April 20, 2005
A QUICK LOOK AT THE
The year will be the first year since 1979 that the Seminoles haven’t played
THE WEEKEND ROTATION
FRIDAY: Mark Sauls returns to the role he started the season in as the team’s Friday night starter. Sauls garners the start due to of his experience in the
SATURDAY: For the first time in six weeks, Barret Browning will not open a series on the mound for FSU as he has been pushed back to the Saturday start against
SUNDAY: Bryan Henry made the biggest start of his career against Florida Tuesday and did so well he is making just the second weekend start of his FSU career. The sophomore transfer has been FSU’s hottest pitcher as of late. In less than two weeks he has made three appearances and gone 2-0 with a 1.17 ERA. He has pitched 15 1/3 innings over that stretch and allowed just two earned runs on top of striking out 15 batters and issuing just three walks. This is just the second ACC start and the second weekend start of Henry’s career. His last ACC outing came against Clemson in the second game of a Sunday doubleheader. After starting at third base and playing all nine innings, Henry moved to the hill for game two and showed some effects of being tired. He lasted just four innings giving up three runs. He did not issue a walk and struck out three batters. Henry’s control has been the key to his success all season as he now leads all FSU starters with a 1.95 ERA. He also leads all starters in K:BB ration at 4.3:1. His second inning walk against the Gators Tuesday ended a streak of 20 2/3 innings pitched without a walk. He is also been phenomenal with runners on base as opponents hit just .227 with men on.
LAST YEAR’S SERIES STARS
In 2004 the current Seminole hitters recorded only 17 hits for a .178 batting average in six games against Miami. That average however did not stop Florida State from getting on base as they posted a .310 on-base-percentage, thanks to 14 walks and four batters being hit by a pitch. Shane Robinson led all current Seminoles with a .273 batting average, including a .308 average when a right handed pitcher was on the mound and a .407 on-base-percentage. Robinson also took advantage of his opportunities on the base paths as he was a perfect three for three in his stolen base attempts. Aaron Cheesman was second among all current Seminoles with a .250 batting average and a .375 on-base-percentage.
Robinson came through when the pressure was on as he hit 322 points higher when runners were on base as opposed to when they were empty. Robinson’s .500 average with runners on base led all current Seminoles against Miami in 2004. When there were two outs in the inning Robinson once again came through for the Seminoles with a .333 average. Robinson’s .333 average was second only to Aaron Cheesman as he delivered for a .375 batting average when there were two outs in an inning.
Extra bases were hard to come by against the Hurricanes but that did not stop Ryne Malone as he recorded two doubles over the course of the six games. Shane Robinson was the only other current Seminole to register a double in the six games. Aaron Cheesman went yard one time over the course of the six games as he was the only current Seminole to hit a home run last season against Miami.
The current Seminole hitters knew how to get on base when they were led an inning as they reached base 31 percent of the time. Robinson had the most opportunities with ten as a leadoff hitter and reached base safely 30 percent of the time. Gibbs Chapman was next with the most opportunities at seven and he reached base 29 percent of the time.
Seven current Florida State pitchers made appearances against the Hurricanes in 2004. Mark Sauls and Hunter Jones were the only two current Seminoles to a start a game against Miami. Sauls, who made two starts over the course of the six games, led all current Seminoles with ten innings pitched and seven strikeouts. Kevin Lynch’s three appearances in 2004 were the most by any active current Florida State pitcher.
Mark Sauls was the most effective pitcher when it came to facing left-handed batters in the series as he held Hurricane hitters to a .267 batting average. Kevin Lynch allowed a .273 batting average against right-handed batters, which was the best of any current Seminole pitcher.
GIBB ME A BREAK
Gibbs Chapman is flourishing in his second year as a Seminole and the whole state of Florida got to see that Tuesday night. The senior left fielder homered and doubled driving in three of FSU’s four runs in an upset of No. 5 Florida. His two run double in the fifth broke open a 1-1 game and gave him his 40th RBI of the year. That is just one RBI shy of his total through 61 games last season. His six homers lead the team and are already twice as many as he hit in 2004. Of his six homers, half have come in 0-0 games and FSU went on to win all three of those contests. After a hot start to 2005 hitting second behind Shane Robinson, a groin injury sidelined Chapman for a few games and Ryne Malone took over the second spot in the order and has been the hottest Seminole hitter since the move. Since Chapman’s return, the coaches have been looking for the right place for him in the line-up and he has settled in at third. Hitting out of the three spot, Chapman is batting .500 with two homers, six RBIs and a slugging percentage of 1.000. He is now in the top five for batting average, slugging percentage, on base percentage, runs scored, hits, RBIs (first), home runs (first), total bases, walks, sac bunts, sac flies and stolen bases.
HOME SWEET HOME
As if playing Georgia Tech in Atlanta followed by a mid-week game against another top five team in Florida wasn’t tough enough, the Seminoles now head down to Coral Gables to face their third top five team in a week. With the win over No. 5 Florida at home Tuesday night, FSU improved to 22-4 on the season at home compared to just 8-7 on the road. Playing away from home is always tougher but Florida State will need to turn that around with Miami, Maryland, NC State and Florida still upcoming on the road. The biggest disparity for FSU on the road has been the pitching. In Dick Howser, FSU pitchers have an ERA of just 2.77 but that number almost doubles (5.34) on the road. Teams hit just 37 points higher against the staff away from home but the biggest difference is the type of hits FSU pitchers give up when they pitch at an opponent’s park. In 26 home games FSU pitchers have given up 26 doubles and seven home runs. In just 15 road games they have surrendered 27 doubles and eight homers. That averages out to one double per game allowed at home compared to nearly two a game on the road. As for homers, opponents average just 0.27 homers a game at Dick Howser but 0.53 at their home parks. That means teams slug .289 against FSU pitchers at home but .356 against them on the road. While the Seminole offense isn’t quite as good on the road, the team averages just a half a run less in road games (6.7) compared to home games (7.2).
PICK TO CLICK IN THE ACC
If you are looking for a few FSU players that may have a big weekend in the first ever ACC series versus the Canes, here are a few guys that have been excelling in ACC play so far. Brant Peacher has probably been FSU’s biggest offensive threat in conference games so far. He is hitting .345 in ACC games and leads the team with 13 RBIs. Ryne Malone is the Seminoles top slugger with a slugging percentage of .529 due to his team-leading four doubles and one triple on top of a homer run. He also is first in on base percentage at .477. It is no surprise that Shane Robinson leads the team in batting average at .359 but two guys whose numbers are a little surprising are Aaron Cheesman and Ryne Jernigan. Despite hitting .235 and .234 respectively, they each have double digit RBIs (10 and 12) and Jernigan leads the team with two homers.
On the hill, Brian Chambers, Ryan Strauss and Stephen Ochs all have 0.00 ERA’s in limited appearances. Senior Kevin Lynch has been dominant out of the bullpen though. Lynch is 2-0 appearing in nine ACC games and has a 1.38 ERA with 15 K’s and just three walks. ACC teams are hitting just .157 against him as well. Stopper of the Year Award nominee and national saves leader Tyler Chambliss is right behind Lynch with a 2.92 ERA and a league-leading five saves. Even though he is 0-2, Sunday starter Bryan Henry has the best ERA among starters at 3.07. He has 17 strikeouts versus ACC squads and he has yet to issue a walk.
RIGHT BEFORE OUR EYES
Freshman shortstop Ryne Jernigan is maturing right before our eyes both at the plate and in the field. After hitting two homers in his first 29 games, Jernigan now has two in the last eight. He has a hit in each of FSU’s last six games and in the last 10 games he has a hit in eight of those contests. Over that stretch the shortstop is hitting .306 with a double, two homers and nine RBIs on top of slugging .500. Probably the improvement the coaching staff is most delighted with is his play in the field. Jernigan has now gone five straight games without an error and he has just one miscue in his last 10 starts. The 10 starts before that, Jernigan committed six errors in that stretch. Considering that improvement, it is easy to see why head coach Mike Martin said “I see a young man evolving into the kind of shortstop we expected.”
GO TO GUYS
Head coach Mike Martin wasted no time going back to two of his big three bullpen guys in a crucial situation versus Florida despite a bump in the road for each at Georgia Tech. Tyler Chambliss and Matt DiBlasi have been two of the most consistent and dominating relievers along with Kevin Lynch but DiBlasi and Chambliss each had their first rough outing against the Jackets. Chambliss blew a save and took a loss in a 9-8 Georgia Tech comeback in the bottom of the ninth while DiBlasi gave up four runs and four doubles in just one inning in Atlanta. That didn’t stop Martin from bringing both into the game versus No. 5 Florida in a 4-2 ballgame. DiBlasi came in an retired the only batter he faced while Chambliss faced just three batters in the ninth to pick up his 11th save and secure the win over the Gators.
Florida State pitchers have recorded 14 quality starts in 45 opportunities this season. The last was Bryan Henry’s gem of a performance Tuesday night versus No. 5 Florida. Three of the guys that have eight of those quality starts will pitch this weekend. Barret Browning leads the team with four; Bryan Henry has two as does Mark Sauls. Michael Hyde, a weekend starter before the Miami series, is second on the team with three. Henry’s quality start versus UF was the first for the Seminoles since Jacksonville April 6. The good news for the Seminoles is that quality starts have come in bunches for the most part this season. FSU has had four in a row once, three in a row once and back-to-back quality starts two other times.
JUST THREE TIMES
Although Shane Robinson’s hit streak ended at the start of this month, he is still being honored for the record run. Wednesday he was at the capitol when a proclamation was passed honoring him for his accomplishment. There have only been three games this season where the sophomore has not recorded a hit. No other Seminole is still in single digits as far as hitless games are concerned. The center fielder has reached base in 61 straight games, although one of those was due to an error at Georgia Tech.
RIVALRY WEEK CONTINUES
Playing Florida and Miami in four straight games is tough, especially when both teams are ranked in the top five but the two schools are also FSU’s longest standing rivals. The series with the Gators dates back to 1956 and to 1951 with the Canes. Florida State has played 436 games all-time against the two in-state rivals and FSU has won about 55% of those 436 meetings. Of Florida State’s 3,112 games in school history, 14% have come against just those two teams. That is a pretty amazing stat when you consider the Seminoles have played 212 teams in school history. It is hard to imagine a bigger rival for FSU than Miami. Mainly due to the fact that this will be the first season since 1979 where the teams haven’t met at least six times and they are now in the same conference. Adding fuel to the rivalry is the fact that FSU and UM have played eight times in the NCAA Tournament with three of those meetings coming in Omaha including one for the National Championship (6-5 loss in 1999).