Since joining the ACC in 1992, FSU has faced North Carolina six times in the ACC Tournament. FloridaState is 5-1 all-time against the Heels in the conference championship. The teams have never met more than once in any single tournament and they have never opened the ACC Tournament versus one another. In fact five of the six all-time tournament meetings have come in FSU’s third or fourth game of the tourney and FSU was 5-0 in those games. The only other time the teams played was in the second round of ACC’s. That was the earliest the teams have ever met and it was also the only time FSU has ever lost to UNC in the tournament. The Seminoles five wins have been by an average of almost four runs per game but the last two meetings, which the schools split, were both one-run games. This will be the first meeting between the schools in an ACC Tournament in Florida though. In 1997 and 2002 the tournament was held in St. Petersburg, FL but UNC and FSU never met in the ACC Tournament those two years.
Bryan Henry has solidified the FSU pitching staff since making his first Friday night start against Virginia. Since that outing April 29, FSU has gone 13-3 including a 12-game win streak and an eight-game ACC win streak. Henry has not only taken Tallahassee by storm but he finished the regular season the No.1 pitcher in the ACC for ERA, ERA in conference games and opponent batting average in ACC play. Henry’s 1.44 ERA is close to a full run better than Miami‘s Cesar Carillo who is in second for ERA and more three quarters of a run better than anyone else’s in conference games alone. He is the only pitcher in the ACC holding conference opponents to a batting average below .210. Henry’s ERA is the sixth-best in the nation now and it has been almost a month since he has allowed more than one earned run in a game. The key to Henry’s success all season has been control. In 68 2/3 innings of work, Henry has issued just 14 walks and he has only walked eight batters in 51 innings during ACC play this year. His K:BB ratio is 3:1 but in conference games it jumps to over 4:1. Another reason for Henry’s success is the way he gets his outs. Henry is the only pitcher on the FloridaState staff that records more fly ball outs than ground ball outs. He averages well over 12 fly ball outs per game and just over seven outs per game via ground balls. When you get that many fly ball outs the chance of your defense making errors drops dramatically. The sophomore is also proving himself to be money in pressure situations. Opponents hit just .164 against him with runners on base and only .207 with two outs in an inning.
Mark Sauls had his last outing versus NC State cut short due to rain that suspended the game. The junior has now taken over the number two spot in FSU’s rotation following Bryan Henry in the last three ACC series. Sauls opened 2005 as FSU’s Friday night starter. A bout with tendonitis shelved him for over a month and he is now pitching as well as he has all year. Sauls has yet to lose a game he has started this season. He is 6-1 with a 3.63 ERA and in his 11 starts the junior is 6-0 with a 3.30 ERA. As a starter, teams hit just .230 off him and in 51 2/3 innings he has allowed just eight extra base hits. In fact, Sauls has allowed just nine extra base hits all season. In his 15 appearances in 2005, Sauls has allowed either one or no earned runs nine times. There have been only three occasions where Sauls has surrendered more than three earned runs and those were all four run outings. Two of those three appearances accounted for just 2/3 of an inning combined, which means Sauls has allowed eight of his 23 earned runs in just two outings that covered 2/3 of an inning. Without those two hiccups, Sauls’ ERA drops from 3.63 to 2.40 as he has allowed only 15 earned runs in his other 56 1/3 innings of work. Unlike Henry, Sauls’ has gotten into trouble with his control. He is the only FSU pitcher to have more walks than strikeouts this season (26:25). His control has improved in his last six starts as he has issued 10 walks and struck out 12 batters.
Michael Hyde is 6-2 with a 4.88 ERA this season and is tied for the team lead in starts with 15. The first 12 appearances of his FSU career were all starts but since then he has made three starts and three appearances in relief. In Hyde’s first nine starts he went 6-2 with just one no decision. Since then he has not been the pitcher of record in his last five starts. Hyde got off to a fast start at the beginning of the year. He streaked out to a 4-1 start while posting an ERA 1.78 in the first six starts of his FSU career. Then came a 10-run outing versus Hawai’i where the Bows put up 10 hits and 10 earned runs on the right-hander. Since that outing Hyde’s number are the polar opposite of where he started the year. Excluding the 10-run game at UH, Hyde is 2-0 with a 5.91 ERA in his last 11 appearances, which includes seven starts. Teams are hitting .307 against him in that stretch and he has allowed 15 extra base hits, the most on the team. All 30 runs he has allowed in those 11 appearances have been earned. Since March 19, teams are batting .329 against him once runners get on base, which is 42 points higher than teams hit off him when the bases are empty. The sophomore is also allowing almost 41% of lead-off hitters to reach base in that stretch as well. Hyde is allowing an average of almost two doubles per game and surrendering an average of more than one homer a game both of those averages are the highest on the team among starters. Hyde has proven he can go deep into games though. With just one exception, the sophomore has pitched at least five innings in every start this season and he is second on the team with an average of 4.81 innings per start.
Hunter Jones had worked his way back into the weekend rotation as the regular season came to a conclusion and will be counted on this week in Jacksonville if the Seminoles are to repeat their title run from 2004. The left-handed junior is coming off one of his best performances of the season this past weekend in Raleigh, NC. Jones was scheduled to start versus NC State but when rain forced delays he started the resumed second game instead of starting the third game of the series. The junior went 5 1/3 and allowed just four hits and one run. He did not walk a batter and he fanned four. He once again showed great control, which has been one of the strongest parts of his game as of late. In the last five outings covering 21 2/3 innings, Jones has walked just five batters and struck out 21. Jones has also shown he can give the coaching staff innings as of late. He has now pitchedat least five innings in four of his last six appearances. Coming into that stretch Jones had gone three innings or less in three of the previous five appearances. Dating back to an April 17start versus Georgia Tech, Jones is 0-1with a 5.40 ERA but he has pitched the second-most innings on the staff. Three of the last four times Jones has pitched the Seminoles have gone on to win the game (Maryland, Stetson and North Carolina) and the one time FSU lost (NC State) Jones left the game with FSU in the lead. Jones has a strikeout to walk ratio of almost 3.2:1 this season and opponents are hitting .298 against him. He is the only FSU starter who has an opponent batting average above .281 although that number has fallen recently after reaching a high of over .300 a few weeks ago.
Barret Browning moved into a bullpen role after spending much of the season in the starting rotation and making more Friday night starts than anyone on the squad. The FSU coaching staff made the move of bringing Browning out of the pen so they could have another leftie at their disposal but if the Seminoles need a starter this week, Browning could easily be the pitcher they call upon. This has been a tale of two seasons for the one-time ace of the staff. More than half way through the year Browning was 3-0 and leading FSU with a 1.71 ERA. He had made 10 starts and given up two earned runs or less in nine of those 10 starts. Since then Browning is 1-4 with a 6.49 ERA and he has given up four or more earned runs in four of his last five starts. He has given up a team-high 11 extra base hits in his last nine outings including five home runs. He enters the ACC Tournament off the most disappointing start of his FSU career. The junior started game three versus NC State and lasted just one inning while giving up seven hits and five runs. While he had some bad luck in that game (ie: an outfielder slipping on a fly ball that ended up being a triple), the Wolfpack still hit for the cycle off Browning as he didn’t record an out in the second inning. He has recorded just 22 strikeouts in his last nine appearances compared to 48 in the first 12 appearances of his career. In fact, in his four starts in March alone he recorded 25 K’s. It is easy to see why the coaches like using Browning out of the pen. In his last four appearances as a reliever, Browning has not allowed a run in six innings of work while striking out six and issuing just one walk despite the fact teams are hitting .350 off of him in that span.
LAST YEAR’S ACC TOURNEY STARS
The six current Seminoles who appeared in the ACC tournament in 2004 combined to hit .384.That group also hit for a good amount of power as their combined slugging percentage was .563 and they were on base just under half of the time as they posted an on base percentage of .448.
Aaron Cheesman and Shane Robinson each recorded identical batting averages of .423 (11×26).Cheesman and Robinson had three doubles apiece in the tournament. Robinson had a slightly higher slugging percentage, .615 compared to Cheesman’s .538 as Robinson registered one triple.Cheesman’s .467 on base percentage was highest of all current Seminoles as he drew one walk and was hit by two pitches. Cheesman and Robinson each scored five runs in the tournament.Robinson led all recent Seminoles with six RBIs as he hit .545 (6×11) with runners in scoring position. Cheesman added three RBIs.
Gibbs Chapman was solid offensively as well as he posted a .360 batting average (9×25).Chapman equaled Robinson’s extra base hit count as he recorded three doubles and a triple for a .560 slugging percentage.Chapman crossed home plate five times equaling the totals of Cheesman and Robinson and he also drove in three runs in the series.
Ryne Malone added to the Seminoles’ large offensive numbers as he hit .333 (8×24). Malone’s five doubles led the entire team and helped him to put up a .542 slugging percentage. Malone also led all current Seminoles with five walks which helped him to an on base percentage of .448.Malone tallied four runs and four RBIs in the tournament to add to his offensive production.
Of the six total bases stolen by FloridaState three came from current Seminoles as Malone swiped two bases and Robinson added one.
Danny Wardell appeared and started in two of the six games at the ACC tournament and he contributed a .571 batting average (4×7) including a triple which helped him slug .857. In just two games Wardell tallied six runs which were more then anyone current Seminole.
Five current FloridaState pitchers made appearances in the ACC tournament. They combined to pitch 36 2/3 innings and hold opposing hitters to a .243 batting average while posting a 2.98 ERA.
Mark Sauls and Tyler Chambliss were the only Seminoles to make a start. Sauls started two games and received a win and a no decision. He threw a combined 11 innings and allowed eight runs, six earned, on 14 hits and two walks while striking out one batter. Chambliss, who made two relief appearances to go along with his one start, picked up two wins in the tournament.Chambliss pitched a combined 10 1/3 innings and allowed six runs, three earned, on nine hits and three walks. He also struck out a whopping 12 hitters in the tournament which were the most by any FSU pitcher.
Matt DiBlasi equaled Chambliss’ number of appearances with three as he pitched a combined eight innings and allowed two runs, both earned, on four hits and four walks while striking out six. Kevin Lynch made two appearances and pitched a combined 6 2/3 innings and allowed just one run, which was earned, on seven hits and two walks while striking out seven. Brian Chambers also made an appearance as he pitched just 2/3 of an inning and only allowed one hit.
ACC SERIES RECAPS
FloridaState picked up the 3-1 win over Virginia Tech in its first ACC home game of the season.Kevin Lynch bailed the Seminoles out of a no-out bases loaded jam in the fifth inning to pick up his fifth win of the season. Lynch threw four perfect innings while striking out six hitters. Jack Rye came through in the clutch for the Seminoles as he knocked in two runs. Rye‘s first RBI came on a single in the first and his second was a sac fly in the third.
In the second game of the series Florida State down Virginia Tech 12-2. Michael Hyde picked up his fifth win of the season as he pitched six solid innings only allowing two earned runs on eight hits while striking out six. Ruairi O’Connor had a career day as he racked up five RBIs and two doubles. O’Connor set career highs for hits (3), doubles (2), and RBIs (5).
The Seminoles completed the sweep of Virginia Tech as they took the finale 8-1 on Sunday.Mark Sauls led the Seminoles as he pitched six innings and only allowed one earned run on three hits and two walks while striking out one. Shane Robinson had a three hits day as he scored three runs, collected two RBIs and upped his hitting streak to 33 games.
FloridaState took the first game from Duke 5-3 in their first ACC road trip of the season. Barret Browning threw six innings in a no-decision and only allowed three earned runs on nine hits and two walks while striking out six hitters. Gibbs Chapman came through when FloridaState needed him the most as he hit a two-run home run in the top of the ninth to put Florida on top 5-3.
FloridaState took the first game of a doubleheader on Saturday from Duke 11-4. Brant Peacher led the way for the Seminoles as he went 4×4 with three RBIs and his first home run of the season. Michael Hyde picked up his sixth win of the season as he pitched 5 2/3 innings allowing four runs, all earned, and five hits. Hyde struck out four and issued three walks.
The Seminoles fell to Duke 8-7 in the second game of the doubleheader. FloridaState fought back after falling behind 5-0 in the first inning to tie the game in the top of the sixth. Bryan Henry was the hard luck loser for the Seminoles as he entered the game in relief in the first inning. Henry went onto pitch 5 2/3 innings allowing two runs, both earned, on four hits.Henry struck out six batters and did not issue a single walk. Shane Robinson also upped his hitting streak to 37 games with an RBI single in the fifth inning.
The Seminoles christened the newly named Mike Martin Field at Dick Howser Stadium as they took the series opener from Clemson 3-1. Barret Browning had the best start of his career to date as he threw 7 2/3 innings and only allowed one unearned run to score on three hits and two walks.He also struck out eight hitters. Tony Thomas Jr. recorded two RBIs in the game and Shane Robinson up his hitting streak to 39 games.
Florida State took the first game of the doubleheader against Clemson 5-4 on Sunday. Clemson tied the game in the top of the ninth but Florida State came through to win in the bottom of the ninth as Aaron Cheesman laid down a sac bunt and Shane Robinson crossed home plate with the game-winning run. Robinson also extended his hitting streak to 40 games.
FSU dropped the second game of the doubleheader and the series finale with Clemson 7-3. Shane Robinson’s 40 game hitting streak also came to an end. Ryne Malone went 3×4 on the day and scored two of the Seminoles three runs.
FloridaState rallied form a 5-0 deficit to beat WakeForest at home 7-5. FSU had a six run fifth inning thanks to a bases loaded, two RBI single from Brant Peacher to cut Wake Forest’s lead to 5-3 and then a grand slam from Ryne Jernigan put the Seminoles on top 7-5. Brian Chambers had the best pitching performance so far of his career and in the process picked up his first win of the season as he appeared in relief in the fourth inning and threw 4 2/3 innings of one hit ball while striking out four.
In another tight game with WakeForest the Seminoles edge the Demon Decons 4-3. In the bottom of the eighth inning in a 3-3 game, FloridaState loaded the bases with Ryne Malone coming to the plate.Malone drew a walk on a 3-2 pitch that pushed what proved to be the game-winning run a crossed the plate. Michael Hyde received a no-decision after throwing 5 2/3 inning and allowing three runs, all earned, on three hits. Kevin Lynch picked up his sixth win of the season after pitching 2 1/3 scoreless innings in relief and only allowing two hits while striking out two.
WakeForest‘s seven run 12th inning helped the Deacons avoid a series sweep at the hands of FloridaState. Tony Thomas Jr. kept the Seminoles in the game as he hit a solo home run with one out in the bottom of the ninth that tied the game 6-6. FloridaState tried to rally in the bottom of the 12th as they put four runs up on the board but it was not enough as the final score was 13-10. Matt DiBlasikept the game close for the Seminoles after they fell behind 6-1 in the fourth.DiBlasi appeared in relief in the fifth inning and threw a season high 3 1/3 scoreless innings and only allowed three hits while striking out three.
FloridaState dropped the first game to Georgia Tech on the road 6-4.Even though FloridaState out hit Georgia Tech it was not enough as five of the Yellow Jackets runs came via home runs. Barret Browning started the game for the Seminoles and took his first loss of his career as he threw six inning and allowed six runs, all earned, on five hits and two walks.Browning also struck out seven Yellow Jacket hitters. The Seminoles picked up three of their runs in the third thanks to a Ryne Malone RBI single and an Aaron Cheesman two RBI double.
The Seminoles fell in game two to Georgia Tech 9-8. After falling behind 5-1 in the third the Seminoles rallied to take the lead 8-6 going into the ninth inning. After closing the gap 8-7 in the bottom of the ninth Georgia Tech cashed in with a two out two RBI single off Seminole’s closer Tyler Chambliss to win the game. Bryan Henry was a key contributor in the game for the Seminoles as he pitched three scoreless innings only allowing one hit. Henry also helped out the Seminoles from an offensive standpoint as he went 1×4 with a double, two RBIs and a run scored.
Georgia Tech completed the sweep with a 9-4 win in the finale. Hunter Jones took the loss after throwing five innings and allowing five runs, four earned, on five hits and two walks. Gibbs Chapman was a bright spot for the Seminoles as he went 3×5 with a home run, two RBIs and a run scored.
FloridaState fell to Miami 5-3 on the road in the series opener.The Seminoles took a 3-0 lead in to the bottom of the eighth versus UM ace Cesar Carillo but they could not hold on as Miami scored five runs in the eighth to take the series opener. Mark Sauls started the game and threw 3 2/3 scoreless innings only allowing four hits and three walks. Kevin Lynch continued where Sauls left off as he threw 2 2/3 scoreless innings only allowing two hits. Tyler Chambliss was saddled with the loss after lasting just 2/3 of an inning and allowing two runs, both unearned.
In another close one FloridaState dropped game two of the series to Miami 5-2. Barret Browning got the start for the Seminoles and suffered his second loss of the season as he threw six innings and allowed five runs, four earned, on five hits and four walks. He also struck out five. The Seminoles were held to only four hits in the game one of which was a Danny Wardell home run.
The Seminoles dominated the series finale with Miami and handed the Hurricanes their worst loss in the series since 1957 with the 13-1 victory. Bryan Henry pitched a gem as he went eight innings and allowed one earned run on four hits in the first ACC start of his career. Henry did not walk a batter and he also struck out four. Danny Wardell led the Seminoles with four RBIs and three runs scored as he went 2×4 on the day with a home run and a walk. Ryne Jernigan also went yard for the Seminoles as he went 2×5 with two RBIs and two runs.
FloridaState took the opener from Virginia at home 8-1. Bryan Henry, making his first Friday night start, once again led the Seminoles as he picked up his third win in only eleven days and also became the first Seminole starter to throw seven or more innings in three straight games.Henry tossed eight innings and only allowed only one earned run on four hits and a walk while striking out five. The Seminoles seven-run fourth inning which featured a Ryne Malone bases clearing three-RBI double help prove more than enough run support for the Florida State victory.
Virginia snapped its 11 game losing streak to FloridaState at Mike Martin Field as they took the first game of the doubleheader on Sunday 6-2. Barret Browning started the game for the Seminoles but only lasted 2 1/3 innings after allowing four runs and was relieved by Hunter Jones who pitched the final 6 2/3 innings of the game and allowed two runs, both earned, on six hits and one walk while striking out four. Both of the Seminoles runs came via the long ball as Danny Wardell and Ryne Jernigan each hit a solo home run in the loss.
In the second game of the doubleheader FloridaState secured the weekend series as they pulled out the victory 7-2. With the game tied 2-2 entering the bottom of the seven the Seminoles broke it wide open as with a five-run seventh. Jack Ryeknocked in the go ahead runs with a two RBI single and then Ryne Malone put the icing on the cake as he hit a three run shot over fence in right field. Michael Hyde started the game and lasted five innings and only allowed two runs, both earned on six hits. Kevin Lynch picked up his seventh win of the season as he pitched three scoreless innings and only allowed one hit and one walk while striking out five.
FloridaState upped its winning streak over Maryland to 22 games as they opened the series with a 7-2 victory on the road. Bryan Henry was phenomenal once again for the Seminoles as he went seven innings and allowed one run, earned, on four hits and a walk while striking out three. The Seminoles offense was propelled by Gibbs Chapman who went 2×5 with a grand slam, a triple, two runs and five RBIs.Chapman’s grand slam came in the third and it also proved to be the game winner.
Another monster game from Gibbs Chapman helped guide the Seminoles to an 8-1 victory over Maryland. Chapman went 4×5 with a home run, two runs scored and two RBIs. The Terps could not keep Shane Robinson off of the base paths as he went a perfect 3×3 with a home run, two runs scored, two RBIs and two walks on the day. Barret Browningpicked up the win as he threw 58 pitches in five innings of work and only allowed one earned one on three hits and two walks while striking out two.
The Seminoles picked up their first ACC road sweep of the season as they defeated Maryland 4-2 in the series finale. Mark Sauls improved to 6-1 as he threw seven solid innings of work and only allowed one run, earned, on four hits and two walks while striking out two. It was a true team effort from FloridaState offensively as four different Seminoles knocked in a run.
No. 11 Florida State upset No. 8 North Carolina 9-4 at home in the first game of the series.Bryan Henry won his fifth straight game as he lasted seven innings and allowed two runs, both unearned, on five hits and three walks while striking out one. Ryne Maloneled the team offensively as he went 3×3 with a home run, two runs, two RBIs and a stolen base. Tony Thomas Jr. and Josh Spivey each went yard in the game to help add to the Seminoles offense.
A walk off home run from Ryne Malone in the bottom of the ninth pushed the Seminoles passed North Carolina 6-5 in game two. Malone tied his career high with five RBIs in the game as he went 3×5 with the walk off home run, a triple and two runs scored. Mark Sauls was the Seminoles’ starter and he received a no-decision after working 6 2/3 innings and allowing five runs, four earned, on eight hits. Sauls also walked two batters and struck out three. Kevin Lynch picked up his tenth win retiring all three batters he faced in the ninth.
The Seminoles completed the sweep of the Tar Heels as Aaron Cheesman delivered in the bottom of the 11th with a base loaded, walk-off RBI single giving FSU the 7-6 victory. After failing behind early 6-2, Florida State rallied with three runs in the sixth inning thanks to a two-RBI double from Ryne Malone and a sac fly from Cheesman. FSU would go onto tie the game in the eighth and win it in the 11th. Barret Browning provided solid bullpen relief for the Seminoles as he pitched 3 2/3 scoreless innings and allowed five hits and one walk while striking out four.
Bryan Henry continued to roll for the Seminoles as he picked up his sixth straight win and his fifth consecutive ACC victory in the series opener versus the Wolfpack. FloridaState won its 12th straight game, its eighth straight ACC game and sixth straight over a ranked opponent. FSU pounded out 10 hits including a season high four home runs. It was FloridaState‘s ninth straight game with double digit hits. Gibbs Chapman drove in three runs and Aaron Cheesman went 2×4. Danny Wardell also had a multi-RBI game with two RBIs of his own.
In a game resumed from Friday night, FSU came back from a 3-1 deficit to take a 4-3 lead only to see No. 22 NC State walk-off with a win thanks to a two-out, three run homer in the bottom of the ninth. The loss was the first for FSU since April 29. It snapped FSU’s winning streak at 12 games and their ACC winning streak at eight games. Matt DiBlasi took the loss as his runner was the winning run but ace closer Tyler Chambliss was victimized by the long ball that won the game. Aaron Cheesman had another big game versus the Pack offensively as he went 3×4 with two RBIs. Hunter Jonesopened the game on the mound when play resumed the next day and went 5 1/3 and allowed just four hits and one run. He did not walk a batter and he fanned four.
FSU lost back-to-back games for the first time in almost a month as the Wolfpack limited the Seminole offense to just five hits, three from All-American candidate Shane Robinson, and three runs despite the fact they issued nine walks in the game. Barret Browning started the game for FSU and took the loss after giving up five runs in an inning of work. Ryne Malone and Aaron Cheesman were the only Seminoles to tally RBI’s in the game. Cheesman completed the Wolfpack series with another hit as he hit .545 on the weekend, slugged .636 and drove in three runs.
The Seminoles have to be happy to see the ACC Tournament return to the SunshineState considering how well they have played in the championship when it has been in their home state. The only two times the ACC Tournament has been staged in Florida since the Seminoles joined the league, FSU has won the title (1997 and 2002 in St. Pete). Both of those seasons the Seminoles defeated Clemson for the title. Considering the Tigers are in the other bracket that scenario still exists. FloridaState has played well in the state of Florida in general this season. FSU is 36-7 in games played in the Sunshine State and 6-2 in games played in Florida but not in Tallahassee. The Seminoles have won road games at Coral Gables and Gainesville including two-game sweeps in Deland and Jacksonville. One of those Jacksonville games was at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville where this week’s tournament will be played, which is another positive sign. The Seminoles are the only ACC team to play a game at that park this season and it was the site of FSU’s only road shutout of the year as well.
ALL OVER THE LEADER BOARD
When you look at the final ACC stats the first two individual categories that are listed are batting average and ERA. If you look at who is leading each of those lists, you will see they are Seminoles. Shane Robinson captured the ACC regular season bating title and Bryan Henry finished the regular season with the best ERA in the conference. If those numbers were to hold through the postseason, it would be quite an accomplishment when you look at it in the history of the ACC. In 52 years of ACC baseball, only seven teams have ever had a player lead the league in both batting average and ERA and it would be the first time it has happened in almost 15 years. The last team to pull of that feat was Clemson in 1991 and before that WakeForest did it in 1982. Those are the only two teams in nearly 30 years to finish the year with a leader in both categories. The other five teams are WakeForest (1976 & 1956), NC State (1974), UNC (1968) and Maryland (1962).
Shane Robinson didn’t just win the ACC regular season batting title he led the league in runs scored, stolen bases and on base percentage. Overall he finished in the top 10 in hits (2nd), doubles (4th), slugging percentage (5th), walks (6th) and total bases (7th).
ACC stats are calculated on a per game basis except for averages and percentages obviously. In those three categories (batting average, slugging percentage and on base percentage) only two other players (Ryan Braun & Aaron Bates) finished in the top five in all three and only one (Shane Robinson) finished first in two of those categories.
In raw numbers alone (no averages), Shane Robinson led the ACC in hits (the only player over 100), runs (the only player over 70 and he had 87), steals (the only one over 30 and he had 47) and total bases (the only player over 150).
If you would have asked experts at the start of the season who would finish the regular season leading the ACC in ERA, ERA in conference games and opponent batting average in conference games, how many would have picked Bryan Henry? The Seminole ace finished the year leading in all three of those major categories. He also finished 4th in wins, 2nd in overall opponent batting average and 3rd in ACC wins.
The other guy who would have stumped the experts is most likely Kevin Lynch who finished 2nd overall in wins with 10 and was the only ACC pitcher with more than seven wins with a perfect 1.000 winning %.
Tyler Chambliss finished the regular season leading the ACC in saves and saves in conference games.
GOING TO CAROLINA
You have to believe that UNC was hoping to get another crack at FSU after losing three games to the Seminoles including two on walk-off hits but the Carolina coaches can’t be looking forward to seeing Ryne Malone. The sophomore absolutely tore up Tar Heel pitching this season. Versus the Heels, Malone hit .615, slugged 1.308, drove in nine runs, scored six runs and hit a double and a triple on top of his two home runs. He reached base almost 69% of the time versus UNC and he did not strikeout once all weekend against the Carolina staff. Oh and don’t forget he hit a walk-off three-run home run with FSU trailing by two runs. He hit the game-winning homer with two outs in the inning when he was down to his last strike. It was nothing new for Malone against North Carolina. In his two seasons as a Seminole (seven games versus UNC) Malone is hitting .571 and slugging 1.285 against the Heels. Five of his 18 career homers have come against UNC and he has 11 career RBIs, three doubles, a triple and 36 total bases against the guys in Carolina blue.
One of the reasons FSU has won 12 of its last 14 games coming into the 2005 ACC Tournament is because of its only two four-year seniors. Kevin Lynch and Aaron Cheesman (actually a fifth-year senior) have been showing their younger teammates what it takes to win down the stretch. Cheesman is currently in the midst of the second-longest hitting streak of his career at 14 games and needs just one more hit to tie a new career high. Since his batting average fell to a season-low .297 after the Virginia series, the senior captain has hit .396 and knocked in 15 runs. In that 13 game stretch Cheesman is hitting .370 with runners on and his six two-out RBIs are the second-most on the team. He has raised his overall average 21 points in those 13 games as FSU posted an 11-2 record.
Lynch is in the midst of one of the most impressive seasons ever by an FSU reliever. Not only is he 10-0 but he has set the single season record for appearances as well with a whopping 42. The senior really started to turn it on once FSU returned from Hawai’i and ACC play began. Since March 18, a span that covers 39 of FSU’s 64 games, Lynch has posted an amazing 0.89 ERA and gone 6-0 while holding opposing batters to a .187 average. He has allowed just three runs in more than two months of work covering 30 innings. Since the middle of March, teams have just six hits in 50 at bats with runners on base against Lynch and his K:BB ratio in that span is almost 4:1. Probably the most amazing stat for the reliever is the fact he has inherited 33 runners in the last 39 games and allowed just four to score.
OUT (field) OF THIS WORLD
FloridaState‘s outfield of Shane Robinson, Gibbs Chapman and Jack Rye has been producing big offensive numbers this season. The three have combined to start 176 games in the outfield and together they are hitting a combined .369 with 130 RBIs, 48 doubles and 17 homers. The group is slugging a combined .530 as well. They have 50 of the team’s 159 two-out RBIs, which is over 31% of the team’s total. Even more impressive, these three outfielders are 13×28 with the bases loaded, which means they are hitting .464 with the bases juiced.
FINISH UP STRONG
Despite dropping the final two games of the NC State series, that shouldn’t overshadow what the Seminoles did down the stretch in 2005. After taking the opener from NC State, the Seminoles extended their winning streak to 12 games, their ACC winning streak to eight games and their winning streak versus top 25 teams to six games. The 12-game win streak was one short of the season-long 13-game streak FSU went on at the start of the year, which is the fifth longest in college baseball this season. During this latest streak, FSU went 5-0 versus teams in the top 20 of the RPI and now have a winning record (13-11) versus teams in the top 50 of the RPI. The series sweep of North Carolina gave the Seminoles their fourth series win over a team in the RPI’s top 16 and overall FSU won four of seven series versus teams in the top 16 of the RPI and posted a record of 11-10. Overall in the last 14 games, FSU went 12-2 and hit .320 as a team while slugging .508. FSU outscored its opponents 101-57 despite playing eight of the 12 games versus North Carolina, NC State, Florida and Virginia, three of which were ranked teams. Those 12 wins assured FSU of the most regular season wins in the nation in 2005 just edging out the No. 1 ranked team in America Tulane who finished with 47 victories compared to FSU’s 48.
DIGGING THE LONG BALL
For a team that started the season off with just 16 home runs in the first 36 games, the Seminoles have been on a long ball tear as of late. In the past 38 games, FSU has pounded out 35 homers. In the second half of the year Florida State’s average homers per game has gone from less than a half a game (.44 per game) to almost one HR per game (.92 per game). The recent surge has made the 2005 team look more like the 2004 squad that had sluggers like Eddy Martinez-Esteve and Stephen Drew. The 2004 team average 1.2 homers per game last season, which isn’t that much more than the 2005 team’s average over the last 38 games. Pretty impressive when you consider the Seminoles lost 54 homers from last year’s squad. The main reason for the surge as of late is that FS has started to hit homers in bunches. In the series finale versus Jacksonville FSU tied a season high with three homers and then in the opener against NC State they established a new high with four in that game. Those seven homers in back-to-back games equaled the amount FloridaState had in the first 12 games of the season. Those seven homers in two games were actually more than the FSU hit in an 18 game stretch earlier in the season when the team hit just six from February 21 through March 25.
With his win over NC State, Bryan Henrybecame the first FSU pitcher to win six straight games this season improving his record to 8-2. He went 6 1/3 versus the Wolfpack and gave up just one run. Even though it was his team-leading seventh quality start of the year, it did break a string of five straight starts where the super sophomore pitched at least seven innings. Of the 10 times a Seminole starting pitcher has gone seven or more innings this season, five times it has been Henry on the mound. Henry not only picked up his eighth win but he kept his ERA to 1.44, which is the best in the ACC. He now has seven quality starts in eight games started, which means almost 88% of the time he starts you can bank on an outing of at least six innings with three or fewer runs allowed. He has allowed an amazing four earned runs in his last five starts (36 1/3 innings of work).