run to score. He didn’t allow a hit over the next four innings while striking out four more batters and not issuing a walk in the only closely contested game of the series, a 3-1 FSU victory. For his effort he was rewarded with his team-leading fifth win while keeping FSU’s 29-game winning streak in ACC home opening series alive. For the weekend, Lynch pitched five innings without giving up a walk and allowing just one hit.