October 10, 2005 - by
FSU Baseball Wraps-Up Fall Practice With The Garnet & Gold Game Friday

Oct. 10, 2005

Tallahassee, FLThe Seminole baseball team will conclude fall practice this weekend with the annual Garnet & Gold game. The scrimmage will run two days and both games are open to the public. Veteran pitchers will throw Thursday October 13 beginning at 3:00 p.m. The official Garnet & Gold game will take place Friday October 14 at 6:00 p.m. with BP getting underway at 2:00. Fans will get a chance to get their first look at the new Seminole arms as the talented group of young FSU hurlers will take the hill.


With fall practice nearing an end, head coach Mike Martin sat down with Seminoles.com and discussed the progress of the 2005-06 squad. Coming off their seventh straight NCAA Super Regional, the Seminoles return three of their top four bats and six of their top seven pitchers. Florida State‘s roster features 14 new faces but 20 of FSU’s 23 returners played in 2005 making this a young but experienced group.


Q: How has fall practice been going?

A:  I have been very pleased with every phase of our fall program. (Strength & Conditioning Coach) Russ Orr has done a great job in challenging the guys to get stronger. A lot of the players are doing things to help their agility. Jamey (Shouppe) has presented the Florida State philosophy of pitching to the new guys. It has been an eye-opener for some. It is not like high school where you can get outs by making pitches that are in the wrong spot and get away with it. It has been a good learning experience for a lot of the young guys.


Q: How are the position battles breaking down right now?

A:  The freshman catchers (Kyle Maxie and Brady Thomas) have been given good opportunities to display their talents. Both are showing that they are improving but they are still first-year players. Danny Diaz is leading the way and will be the guy that will start if healthy. He knows the system and has shown good leadership qualities. He is replacing one of the best leaders I ever had in Aaron Cheesman.


Tony Thomas, Jr. has looked very solid defensively at second. He looks more aggressive at the plate but he still has a lot of room for improvement offensively. Tommy Oravetz has gotten a lot of experience this fall and seems to be a guy that will get better with opportunities.


At short, Buster Posey has been very impressive both offensively and defensively. Sean Stuyverson will back up Posey at short and has a lot of room for improvement but that is not unusual for a freshman. Of course Ryne Malone has played a very good third base and has been a leader for this group.


Left field is the position right now that is wide open. We have three or four guys that we are looking at and we haven’t found a starter at this point.


The other two outfield spots will have Shane (Robinson) in center and Jack Rye in right.


There are a lot of positions still open. There is no designation of who is going to start at first or in left. Other positions are pretty well set but it is good for the team to have some battles going on. The people that are targeted to start know they have to get the job done because there are players waiting in the wings.


The rotation will be interesting as we go through the year. Right now Tyler Chambliss and Bryan Henry are scrapping for one and two. That battle will continue as we go through the year. Three and four has not been decided. The returning guys (Barrett) Browning, (Michael) Hyde, (Mark) Sauls and (Ryan) Strauss are the front runners but you have others like Travis Burge, Caleb Graham and Jimmy Marshall that are fighting for that as well. You also have Luke Tucker who has thrown the ball very well.


Q: Kevin Lynch had a phenomenal year out of the pen but has now graduated. Tyler Chambliss was one of the nation’s top closer but he moves into a starting role. How do you feel about your bullpen?

A:  Brent Marsh has been pitching very well for us and he will be used in Tyler‘s role. The guy who has pitched out of the bullpen and will be given the opportunity to take Lynch’s role if he continues to pitch well is Brian Chambers. Chambers has been one of the most effective pitchers through out the fall so far.


Q: What is the mindset of this group after their run to the Super Regional last year and exceeding many people’s expectations?

A:  There is no question you don’t accomplish making it to a Super Regional if you don’t work hard in the offseason. Our goal every year is to go to the College World Series. We came up short but it was a great year. I can sense determination from guys like the juniors and seniors who have been here and not reached their goal of getting to Omaha. Their leadership is contagious and infectious to others that have only been in the program for a year or just three months. Malone, Diaz, Robinson, DiBlasi and Sauls have worked hard in being good leaders for the others.


Q: Have the newcomers progressed like you would expect them to in a short time?

A:  I have been pleased with their progress. We have a lot of freshmen. Just in the infield alone you have two freshman catchers, two freshmen shortstops, a first year player in (Ryan) McCardle at first with a second-year guy in Dennis Guinn.


Q: How difficult will it be for Shane as a junior coming off a remarkable sophomore campaign?

A:  Shane certainly has a great challenge in front of him but from what I have seen he has the same approach to the game. Shane has a tremendous respect for the game of baseball. He knows that everything he does is looked at by his peers. He has not slowed down or shown less of a work ethic in the fall. He didn’t just all of a sudden get where he is. He worked hard to achieve what he has so far. It will be very interesting to see how he goes through the rest of the preseason to prepare for the spring. I know it will be full speed ahead for him.


Q: This will be your 27th season. How excited are you for the spring?

A:  Honestly I don’t feel any different today than I did 20 years ago. I am just as excited and enthused as I have ever been. This has been a good fall. There is still a lot of improvement left. We are still doing some things that are not going to help us achieve our goals but you have to realize it is still the fall. We open up in four months so there is still some time to get better.

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