May 4, 2005 - by
BASEBALL RELEASE: Seminoles Head To Maryland As They Continue ACC Play

May 4, 2005

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    The Seminoles have a current winning streak of 21 games over Maryland dating back to 1998.  This streak is the longest current winning streak that FSU has over any opponent. In the last 21 games FSU has scored in double digits in 16 of those games and has won by a margin of at least seven runs in 14 of those victories. The Seminoles lead the all-time series 42-3 and have a record of 17-1 in games played at Maryland. Sixteen of the Seminoles victories over the Terps in Maryland have come by a margin of at least six runs or more. Florida State has also recorded seven shutouts against Maryland.



    FRIDAY: Bryan Henry makes his second consecutive Friday night start and the sophomore has been nothing short of sensational as of late. His win over Virginia in the first Friday night start of his career was his third victory in 11 days and he became the first FSU pitcher this year to go seven or more innings in three straight appearances. He is also the first Seminole pitcher to throw back-to-back eight inning games in 2005 as he held Virginia to just four hits and one run in Florida State‘s 8-1 win in the series opener. The sophomore is one of three FSU pitchers to win three straight starts this season but none has done it in an 11 day stretch. Henry has been on a tear for the Seminoles and his quick promotion from mid-week bullpen work to Friday night starter didn’t seem to faze the sophomore. He once again exhibited great control as he struck out five batters and issued just one walk in beating his second straight ACC opponent. He and Michael Hyde are the only Seminole pitchers to win back-to-back ACC starts this season. In his last five appearances, Henry has an ERA of just 1.15 in 31 1/3 innings of work. He has struck out 24 batters and issued just five walks. Opponents have hit just .185 against him and most importantly he is 4-0.


    SATURDAY: Barret Browning comes into the Maryland series off his fourth straight outing where he allowed four or more runs. In the first nine starts of his FSU career, Browning never allowed more than three runs and in five of those starts he surrendered either one or no runs. Browning has given up more runs in his last five starts (20) than he gave up in the first nine combined (12). Opponents are hitting .249 off Browning but they are getting on base 44% of the time when leading off an inning. The junior is struggling somewhat with his control as his 1.5:1 K:BB ratio is the second lowest amongst the Seminole starters. Fifteen of the lefty’s 25 earned runs have come in the first three innings of games even though opponents hit just .227 in those three frames. One reason is he has hit 12 batters this year and nine in the first three innings of games. Browning is 1-3 in the ACC with a 4.84 ERA but he hasn’t received much help in his seven ACC starts. Florida State has scored just 13 runs for Browning in those seven games, which is less than two runs of support for the junior.


    SUNDAY: Mark Sauls has pitched his way back into the weekend after two solid outings against top five opponents. In his last two appearances, starts versus No. 5 Miami and No. 4 Florida, Sauls went a combined nine innings and gave up just three runs. Although he did not get a decision versus Miami, Sauls held one of the nation’s top offenses scoreless for 3 2/3. He then got his second consecutive start this past Tuesday at Gainesville and recorded his fifth win of the year pushing his record to 5-1, best among starters. Sauls pitched 5 1/3 and gave up three runs as the Seminoles downed the Gators and took the season series. The junior has appeared in 12 games this season and really only had two poor outings. One came against Duke and the other Wake Forest. In both those appearances, Sauls went just 1/3 of an inning and gave up four runs in each game. Those eight earned runs in just 2/3 of an inning are more than his total earned runs (seven) in his other 41 1/3 innings of work. Without those two appearances, the hurler would have an ERA of 1.53 instead of 3.21, which is already the third-best ERA amongst FSU starters. Sauls is the only starter with more walks than K’s and even in his last two appearances he has walked more than he has fanned.



    The current Seminoles batters combined to hit .275 during the three games against Maryland in 2004. While hitting for a solid batting average Florida State was reaching base at a much higher rate as they posted an on-base-percentage of .405. The current Seminoles had a significant power surge as well combining for a .810 slugging percentage.


    Ryne Malone had a huge offensive series against Maryland. Malone led the way against Maryland as he hit .400 (4×10) and slugged for a whooping 1.300. All of four of Malone’s hits went for extra bases (a double, a triple and two homeruns) as he tallied 13 total bases in the series. Malone came through when the Seminoles needed him the most as he was a perfect 1.000 (4×4) with runners in scoring position and (3×3) with the bases loaded. Malone was the Seminoles’ main source of run production in the series as he had 13 of Florida State‘s 36 RBIs in the series.


    Gibbs Chapman had a solid series as well for the Seminoles as he hit .364 (4×11) and had an on-base-percentage of .462.  Chapman slugged .636 in the series thanks to two of his four hits going for extra base (a double and a triple).


    Florida State drew a total of 21 walks in the series to just two allowed by Seminole pitchers. The current Seminoles who played against Maryland in 2004 drew a total of 11 walks and Danny Wardell led the entire team with four to help him record a .385 on-base-percentage.


    Aaron Cheesman led all current Seminole with a .538 on-base-percentage as he reached base on a variety of ways in the series. Cheesman recorded two hits, three walks and was hit by pitches on two different occasions.


    The current Seminoles experienced success on the base paths as they were a perfect three for three in stolen bases during the series with Shane Robinson, Malone and Cheesman all stealing one base each.


    Five current Seminole pitchers appeared in 2004 against Maryland. They combined for a 1.68 ERA and held Maryland hitters to just a .213 batting average.  Hunter Jones and Mark Sauls each started and won a game for the Seminoles. Jones threw seven innings allowing two earned runs on six hits while striking out five. Sauls threw five innings allowing one earned run on six hits while striking out six.


    Tyler Chambliss, Kevin Lynch and Matt DiBlasi all appeared out of the Seminoles’ bullpen and they combined for a 0.00 ERA and held Maryland hitters to just a .083 batting average.  Chambliss made two appearances and pitched a combined two innings. Lynch and DiBlasi each made one appearance and pitched one inning.



    Shane Robinson’s amazing season has landed him on every National Player of the Year watch list. He is among the first 13 invitees to TEAM USA National Trials and he has already been named a mid-season first team All-American. Robinson is also amongst the nation’s leaders in four different categories. He is ninth in the nation in both batting average and steals, 20th in doubles and 21st in runs scored. Robinson is the only player in the NCAA to appear in the top 20 for average, doubles and steals.



    Despite the fact that Florida State has downed Maryland 21 consecutive times now, Seminole faithful shouldn’t get over confident. This has been one strange year in the ACC and the Terps have already defeated Miami and Georgia Tech this season and Florida State has already had some impressive streaks snapped in 2005. Three 9+ game ACC winning streaks have come to an end for the Seminoles in 2005. Duke’s win in Durham ended an 11 game win streak by FSU, Wake Forest snapped a nine-game losing streak and Virginia got off the snide last weekend after losing 11 straight in Tallahassee. The Seminoles not only have a 21-game win streak on the line versus the Terps but they also have a 16-game win streak in College Park. After a 5-2 loss to Maryland May 2, 1993, FSU has run off 16 in a row at UMD.



    The unsung story of the 2005 Seminoles has been their bullpen and that is especially true as of late. In their last 17 2/3 innings of work, FSU relievers have allowed just three earned runs and issued just six walks and nine times in their last 15 outings the Seminole bullpen has not allowed an earned run. One of the reasons the FSU pen has been so successful this season is due to the fact they aren’t walking people. Only five times in 52 games has the bullpen walked more batters than they have struck out and they have gone 25 straight games without issuing more walks than K’s. This season FSU has walked 80 batters and struck out 203 for a ratio of 1:2.5. The bullpen has come up big in FSU’s biggest games as well. In the Seminoles three wins versus ranked teams, the pen has gone 5 1/3, allowed one run and picked up two saves.



    There is plenty of reason for optimism around Florida State baseball this past week. The Seminoles are 4-1 in their last five games and two of those wins came against top five programs (Miami and Florida). Florida State‘s last five games have come against teams who have a combined record of 96-39-1, which is a winning percentage of .709. During this five game stretch FSU is hitting .280, the staff ERA is 2.80 and the team fielding percentage is a stellar .995. FSU has outscored its opponents 39-14 and out slugged them by 131 points. One of the biggest discrepancies came in the home run category, which should be a big surprise. Those three opponents (Miami, Florida and Virginia) averaged more than 43 home runs on the season compared to 35 for FSU but the Seminoles went yard seven times in those five games compared to three for the competition. FSU drew almost twice as many walks (23 to 12) and had eight sacrifices compared to just three for the other teams. Great defense, unselfish play at the plate and patience paid off for FSU in the last five outings.



    Sophomore Ryne Malone and senior Aaron Cheesman are both huge parts of the Seminoles success this season but in very different ways. The two are fourth and fifth on the team in batting average, separated by just three hits and just three walks. That is where the similarities end though. Sixteen of Malone’s last 22 hits have gone for extra bases while 27 of Cheesman’s last 28 hits have been singles. Malone’s run as of late has been nothing short of amazing. In the last 17 games he is slugging an amazing .708 and his 22 RBIs are nine more than anyone else on the team in that same span. He has 11 of the team’s 34 doubles (32%), two of the team’s three triples (66%) and 22 of the 105 RBIs (21%).



    The big talk surrounding the 2005 Seminoles at the start of the season was the team’s lack of power and through 27 games that talk seemed to be founded. Florida State had played its “easy” part of the scheduled and returned home from Hawai’i with 10 total homers in the first 27 games. In that early part of the season FSU was averaging just a homer every three games. Things have definitely improved when it comes to the long ball. Since returning to the mainland, the Seminoles have hit 25 homers in the last 25 games, tripling their average homers per game. The power has come from the bottom half of the order as of late. Seven of the last nine home runs have been hit by Danny Wardell and Ryne Jernigan who hit no higher than fifth.



    One of the most satisfying aspects of FSU’s series clinching 9-4 win over Florida was the fact that so many different players contributed. The top eight hitters, and pinch hitter Josh Spivey, all got hits. The only player in the line-up not to get a hit was Tony Thomas, Jr. and all he did was score two runs, draw a walk, get hit by a pitch and steal a base. Six different Seminoles scored a run, nine got a hit, six drove in a run, four drew a walk, four had an extra base hit and four more stole a base. Speaking of four, four different pitchers contributed as well as each one recorded at least one out. No FSU player committed an error either.



    When the Seminoles completed their series with Florida, it was the first chance the people in Gainesville had to see Shane Robinson and he showed them what he was all about. Not only did he go 3-for-3 but he laid down a sac bunt and also led off three innings by getting on base. Robinson had an amazing series against the Gators and the Hurricanes for that matter. Against FSU’s two biggest in-state rivals, Robinson hit .522, slugged .739 and posted an on base percentage of .593. In those six games he scored eight runs, recorded three doubles and a triple. Most amazingly he did not strikeout once and in 12 opportunities when leading off an inning Robinson got on nine times including the last eight consecutively.



    With a series win over No. 4 Florida Friday night, Florida State improved its 2005 record to 4-2 against the SEC winning series over Florida and Auburn. The Gators are the top team in the nation’s top conference and while Auburn is in last place in the SEC West standings, they have been ranked in 2005 and are tied with an Arkansas team that is currently ranked. Both Florida (5) and Auburn (20) are in the top 20 of the pseudo RPI and they both play in the nation’s No. 1 conference as far as RPI goes. The Seminoles are hoping those two series wins will play a big role when it comes time to hand out regionals in June.

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