February 9, 2007 - by
GAMEDAY CENTRAL: No. 10 Florida State Opens Three-Game Set Against UNC Asheville Tonight At 5:00 PM

Feb. 9, 2007

Tallahassee, Fla. –

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  • Florida State begins a season at 3-0 for the 20th time in 28 seasons under head coach Mike Martin. 

  • The Seminoles swept the three game series against Tennessee last week marking the ninth straight sweep of a series to open a season for Florida State. 

  • Florida State outscored Tennessee 32-9 last weekend as the Seminoles pounded 43 hits compiling a weekend batting average of .387.  The Seminoles were equally impressive on the defensive side posting a perfect fielding percentage through the first three games.  FSU did not make a single error in 110 chances against the Volunteers. 

  • Of the 43 hits registered in the 2007 opening series against Tennessee, 13 went as extra base hits including 11 doubles, one triple and one home run.  Junior Jack Rye had the lone home run of the weekend, a three-run shot in the bottom of the fifth on Friday evening, in Florida State‘s 9-2 victory.  

  • Florida State will chase its 29th consecutive NCAA Regional appearance this season.

  • Mike Martin is just eight wins away from moving into fifth place for all-time career wins in NCAA Baseball history.

  • The Seminoles played in the program’s 28th consecutive NCAA Tournament last season.

  • FSU moved up in the rankings in week two and now sit 10th (13th LW) by Collegiate Baseball, 14th (18th LW) by Baseball America, and entered the Rivals.com poll for the first time this season with a ranking of 20 (NR LW).  NCBWA and USA Today have yet to update their polls for the season.  The Seminoles currently sit 15th by the NCBWA and 17th by the USA Today/ESPN Coaches’ Poll.

  • Of the 35 players on Florida State‘s 2007 roster, 31 have two years experience or less as Seminoles.

  • The 2007 roster features just two players that were on the team when FSU last won an ACC Championship in 2004.

  • The only Seminole who has played in each of the last three seasons is relief pitcher Brian Chambers.  Chambers made two relief appearances on opening weekend pitching 2.2 innings of scoreless baseball allowing just one hit and one walk, while striking out three.

  • The last time FSU began a season with just one fourth-year senior on the roster was 2004.

  • Eight teams that played in the 2006 NCAA Baseball Tournament are on the Seminoles’ schedule in 2007.

  • Half of the 2006 College World Series field was made up of ACC teams and FSU will play weekend series with all four of those squads.

  • Players who accounted for 47 of FSU’s 69 homeruns in 2006 are back this year.

  • Florida State has hit 55 or more homers for 12 straight seasons.

  • For the fourth time in the last five seasons, the Seminoles fielded .964 or better.  Through the first three games of 2007, Florida State is perfect from the field (1.000) in 110 chances. 

  • The 2005 and 2006 squads rank as two of the top five best defensive teams in FSU history.

  • Bryan Henry has a chance to become the first three-time All-ACC first team selection in school history.

  • The Seminoles lost pitchers that accounted for 23 of the team’s 44 wins in 2006.

  • Seven of Florida State‘s top nine pitchers as far as ERA are back in 2007.


For the second consecutive season, the Seminoles welcome the Bulldogs to Tallahassee, Fla., for a three game set Friday – Sunday, February 9-11.  Florida State leads the all-time series 14-1 as the Seminoles have won five straight over UNC Asheville.  Last year, FSU swept the three game series at Dick Howser Stadium outscoring the Bulldogs 27-3.  Bryan Henry was the Friday starter a season ago working seven solid innings of shutout baseball allowing only three hits while striking out nine.  Florida State has registered three shutouts in the series including a 10-0 victory in the first of a three-game set last year.  In 15 prior meetings, FSU has held UNC Asheville to three runs or less 13 times.  Dating back to the first game of the series played on March 15, 1994, every game in the series has been played in Tallahassee. 



FRIDAY: Bryan Henry looks to get his second straight Friday start of the 2007 season in game one of the UNC Asheville series.  Last year against the Bulldogs, Henry was dominant as he pitched Florida State to a 10-0 win in the series opener.  The right hander worked seven innings and did not issue a walk while fanning nine Bulldog hitters.  Henry needed just 80 pitches, 55 of which were strikes, to earn his second win of 2006.  In his first start of the 2007 season, Henry showed why he has been named a first team All-ACC honoree the past two seasons working six solid innings of shutout baseball allowing just four hits and no walks while striking out 11 Tennessee batters (one shy of his career-high set last year against Duke).  It was the third time in Henry’s career that he has reached double digit strikeouts (10 vs. Auburn 2005; 12 vs. Duke 2006).  Against the Volunteers, Henry struck out eight of the first 10 Volunteer batters, striking out the side in the first and third innings.  The Tallahassee, Fla., native did not allow a hit until two outs in the fourth inning.  In 2006, the FSU ace was brilliant versus non-conference competition. Henry went 5-2 with a 2.26 ERA versus non-ACC teams. The Tallahassee hurler was even more impressive in the regular season versus FSU’s non-conference opponents. Henry was a perfect 5-0 with a 0.72 ERA in those games striking out 41 and issuing just eight walks. During the 2006 regular season non-conference opponents hit just .188 versus Henry in the regular season and he averaged almost 10 K’s per nine innings. Last season Henry was tied for the NCAA lead with four combined shutouts and 10 of his 18 starts were quality starts.


SATURDAY: Michael Hyde is penciled in to make his 30th career start for FSU in game two of the UNC Asheville series. Hyde made a relief appearance in the series finale against the Bulldogs a season ago.  The senior right hander went two innings giving up no runs on one hit, while fanning three batters as FSU went on to the 8-2 victory.  In his first start of 2007, Hyde pitched a gem throwing 6.1 innings striking out a career-high 10 batters.  The Tallahassee, Fla., native matched his previous career-high of seven strikeouts, set in February of 2005 against St. Joseph‘s, by the end of the fourth inning.  Hyde posted a 9-1 record in 2006 and is 17-3 in his Seminole career.  Hyde has just one loss in his last 32 appearances, a span including 22 starts. Last season his only loss came versus an SEC team as he lasted just 1.1 innings in a start versus the Gators. Before that defeat, Hyde hadn’t lost since March 10, 2005 versus Hawaii.  Hyde has been at his best in his career versus non-conference opponents though. Last year he led the team with a 7-1 record versus non-ACC teams while posting an ERA over a run and a half lower than his season ERA. His 2.78 ERA versus non-conference competition was the same as All-American Tyler Chambliss’ ERA in those games. In non-conference action, opponents hit just .225 off of Hyde and he held right-handers to an incredible .183 batting average.


SUNDAY: Bo O’Dell will make his first collegiate start as a Seminole when he takes the mound for Florida State in the final game of the series against UNC Asheville.  Last weekend, the sophomore right hander made a relief appearance in the third game of the series against Tennessee.  O’Dell pitched one inning allowing two hits while fanning three in his Seminole debut.  As a freshman in 2006, O’Dell went 4-2 with a 2.53 ERA at Seminole Community College.  He combined on three shutouts and recorded a save, while ranking second on the team with 57 innings pitched.  The Kissimmee, Fla., native struck out 42 batters a season ago, walked 28 and held the opposition to a .242 batting average. 



In the series finale against Tennessee on Sunday, junior shortstop Mark Hallberg was honored in the top of the second inning by the NCAA as the nation’s toughest batter to strikeout last season.  Before transferring to Florida State from Illinois-Chicago, Hallberg was retired just six times on strikes all season in 217 at-bats, an average of one strikeout per 36 at-bats.   The Wisconsin native was an all-conference first team selection with the Flames last year where he batted .373 and hit over .400 in league play.  He was the only UIC player to start all 55 games a season ago. 



The one, two punch of Henry and Hyde worked to perfection last weekend against Tennessee as the two senior right-handers were a major reason for the Seminoles sweeping the Volunteers as both teams opened the 2007 campaign.  The two Tallahassee, Fla., natives combined to throw 12.1 innings of shutout baseball allowing just six hits, two for extra bases, two walks and one hit by pitch while striking out 21.  It was the first time in the last two seasons that two Seminole pitchers threw double-digit strikeouts in back-to-back games.  The 11 strikeouts by Henry were one shy of his career-high set last year against Duke, while Hyde matched his previous career-high of seven by the end of the fourth-inning.  He would finish the game with 10.  Henry and Hyde have started a combined 59 games over the last three years with the Seminoles winning 75 percent of those contests (44-15). 



Not only was Florida State impressive inside the batter’s box this past weekend against Tennessee, but the Seminoles also played error free baseball.  Through the first three games of 2007, FSU is perfect from the field sporting a 1.000 fielding percentage in 110 chances.  The 2005 and 2006 squads rank as two of the top five best defensive teams in FSU history posting a .967 fielding percentage in each of the last two years.  Here is a look at the top five fielding teams in school history dating back to 1973:

1)      .973 – 1994

2)      .939 – 1993

3)      .968 – 1991

4)      .967 – 2006

.967 – 2005



Tony Thomas, Jr. got off to a fabulous start in 2007 going 8-for-12 (.667) against the Volunteers in the Seminoles three-game sweep.  Thomas scored seven runs and drove in a pair while tallying 11 total bases en route to slugging .917.  The junior from Valrico, Fla., set a career-high with four hits in the series finale on Sunday against Tennessee.  In 14 plate appearances, Thomas reach base safely 10 times good for a weekend on-base percentage of .714.  On the field, Thomas started all three games at second base and did not commit an error in 11 opportunities. 


Thomas got off to a similar start just a season ago when he hit .400 (4-for-10) with two home runs and a triple against Charleston Southern as the Seminoles took all three games from the Buccaneers.  In that series, Thomas scored eight runs and drove in seven all from the number two spot in the lineup. 



Florida State scored 32 runs on 43 hits during its opening series sweep of then No. 11 Tennessee last weekend, good for a team batting average of .387.  Of the 43 hits registered by the Seminole hitters, just 13 went for extra bases including one triple and one home run.  The lone home run came off the bat of junior right fielder Jack Rye, who hit a three-run shot over the right field fence in the bottom of the fifth giving the Seminoles a 4-0 advantage on opening day.  The home run was the first Seminole dinger of the season and the 15th of Rye‘s career.  First-year Seminole Mark Hallberg collected the only triple of the season connecting on the three-bagger in the bottom of the sixth of game one.  Of the 17 players who saw at-bats last weekend, 13 Seminoles earned base hits including 10 student-athletes with two more or hits. 



The Seminoles scored 32 runs in the three-game series against Tennessee last weekend an average of just over 10 runs a game.  FSU managed to score in every inning that they saw an at-bat, excluding the ninth which the Seminoles did not have to step up to the plate.  Already in 2007, the Seminoles have posted multiple runs in all but three innings (one in the first, one in the fourth and zero in the ninth).  Florida State also managed to strike early in its first three games outscoring the Volunteers 14-0 through the first three innings. 



Senior right hander Bryan Henry was named a Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week on Monday, February 5, 2007 for his performance on opening day against Tennessee.  The Tallahassee, Fla., native struck out 11 batters in six innings of work as the Seminoles beat the Volunteers, 9-2.  The 11 strikeouts were one shy of his career-high set last year against Duke.  Henry fanned eight of the first 10 batters he faced, while striking out the side in the first and third innings. 


Rivals.com recognized first-year third baseman Jason Stidham as their Freshman of the Week for his performance against Tennessee.  Stidham hit .500 going 5-for-10 at the plate with a pair of doubles.  He scored two runs, drove in a pair and walked once in his debut with the Garnet and Gold.  In his first collegiate at-bat on Friday, hitting in the number two hole, Stidham drilled a double to right.  In game two against Tennessee, Stidham went 2-for-4 for the second straight game driving in a pair of runs as the Seminoles went on to shutout the Volunteers 4-0.  In the series finale, the Palm Bay, Fla., native went 1-for-2 with a single, a walk and a run scored as Florida State swept the series from Tennessee with a 19-7 victory. The freshman third baseman was also perfect in the field converting on all four opportunities. 



Redshirt sophomore Mark Gildea saw action in all three games last week and made the most of each of his opportunities.  The switch hitting outfielder went 3-for-4 at the plate with a double and four RBIs.  What is more impressive is that all three hits came with runners on base and in scoring position.  Starting center fielder Ruairi O’Connor was 4-for-5 with runners on, while second baseman Tony Thomas, Jr. was 6-for-9 in the same situation.  Jack Rye and Gildea had the most success on opening weekend with 2-out RBI notching four and three, respectively to lead the Seminoles against the Volunteers.  



With 6.1 scoreless innings against Tennessee last Saturday, senior hurler Michael Hyde pushed his scoreless streak to 18.2 innings heading into his second start of the season on Saturday against UNC Asheville.  Hyde made two postseason starts to close out the 2006 campaign and won both games without allowing a run.  The Tallahassee native pitched 12 innings in the postseason and struck out nine batters.  In Hyde’s first start against Tennessee, the right hander struck out a career-high 10 batters. 


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