April 20, 2007 - by
GAMEDAY CENTRAL: No. 1 Florida State Hosts No. 2 North Carolina For Three-Game Set This Weekend

April 20, 2007

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In this the 76th meeting between Florida State and North Carolina, the Tar Heels travel to Dick Howser Stadium for a three-game set against the Seminoles beginning Friday, April 20. Florida State holds a 54-21 all-time series advantage. This is the first match-up featuring a #1 vs. #2 in series history. In 1999, top-ranked Florida State welcomed No. 3 North Carolina to Tallahassee with a three-game sweep as the Seminoles outscored the Tar Heels 26-14. FSU is 33-7 all-time against UNC on its home turf winning four straight and 14 of the last 15 games played on Mike Martin Field. The last Tar Heel victory in Tallahassee came on March 29, 2003. Both teams have faced each other 16 times over the last four years with the Seminoles owning a record of 10-6 including two straight victories and wins in seven of the last nine games. The Tar Heels won the regular season series a year ago in Chapel Hill before the Seminoles evened the series with a win in the ACC Tournament in Jacksonville. Seven of the last nine games have been decided by one-run with FSU winning six.

North Carolina has won its last four ACC series and five of six to start the season. The Tar Heels enter the weekend having lost two of their last three games including a mid-week loss in extra innings to Campbell on Tuesday. UNC is led offensively by freshman first baseman Dustin Ackley who is hitting .474 on the season in 39 games. He leads the team in hits, RBI’s and slugging percentage, while tied for the team lead in at-bats, doubles and stolen bases. The Tar Heels are batting .329 as a team, while posting a fielding percentage of .971. UNC’s pitching staff is led by senior right hander Robert Woodard who is 7-0 on the season with an ERA of 1.98. The Tar Heels are second in the ACC with a team ERA of 2.76.

Tony Thomas Jr. has had success against the Tar Heels the previous two seasons batting .333 (9-for-27) with two home runs, a triple, double, nine runs scored and five RBI’s. Buster Posey collected four hits in 16 at-bats a season ago, while Jack Rye and Thomas are the only current Seminoles to play in all eight games against the Tar Heels the past two seasons.

The pitching staff has been impressive for the most part posting an ERA of 3.45 over the last two years. Luke Tucker has pitched three scoreless innings in three appearances against the Tar Heels giving up just one hit while striking out seven.

Friday’s game one match-up features a pair of unbeaten right handers in 2007 in Florida State’s Bryan Henry and North Carolina’s Robert Woodard. Henry is 9-0 in 11 starts for the Seminoles as he leads the team in ERA (2.37), innings pitched (68.1) and strikeouts (72). On the other side, Woodard is 7-0 in nine starts with an ERA of 1.98. He has thrown 59 innings while striking out 43.

The combined career numbers between the two are incredible as the two are 57-10 with Woodard having one more year under his belt. Together the senior right handers have thrown 594.2 innings posting 451 strikeouts and 133 walks with an ERA of 2.66.

Henry has posted a career record of 27-7 and with a win on Friday he will move into a tie with Jeff Gray for 10th place all-time for wins at Florida State.

FRIDAY: Senior Bryan Henry will make his 12th start of the season, all on Friday, as Florida State faces No. 2 North Carolina for its fourth home conference series of the season. Henry is 9-0 on the year with an ERA of 2.37. He earned his fourth consecutive ACC victory last weekend beating Virginia Tech 14-1 as he pitched six shutout innings scattering just two hits. He struck out nine batters and walked one as he shut out an opponent for the third time all season and for the first time in league play. The Tallahassee, Fla. native set down the last eight batters that he faced, striking out the side in the fifth against VT. He allowed just one Hokie to advance past first and never faced more than four batters in any inning. The senior right hander has now posted at least seven or more strikeouts in seven of his last 11 starts this season and in six of his last seven outings. Against Boston College, Henry pitched eight innings allowing one run on four hits while striking out 10. He has allowed a run or less in seven of his 11 starts this season. Henry has pitched a season-high eight innings twice this season keeping Indiana scoreless on six hits, while giving up one run on four hits vs. BC. He has worked three games this year where he has pitched at least six innings without issuing a free pass. Henry has made 23 career starts against league opponents posting a career record of 13-5 with an ERA of 2.72. He has registered 129 strikeouts against ACC teams and just 40 walks. In 2007, Henry is 4-0 in five ACC starts throwing 34 innings and posting an ERA of 2.65. His strikeout to walk ratio is 3.8 to 1 in league play this season. Henry is 1-1 in three career starts against North Carolina. He started two games in 2005 giving up three runs, one earned, while throwing 13.1 innings. Last year, Henry suffered his first loss of the season as he gave up four runs on 10 hits in a 4-0 loss in Chapel Hill.

SATURDAY: Senior Michael Hyde will look for his ninth win in 12 starts as he takes the mound on Saturday against the Tar Heels in a game shown live on the Regional Sports Network. Hyde started the season with eight straight victories but has dropped two of his last three decisions. He is tied for second on the team in victories (8) and is third among starters with an ERA of 2.84. After pitching a combined 4.1 innings in games against Duke and NC State, Hyde bounced back and pitched six solid innings last weekend against Virginia Tech in earning a no decision. The Tallahassee, Fla., native allowed two runs on six hits whlie striking out three. The Seminoles won the game 4-3. Hyde has lost just three games in his last 22 starts dating back to last year. He has worked into the fifth inning in nine of his 11 starts including five games of pitching into the sixth. He worked a season-high 7.0 innings against Boston College. The Tallahassee, Fla., native is 16-3 in his last 22 starts for the Seminoles dating back to last year, while posting a career mark of 24-5 as a member of the Garnet and Gold. In a victory over Boston College, Hyde allowed two first inning runs, but settled down to shut out the Eagles for the next six. He struck out four and did not issue a walk for the second time all season. This will be Hyde’s 18th career start against an ACC opponent as he has compiled a record of 8-2 with a 4.78 ERA. This will be Hyde’s first career start against North Carolina.

SUNDAY: Junior Ryan Strauss will look to make his 11th start of the season on Sunday against UNC. He has pitched at least six innings in nine of his 10 starts in 2007, while throwing into the seventh in four of his last six outings. The Tampa, Fla., native set career-highs in innings pitched (8) and strikeouts (8) against Indiana. He threw seven innings in back-to-back league games earning victories over Wake Forest and Boston College and then returned home to pitch seven innings in a win over Virginia Tech. Strauss gave up just one run in his first two league games, before allowing four runs against Duke in an 8-5 victory. He held BC without a hit for the first six innings. Strauss is 8-0 on the year and is second among starters with a 2.44 ERA. He has pitched two games in which he did not issue a walk. He earned his first career win as a starter as he pitched five solid innings against Tennessee on opening weekend. This will be Strauss’ sixth start against an ACC opponent and first career appearance against the Tar Heels. Last Sunday, he limited the Hokies to a run on four hits in FSU’s 8-5 victory.

Florida State is 13-2 in the ACC and has won all five, three-game series to start the 2007 season. The Seminoles boast a perfect 9-0 record at home after opening league play with series sweeps over Wake Forest, Boston College and Virginia Tech. It marks just the fifth time overall and the first time since 2002 that FSU has started a season 9-0 on its home turf. In 2001 and 2002, the Seminoles went undefeated at home in conferece play posting a perfect 12-0 record. This year Florida State won its first seven conference games before falling at Duke in game two of the series. It was the Seminoles’ best start in ACC play since 1999 when the Garnet and Gold started 13-0. Since joining the ACC in 1992, FSU started league play winning its first six games just three times.

Check out more of this weekend’s notes for the North Carolina series in the Weekly Release attachment.

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