April 19, 2005
“This was a big game because it was such an important win for us after what happened this past weekend,” said FSU head coach Mike Martin. “I am very proud of this ball club. We played with poise tonight.
“That was undoubtedly one of the best starts by any of our pitchers this season. It was right up there with any of the starts by our one or two guys. This was a start against a top five team that is leading the entire Southeastern Conference. That was a very important game for us.”
Henry’s 7 1/3 innings pitched were a career high and the second longest start by any FSU hurler this season. He came within one strikeout of equaling a career high and he threw just 96 pitches in the game. It was the Tallahassee native’s first win as a starter since his first career start March 6 versus Hawai’i Hilo.
“This is a great feeling right now,” said Henry. “I don’t even have the words to describe it. Playing a top five team in front of my home fans it feels great to help my team get a win. Growing up in Tallahassee I have seen the rivalry first hand. Getting the chance to pitch against Florida was just awesome.”
“Let’s face it. It is all about the guy on the hump,” said Martin. “Bryan did such a great job out there. He showed a lot of grit and determination. That is what we have been waiting to see. I am just very pleased by our baseball team tonight.”
Chapman had another big night as he extended his team leading home run total to six with his solo blast in the first inning. He then broke open a 1-1 game with a two-run double in the fifth driving in the game-winning run.
“There is no better feeling than hitting a home run in a game like this, especially in the first inning” said Chapman. “To be able to get the offense going and get the crowd behind us early on was a big lift.”
“I have a lot of confidence in Gibbs Chapman,” said Martin. “He is a good baseball player. He is very important to our team. He is a quality hitter and that is why we moved him to the third spot in the line-up. I am just glad he is seeing the ball and getting some good swings.”
Henry got off to a strong start in the game getting the first two outs of the first inning before issuing a walk to number three hitter Adam Davis. The walk ended Henry’s streak of 20 2/3 innings without issuing a free pass. The last time he walked a batter was in Hawai’i March 6, which was his first ever game on the mound. The runner moved into scoring position on a balk and then swiped third but Henry left Davis standing there getting the final out on a foul out to third.
Florida starter Tommy Wynn (0-1) got the first two hitters he faced as well in the first but he couldn’t make it out of the frame unscathed. The freshman came up against FSU’s top homerun hitter this season and lost the battle as Chapman yanked his team-leading sixth homer over the right field fence putting FSU up 1-0.
“I hit that ball pretty good,” said Chapman. “It was a 2-0 fastball that he left right down the middle. I was able to make good contact with it.”
Henry set down the Gators in order in the top of the second and the Seminoles went back to work in the bottom of the inning. Danny Wardell laced a shot over short and into left center for a single and he was followed by Josh Spivey, making his first start since March 10. The freshman came through with a single through the right side for his first base hit since March 7. Both batters moved into scoring position on a balk. Wynn got the second out on his first K of the game and then ended the inning on a grounder to short.
Florida mounted a two out rally in the third. Henry gave up his first hit of the game and then walked his second batter putting runners on first and second. Adam Davis then blooped a double down the left field line evening the game at 1-1. An intentional walk to Matt LaPorta loaded the bases before a ground out ended the top of the inning.
“That is the way baseball is. A couple of times they smashed a couple of balls right at my guys then a bloop hit lands in for a double,” said Henry. “Florida had a chance to do some serious damage in that inning but luckily I was able to control it.”
A one out walk to Shane Robinson ended Wynn’s night bringing Mike Pete into the game. The first batter he faced was Ryne Malone who laced a double off the screen in right field putting runners on second and third. It was the eighth double for Malone in the last 10 games. Chapman then blasted a double to deep center field that bounced over the wall and cleared the bases giving FSU a 3-1 lead.
Florida attempted to answer back again in the sixth. Two, one-out singles put runners on first and second but a tailor-made double play ball ended the threat.
Justin Tordi, who went 2-for-4 with three RBIs in the first meeting, led off the seventh by smoking a double down the left field line. He was sacrificed to third and then a two-out single into center field scored Tordi making it a 3-2 game.
With one away in the eighth and a runner on first, Matt DiBlasi relieved Henry on the hill. A steal moved the runner into scoring position before DiBlasi recorded the second out of the inning on a fly ball to right. The steal was the first attempted against DiBlasi all season and the fly ball out moved Davis 90 feet away from tying the ballgame but Kevin Lynch came in and ended the threat.
Ryne Jernigan gave FSU a little breathing room in the bottom of the eighth as he hit FSU’s second homer of the game. The freshman sent a 1-0 pitch over the wall in left center field making it a 4-2 game. It was a continuation of Jernigan’s hot hitting from the Georgia Tech series where he led the team with a .400 average.
“I see a young man evolving into the kind of shortstop we expected,” said Martin of Jernigan. “He is playing with a lot of poise. He is comfortable out there. He is feeling good about himself and that is what this is all about. I am very proud of that young man. He has worked very hard.”
Florida State will resume ACC play when they travel to Coral Gables, FL over the weekend for the first-ever conference series with Miami. The Canes come into the series ranked fifth in the nation and have won four of the last five meetings.
“This was a big win especially going into Miami this weekend,” said Chapman. “Beating Florida will give us some confidence because we know how tough Miami is. We know we can play with anybody in the country. We have a great team here and we keep getting better and better.”
“We are getting better and that is the key,” said Martin. “As we move through the season we have to get better every time we go out there. I am seeing young guys getting used to playing this type of baseball. It is exciting to me. That is what this program is all about. We play exciting baseball teams and that is all we are going to see the rest of the year is outstanding baseball teams.”
All three games will be carried live on Sun Sports. Game Tracker will be available for all the contests along with Steve Melewski’s live radio broadcast available on WFLA locally and on the Internet at seminoles.com.