A QUICK LOOK AT ST. JOE‘S
FSU has faced St. Joseph‘s 11 times dating back to 1972 and has won all 11 meetings. The last meeting between the two schools came in 2003 when FSU swept the two game series 11-5 and 14-0. The Seminoles have recorded three shutouts in the series and have never scored less then six runs in a game. The Seminoles have scored in double digits against St. Joseph‘s in seven of the 11 games as well. FSU has held St. Joseph‘s to 6 runs or fewer in all 11 meetings. The Hawks are off to a 0-3 start after Virginia Commonwealth swept a series last weekend. Mike Gentile is the lone experienced returnee for the Hawks and he hit .336 and drove in 27 runs in 2004.
PER GAME STATS
Games 9 3
Avg. .307 .138
Runs 7.33 2.33
Hits 10.22 4.0
Dbls 2.44 0.33
Trpls 0.00 0.00
HRs 0.44 0.33
RBIs 6.78 2.00
Slg % .420 .184
BB 5.33 4.33
K 6.44 8.67
SB 2.00 1.33
ERA 2.78 13.09
LEADING THE NATION
Being in Florida has its advantages in the winter and one of those perks is getting an early start to the baseball season. No team in the NCAA ended the week of February 13th with more wins than Florida State. The Seminoles’ eight victories led the nation coming in just ahead of No. 1 Texas (7-0), No. 2 Miami (7-0) and No. 6 Stanford (7-2). A few FSU teams have gotten off to better starts than the 2005 group but no Seminole team has ever won eight games as quickly as this team that picked up win number eight February 12.
Head coach Mike Martin has had plenty of success in his days in Tallahassee. He has won almost 1,350 games and just moved into fifth place all-time in DI for wins. That success is continuing in 2005 with an 8-1 start. Getting out of the gate quickly shouldn’t have been too big of a surprise when you look at Martin’s record versus his first three opponents. The Seminole boss is now 52-5 against Charleston Southern, VMI and Auburn. If you add this weekend’s opponent to the list, Martin is 63-5. That is a winning percentage of .926. Not bad.
The Seminole coaching staff hates giving up walks and that seems to have been a focus the last few weeks for pitching coach Jamey Shouppe. His staff has been very consistent in each series as far as strikeouts are concerned. Florida State hurlers struck out 24 batters against Charleston Southern, 24 against VMI and 23 versus Auburn. But opening weekend the Seminoles gave 18 hitters a free pass. The next week that number dropped to 12 and then versus Auburn the Tigers drew only 10 walks in 27 innings. Under Shouppe’s guidance, FSU pitching staffs have averaged 2.4 K’s for every walk since taking over in 1993. This season the number is 1:1.8 but versus Auburn that ratio was 1:2.3, which is more like Shouppe’s staffs from the past 12 years.
IN A ROW, ROW, ROW
The Seminoles no longer have a question mark next to fan’s pre season check list for the hitting category. This year’s team can hit the ball. Evidence of that is the fact that six players are on a hitting streak of at least three games and four players have a streak of five or more games. Shane Robinson leads the way as he has hit in every game so far in 2005. His nine-game streak is a new career high for the sophomore who put together an eight-game hit streak at the end of last season. Dating back to 2004, Robinson has a hit in 22 of the last 23 FSU games. In that span, the Tampa, FL native has gone 42 for 94, which is a .447 average.
Senior Kevin Lynch continues to climb the charts as far as career appearances and appearances in relief. The Ft. Pierce, FL native has appeared in 96 games in his four years and is currently in seventh place for career appearances and fourth place for career relief appearances. Lynch is just two appearances from moving into fifth all-time and third in relief appearances. With one more appearance, he will tie 1992 first round draft pick Chris Roberts for sixth place on the appearances list.
The 2005 Seminoles are not a long ball team by any means but they are proving the phrase “good things come in pairs” to be true. Florida State has homered just twice in nine games this year but both times they have hit two in that game. The trend started against VMI when Ruairi O’Connor went yard with FSU’s first homer of 2005. Danny Diaz followed a couple innings later with the first home run of his career as well. The next game, this one the series opener versus Auburn, Shane Robinson went yard on the first pitch FSU saw. Ryne Malone then went deep later that day with a two-run shot in the eighth.
WAY TO GET IT STARTED
When the Auburn Tigers came to Tallahassee last weekend it marked the first really big series of the season for FSU. The park was filled, the weather got warmer and the players got excited. It is hard to imagine things getting off to a better start than they did when Shane Robinson sent the first pitch of the game from Auburn starter Arnold Hughey out of the park. It was the first lead-off homer hit by a Seminole since Bryan Zech went yard to start a game at Jacksonville April 7, 2004.
RANK AND FILE
Clemson, North Carolina and Virginia may not have kicked off their 2005 seasons as of yet but eight other ACC squads are up and running so far. In the latest ACC release, a few Seminoles are already stacking up among the conference leaders. In twice as many at bats as anybody on the list, Shane Robinson is currently seventh in batting. The sophomore leads the conference in hits with 17 and ranks third in hits per game. He also leads the ACC in steals and steals per game. Robinson is sixth in runs scored per game and leads the ACC in runs. He also ranks seventh in total bases per game and his 24 total bases are tops in the ACC. Robinson is also sixth in on base percentage and 10th in slugging. Aaron Cheesman leads the conference in RBIs. Tyler Chambliss and Kevin Lynch are tied for the ACC lead in wins and Lynch is seventh in K’s per game. Eight of the leading pitchers in appearances wear Garnet & Gold and Michael Hyde is seventh in innings pitched per game. Hyde also leads in games started and complete games. Junior Barret Browning is in the top 10 for opponent batting average and the team has the second-best fielding percentage in the league.
4 FOR 2
Talk about getting it done. Seminole closer Tyler Chambliss came into Saturday’s game with Auburn in the top of the ninth. The score was tied 5-5 there were two runners on base and just one out. The Seminoles had fought back from a 5-1 deficit to get the game even and staging another comeback in the bottom of the inning would have been tough but Chambliss made sure that was moot. The sophomore went 1-2 on the next batter and then turned a 1-6-3 double play to end the inning. When FSU got a run in the bottom of the frame, Chambliss picked up his second win on just a four-pitch performance. He now leads the team with a 2-0 record.
NOTE OF THE WEEK
A lot of people expected Florida State to struggle offensively in 2005 as they tried to replace Stephen Drew and Eddy Martinez-Esteve but so far that hasn’t been the case. FSU has scored a run in 50% of the 75 innings they have played in 2005. The Seminoles are averaging 7.33 runs per game and hitting .307 as a team. One of the reasons for the run production is the squad’s .304 batting average with runners in scoring position.
OFFENSIVE PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
Shane Robinson, SO, CF, Tampa, FL
Florida State sophomore Shane Robinson has been unstoppable so far in 2005 and the trend continued for the third week in a row. The center fielder led the team in hits, runs RBIs, home runs, total bases and steals as FSU took two off three games from Auburn. Robinson has hit in every game in 2005 as he is now on a nine game hit streak. He set the tone for the series when he hit the first Auburn pitch of the series out of the park giving him his second career homer. He also had an RBI single in the opener. Then helped FSU come back from a 5-1 deficit and pull out a win Saturday getting on base and scoring runs to cut the lead to 3-1 and then to 5-4.
PITCHING PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
Barret Browning, JR, LHP, Jesup, GA
After making two strong starts the first two weekends of the season, Browning moved to the bullpen for the Auburn series with the return of Hunter Jones and Brian Schultz. Despite his two starts where he pitched well enough to get FSU wins in both games, his performance out of the pen Saturday may have been his most impressive work of the season. The key game in FSU’s series win over Auburn was the come from behind 6-5 win Saturday. After committing five errors and falling behind 5-1, Browning came into the game and held Auburn without a run for four innings. He gave up three hits, struck out three and walked just one allowing FSU to climb back into the game and eventually tie the score at 5-5. The Seminoles went on to win 6-5 in the bottom of the ninth and take the series.
FSU BASEBALL TEAM NOTES
One of the big reasons FSU is off to an 8-1 start is clutch-hitting and pitching. The Seminoles have 23 two-out RBIs this season and allowed just eight to opponents. FSU is also hitting .304 with runners in scoring position…two of FSU’s eight wins have already been walk-off victories and both of those games had identical 6-5 scores (Auburn and VMI)…the 2005 Seminoles may be too young to know that you can’t come back from late-inning deficits as they have already staged come from behind victories on two occasions after trailing after the sixth and seventh innings…the team’s eight-game winning streak was just one shy of the longest win streak put together by the 2004 team…four players are currently on hitting streaks of five or more games led by Shane Robinson who has a hit in every game this season…FSU’s Sunday loss to Auburn ended the team’s seven-game home winning streak versus SEC opponents that dated back to 2001…head coach Mike Martin’s mastery over the Tigers continues as he raised his record versus Auburn to 24-5…the FSU pitching staff has been tough on the top of the order in 2005. The Seminoles have not allowed an earned run in the first inning and given up just two first inning runs overall. The third and ninth inning haven’t been particularly good for opponents either as the Seminoles have allowed just one earned run in each of those frames…preseason third team All-American Clete Thomas had a rough time with the FSU pitching staff going just 2-for-14 in the weekend series. In fact, the top two in the Auburn order, Thomas and Tyler Johnstone, went 7-for-29 this weekend…odd stat of the weekend, both FSU and Auburn stranded 23 base runners in the three-game set.
FSU PLAYER NOTES
Shane Robinson is having a dream start to the 2005 season. He is hitting .486 with 13 runs scored, four doubles, a home run, seven RBIs, a .686 slugging percentage and is 8 for 9 on steals. He is leading FSU in nine major offensive categories from the lead off spot…of the nine straight games in which Robinson has recorded a hit, five have been multi-hit games and three of those five have been three-hit games…the coaching move of the weekend by the FSU staff had to be moving freshman right fielder Jack Rye into the five spot for Saturday’s Auburn game. The freshman had never hit higher than seventh and came into the game hitting .067. All the right fielder did was go 2-for-4 with his first career double and the game-winning RBI in the bottom of the ninth… Bryan Henry continued his RBI production with two more this past weekend. The sophomore is now second on the team with eight RBIs…Tyler Chambliss and Kevin Lynch are now leading the team in wins as both relievers are 2-0 on the year. Chambliss leads the team with two saves.