February 24, 2005 - by
Seminole Baseball Opens Series With Appalachian State Friday At 3:30

Feb. 24, 2005

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    The Seminoles have won all 11 meeting in the series with Appalachian State which dates back to 1993.  FSU most recently played Appalachian State in 2003 in Tallahassee and swept the three game series 16-6, 9-1, and 17-0.  The 17-0 win over the Mountaineers was the largest win by FSU in the series and was also the first shutout record by the Seminoles over ASU.  The Seminoles have scored seven or more runs in 10 of the 11 meetings with Appalachian State.  FSU has also held Appalachian State to seven runs or fewer in all 11 games.  All 11 games have been played in Tallahassee. Five current Seminoles played ASU the last time the teams met. Aaron Cheesman went 0x5 but drew four walks and scored two runs. Danny Wardell hit .400 going 2×5 with two runs, four RBIs, three walks and a steal. Mark Sauls, Hunter Jones and Kevin Lynch all pitched versus the Mountaineers in 2003 and in a combined 7.2 innings the group allowed just one unearned run while striking out four and issuing no walks. Sauls and Lynch each picked up a win and Lynch combined with two other pitchers in the 17-0 shutout.



                    FSU        ASU

    Gms        14            8

    Avg.       .318         .196

    Runs       7.86         2.88

    Hits         10.64       6.50

    Dbls        3.29         0.88          

    Trpls       0.14         0.13

    HRs        0.50         0.13

    RBIs       7.21         2.38

    Slg %      .469         .242

    BB           6.21         3.13

    K             6.21         8.50

    SB           2.43         0.75

    ERA        2.71         7.50



    Shane Robinson is the epitome of the word “lead” in more ways than one. Firstly, he leads FSU in 18 offensive categories. He is first in batting average, slugging percentage, on base percentage, runs, hits, RBIs, doubles, triples, homers, total bases, sac bunts, sac flies, steals, batting average versus right-handers, batting average with runners on, batting average with the bases loaded, batting average with runners in scoring position and in successfully advancing runners. There isn’t a single category where he is batting less than .444 and that .444 is with runners on base and is the best average on the squad. Robinson is literally doing it all in 2005. From hitting for power to sacrificing to steals the sophomore is in the midst of one of the truly remarkable starts in college baseball this season. The most remarkable stat with Shane’s start is what he is doing from the lead-off position. He has led off an inning 22 times and reached base 14 times, which means almost 64% of the time he is getting on at the top of an inning. More amazingly, nine of those 14 times he has reached have been via a hit. That’s a .409 average leading off. There have been only two games this season in which Robinson did not reach base once when leading off an inning and in those two games his only opportunity came in the top of the first. Even more impressive is how often he scores when getting on base to start an inning. Almost 41% of the time that Robinson gets on base to start an inning he comes around to score.



    Avg.       .500

    Slg. %     .741

    OB %      .567

    Runs       19

    Hits         27

    RBI         16

    Dbls.       8

    Trpls.      1

    HR          1

    TB           40

    Sac          2

    SF           2

    SB           15



    With a .500 batting average after 14 games and 54 at bats, Shane Robinson is the model of consistency. His batting average has only dipped below .500 after three of FSU’s 14 games this season and not once has it dipped below .429 and that was after the second game of the year. But you have to guess that is to be expected when you have hit in all 14 games in 2005 and 19 straight games dating back to 2004. The longest hitting streak in team history is J.D. Drew’s 34 game-hitting streak in 1997. There have been two other 30 game hit streaks in FSU history. Robinson’s current hit streak is tied for eighth all-time at FSU and it is the longest hit streak over two seasons in school history. Robinson has actually hit safely in 27 of his last 28 games. What the Tampa, FL native has done this year should have been easier to see by the way he ended 2004 in the ACC and NCAA Tournaments. If you combine the sophomore’s last 14 games of 2004 with his first 14 games of 2005, Robinson is hitting .460 with 35 runs scored, 13 doubles, two triples, two homers, 30 RBIs and 19 steals.



    J.D. Drew                               1997            34

    Marshall McDougall           1999            33

    Ryan Barthelemy                  2002            33

    Brad Parker                            1988            28

    Luis Alicea                            1984            27

    Rick Figueredo                     1982            24

    John-Ford Griffin                  2000            23

    Shane Robinson                   2004-05       19

    Dick Gold                               1981            19

    Mark Lacy                             1969            19



    For a team as young as the 2005 Seminoles, they are playing like veterans when it comes to close games. With two one-run wins over Stetson in DeLand, FSU moved out to an impressive 5-0 in games decided by one run. Last season the team was 10-6 in one-run games and in 2003 the Seminoles were just 7-5. This year’s team has almost as many wins in one-run games through the first 14 contests as those two Super Regional squads collected in full seasons. Florida State‘s one-run wins over VMI and Auburn both came courtesy of walk off runs scored in the bottom of the ninth. The two one-run wins over Stetson came on runs scored in the eighth and ninth innings so this squad is showing it can perform under pressure. In the five games FSU has entered the seventh either trailing or tied, the Seminoles have gone on to win four of those games. The main reason is clutch hitting and pitching in the eighth and ninth innings. The Seminoles’ ERA in the eighth is just 1.93 and even better in the ninth at 1.29. In those two innings, the Seminoles have outscored opponents 15-6. The Seminoles have been tied after an inning on 16 occasions this season and they have lost just one of those games and that came after being tied 0-0 with Auburn after the first frame.



    The Seminoles lost a lot of firepower when Eddy Martinez Esteve, Stephen Drew and Bryan Zech didn’t return in 2005. While this year’s team won’t get the 81 homers that team hit, it may be a better hitting team from top to bottom. Through five series, FSU has hit .300 or above in each and every series. In the entire 2004 season, FSU only hit .300 or above against a team they played more than once eight times.  In the first five series of last year, the squad only hit above .300 on one occasion. What is even more impressive is that FSU had its best series at the plate on the road against arguably the best team they have played this season. The Seminoles hit .345 in the two-game set against Stetson, a team that has been to an NCAA Regional four of the last five years. The Seminoles also set a season-high for hits in a game with 14 in the second game versus the Hatters.



    Tyler Chambliss was labeled “the first guy to get a shot at being our closer” before the season started by FSU pitching coach Jamey Shouppe. If the sophomore keeps this up, he’ll be the last as well. The Live Oak, FL native is absolutely tearing it up in 2005. He leads FSU in wins with three and in saves with four. His ERA is down to 0.90 from 2.70 after his third appearance of the year. He has appeared in nine games and recorded either a win or save in 78% of those games. He is one walk and one strikeout away from leading the team in each of those categories and no reliever has a lower ERA. Last season Chambliss appeared in 27 games and won four and recorded one save. Opponents hit a stellar .213 off him in 2004. This year that is down to .103.



    Ryan Strauss got off to a rough start to his FSU career. If there was ever a case to be made for stats being misleading, Strauss could have been the poster child. In his first outing he didn’t have a ball that was hit out of the infield yet two runs scored in just 2/3 of an inning and he ended up with an ERA of 27.00. He has rebounded quite nicely since that first day on the hill. Since that outing, the Tampa, FL native has been in four games, pitched 4 2/3 innings, allowed just two hits and given up only one run. His ERA over that stretch is 1.93 and opponents have hit just .125 against him. He is part of a bullpen that has been stellar so far in 2005 and his contributions have been a key to that success. He has held opponents without a run in three of his last four appearances and without a hit in two of those four outings. The only run he has given up came late in a 9-2 loss to Auburn and it was a home run.



    While he may be platooning in the DH spot, Brant Peacher has started half of FSU games and he is off to a great, if not unnoticed start to 2005. Peacher is currently second on the team in average (.385), second in slugging (.615) and now second in doubles (6) as well. Peacher doubled his double total in just one outing with a three double game in the second outing versus Stetson. His three doubles in the game were one short of a single game record for FSU. Last season Peacher had one double in 72 at bats. This year he has six in 26 at bats for an average of one double in every 4.3 at bats. Another area of Peacher’s game that has really made a difference is his strikeouts and walks. Last season the Milton, FL native walked four times all year. He already has four free passes in almost 50 fewer at bats. He has cut down on his K’s as well with just three so far after 2004 where he struck out almost four times more than he walked.



    Brian Schultz was a freshman All-American in 2004 but after starting the season off on the sidelines due to illness he wasn’t pitching like he did in 2004 in his first two outings. That all changed Tuesday night in Stetson where the Lakeland, FL native showed why he is one of the best returners on the Seminole staff. Schultz was dominant against the Hatters pitching six innings and tying a career high with six K’s and only walking one batter. While he is still looking for his first win, the outing in DeLand seemed to signal that the victories won’t be too far behind.



    Freshman second baseman Tony Thomas, Jr. may not be hitting the way he would like just yet but he is doing everything else it takes to help a team win. While his batting average is at .205, Thomas is getting on base 42% of the time he steps to the plate and with his speed, that is a big reason lead-off hitter Shane Robinson is leading the club in RBIs. Thomas’ 15 walks and hit by pitches are almost twice his hit total. He is second on the team in walks with 12 and first in sacs. He is advancing runners successfully 43% of the time and he is third on the team with 10 runs scored. He is finding ways to help FSU win ballgames. First with his defense, where the rookie second baseman is errorless in 68 chances and second is by just playing heads up baseball. The prime example of that came Tuesday versus Stetson. Thomas was 0x2 with a walk when he came up in the ninth in a 4-4 game. He singled to start the inning. Robinson then sacrificed him to second. The freshman then took off to third on a wild pitch. The catcher rushed the throw because of Thomas’ speed and ended up throwing the ball away as Thomas trotted home with the game-winner. In a series where FSU made numerous base running errors, Thomas did the little things and helped FSU win a game.



    If you want another sign as to how well the 2005 team is doing at the plate, you only need to look at walks and strikeouts. The Seminoles have as many walks (87) as they do K’s (87) through the first 14 games. It is early but the last time an FSU squad had more walks than K’s was 1990. From 1978 to 1990, Seminole teams had more walks than strikeouts in each of those 13 seasons. They have not done it again since then.



    Everyday right fielder Jack Rye seems to being moving a little closer to locking up the permanent starting job. The freshman from California has started 11 of 14 games in right but he got off to a slow start going 0x13 in his first five starts. The coaches sat him down for a couple of games and since then he has come to life. In the last eight games, six of which were starts, Rye has hit .444 with three doubles, a triple and four RBIs. His .722 slugging percentage in that stretch is just 20 points behind Shane Robinson’s over the same span. His season seemed to turn in the Auburn game where his RBI double brought FSU back to life after trailing 5-1 and he finished the comeback he started with a game-winning fielder’s choice in the bottom of the ninth for a walk-off victory.


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