May 2, 2005 - by
WEEKLY RELEASE: No. 15 FSU And No. 4 Florida Decide The Series Tuesday Night

May. 2, 2005

  • Just the Notes in PDF Format

  • Updated Bios

  • All the Box Scores in PDF Format

  • Stats in PDF Format


    The last time the teams met Bryan Henry pitched one of the best games for FSU this season as the Seminoles dumped then No. 5 Florida 4-2. The Gators took the opening game of the three-game set 9-2 as both games were played at Mike Martin Field at Dick Howser Stadium. The rivalry couldn’t be more even as of late with FSU holding a slight edge in the last 13 games (7-6) but UF is 4-2 in the last six games between the schools. This is the first game of the 2005 series to be played in Gainesville where the Gators lead 46-43 all-time. Florida has won three in a row at McKethan Stadium but the teams are 5-5 in the last 10 played on the UF campus. The Seminoles have recorded 14 shutouts in the series to Florida‘s six. The series dates back to 1956 and the two teams have played at least once every year since.



    TUESDAY NIGHT: Mark Sauls makes just his third start since March 27 but is coming off of one of his best outings of the season. The junior started versus then-No. 5 Miami in Coral Gables April 22 and held the powerful Canes scoreless through 3 2/3. He scattered four hits and walked three batters. In his last two outings (Georgia Tech and Miami), Sauls has pitched very well allowing five hits and no runs in 4 2/3 innings of work. When Sauls has had trouble this season it has mainly been due to control. The right-hander is the only current Seminole to have more walks than K’s (20:17) this season. Absent of one poor outing versus Wake Forest (four runs in 1/3 of an inning) though, Sauls numbers have been very good since he last appeared versus the Gators March 30. Without the one game versus Wake, Sauls is 1-0 with a 1.42 ERA in his last four appearances with five K’s and four walks. In that March 30 game versus UF, Sauls was the second reliever brought into a game that was already out of hand but the junior did throw two scoreless and did not allow a hit.



    Seminole hitters have posted a .294 batting average in the two games played in 2005 against Florida. The Gators are hitting for a slightly higher average then the FSU at .309 but the Seminoles are out slugging UF by 74 points (.471 to .397). The Seminoles are also reaching base more often then the Gators as their on-base-percentage is 13 points higher (.360 to .347). 


    Aaron Cheesman, Shane Robinson and Ryne Malone are leading the team with three hits each. Cheesman and Robinson are both hitting .375 (3×8) and Malone is hitting .333 (3×9). Brant Peacher is leading the team with a .667 (2×3) batting average against left handed pitchers and Malone is close behind hitting .600 (3×5). Aaron Cheesman is having the most success of any Seminole hitting .500 against righties.


    Gibbs Chapman has been Florida State‘s main source for run production in the two games against Florida this season. Chapman leads the team with three RBIs, all of which came in the most recent meeting between the two schools. In Chapman’s first at bat of the second game he hit a solo homer to right driving in the first of his three RBIs.  Later in the game with runners in scoring position, Chapman one hopped a ball over the center field wall for a two RBI ground rule double. Chapman’s two extra base hits helped to tie him for the team lead in total bases with six.


    The only other Seminole to have six total bases in the series is Ryne Jernigan who is leading the team over the course of the two games with a .750 slugging percentage. Jernigan has just two hits in the series one for a double and the other a home run. Jernigan’s home run was a solo shot in the eighth during the second meeting with Florida. 


    The Seminoles have used eight different pitchers in the two games against Florida. The most successful outing by a Seminole pitcher came from game two starter Bryan Henry who pitched 7 1/3 innings in route to earning his third career win. Henry only allowed two runs on eight hits and two walks while striking out five Gator batters. Tyler Chambliss would eventually come into that same game and pitch a scoreless ninth helping him earn his 11th save of the season.


    The Seminoles’ bullpen absolutely shut down Gator hitters as they combined to pitch 5 2/3 scoreless innings over the course of the two games. During that time span the Seminoles’ bullpen did not allow a walk and held the Gators’ offense to just one base hit for a .063 batting average. Mark Sauls led all relief pitchers with two innings pitched and Matt DiBlasi led all Seminole pitchers with two appearances in the series throwing a combined 1 1/3 innings.



    Over the course of the two games that the Seminoles played in Gainesville in 2004 the current Seminole hitters posted just a .225 batting average. The Seminoles however had several bright spots in the line-up. Danny Wardell hit .600 (3×5) including two of the team’s three doubles. Shane Robinson hit .333 (3×9) including a .600 average against right-handed pitching. Robinson was one of only two players to record a double last season in Gainesville. Three different Seminoles attempt to steal a base but Robinson was the only one who was successful as he swiped FSU’s lone base.


    Despite the low batting average, the current Seminoles still managed to post a combined slugging percentage of .462. Wardell slugged 1.000 and led all current Seminoles. Brant Peacher slugged .800 and Ryne Malone slugged .500 thanks to the only hit each of them had in Gainesville going for a home run.


    Current Seminole hitters only drove in four runs against Florida in Gainesville last year. It was a team effort however as four different hitters (Robinson, Peacher, Malone, and Cheesman) had one RBI a piece.


    Three current Seminole pitchers appeared in the two games in Gainesville in 2004. All three of those pitchers appeared out of the bullpen in a relief role. Tyler Chambliss threw 2 1/3 innings during his one relief appearance and took the loss after two unearned runs crossed the plate.  Chambliss did not allow a hit or a walk in his appearance and he struck out two hitters. Matt DiBlasi made one appearance and pitched 2/3 of a scoreless inning.  Kevin Lynch appeared in both games in Gainesville and had the most success in the first as he pitched one scoreless inning allowing only one hit. Lynch received the loss in his second outing after only pitching 1/3 of an inning and allowing two runs to score.



    Its not like the schedule is going to get any easier for Florida State but it is also hard to argue that Tuesday night’s game with Florida will end the toughest stretch of the season for FSU. Florida State has played seven of its last 10 games versus top five teams and three versus a Virginia squad that was as hot as any in the ACC. Florida State went 4-6 in that stretch, which is a respectable mark considering the competition, especially with the Miami and Georgia Tech series being played on the road. Pitching and defense were the keys for FSU. The Seminoles fielded .987 in that stretch, 23 points better than they fielded the entire season coming into those games. The Seminoles committed just five errors in 262 chances and they now lead the conference in fielding percentage in ACC games. They also out pitched their opponents as well posting a staff ERA of 4.41, which includes the six games against two of the most prolific offenses in the NCAA (Miami and Georgia Tech).



    You really can’t say enough about the performance of Bryan Henry on the hill as of late. His win over Virginia in the first Friday night start of his career was his third victory in 11 days and he became the first FSU pitcher this year to go seven or more innings in three straight appearances. He is also the first Seminole pitcher to throw back-to-back eight inning games in 2005 as he held Virginia to just four hits and one run in Florida State‘s 8-1 win in the series opener. The sophomore is one of three FSU pitchers to win three straight starts this season but none has done it in an 11 day stretch. Henry has been on a tear for the Seminoles and his quick promotion from mid-week bullpen work to Friday night starter didn’t seem to faze the sophomore. He once again exhibited great control as he struck out five batters and issued just one walk in beating his second straight ACC opponent. He and Michael Hyde are the only Seminole pitchers to win back-to-back ACC starts this season. In his last five appearances, Henry has an ERA of just 1.15 in 31 1/3 innings of work. He has struck out 24 batters and issued just five walks. Opponents have hit just .185 against him and most importantly he is 4-0.


    The Seminoles will finish a stretch of 11 games where they played eight top 10 teams Tuesday night against Florida. That doesn’t mean things will get any easier. Florida State will play 13 games in the next 19 days. That stretch is only rivaled by the 14 games FSU played in 19 days leading up to and including the Hawai’i trip. During those 14 games earlier in the season, FSU did not play a conference game or a top 25 team and only five of those games came against a team with a winning record. In the stretch coming up, FSU will play three top 25 teams (No. 6 Florida No. 14 North Carolina and No. 23 NC State) and only four of those 13 games will come against teams that aren’t above .500. The six teams have combined for a 168-105 record. Seven of those games will also be on the road where FSU is just 9-9 on the season.



    There are many ways to judge a pitcher’s success. Some think ERA or won-loss record is the most telling stat. Others say it is opponent batting average and some think walk to strikeout ratio is most important. Most people don’t usually take into account run support though and that can sometimes affect a pitcher’s numbers, at least wins and losses, more than anything else. Proof of that can be seen when you look at the Seminoles top five starters. Bryan Henry, Matt Sauls and Michael Hyde have received the most run support and they are a combined 15-4. Hunter Jones and Barret Browning have received the least run support and they are 7-5. Henry leads the Seminoles getting an average of 5.6 runs per start. Henry is the only FSU starter getting more than five runs per start. Barret Browning has had the least support as the Seminoles score just three runs per game in each of his starts. Browning has received three or fewer runs in nine of his 13 starts this year while Hyde has eight or more runs in five of his 13 starts. If you went purely by averages, it would seem to make sense that Henry is 5-2 and Browning 3-3 but when you look at the median the numbers look a little different. All the pitchers are getting about the same support (3 or 4 runs) as far as the median goes (See chart below). The two pitchers that get the most support as far as the median are Hyde and Jones who are a combined 10-4 and the other three pitchers are 12-6.


    RUN SUPPORT                    Per Start                 Median                  Most Runs            Fewest Runs

    Bryan Henry                         5.6                           3                              13                            1

    Matt Sauls                             4.7                           3                              11                            0

    Michael Hyde                       4.5                           4                              10                            0

    Hunter Jones                        3.6                           4                              7                              0

    Barret Browning                   3.0                           3                              8                              1



    If you blinked you may have missed it, but sophomore Ryne Malone is now second on the team with 38 RBIs, just 16 behind his total from last season when he was a freshman All-American. After the first 34 games of the season, Malone had just 18 RBIs for an average of just under .53 RBIs per game. Since then he has more than doubled that average (1.18) with 20 RBIs in his last 17 games. During this stretch, Malone has eight more RBIs than and four more doubles than anyone else on the team and he also leads the team in batting average (.328), slugging percentage (.688), on base percentage (.457), runs (18), triples (2), total bases (44) and walks (15). He is second on the team in hits (22), home runs (3) and steals (1).   



    With Sunday’s 7-2 series finale victory over Virginia, FSU improved to 24-5 at home winning almost 83% of their home games this season. Florida State has played eight, three-game series at home this season and has won all eight. The Seminoles have swept four of those eight series. They also took a two-game series from Appalachian State (the third game was canceled). FSU is 1-0 at home versus Jacksonville as well with another home game upcoming. The only team FSU played at home that they didn’t beat in the series was Florida where they went 1-1. The biggest difference has been pitching. Most of the hitting categories are pretty similar with the stats slightly slanted towards playing at Mike Martin Field at Dick Howser Stadium. Pitching is another story. The Seminoles are allowing two more runs per game on the road (4.94 ERA versus 2.80) and teams are hitting 26 points higher as well (.260 versus .234). The most amazing comparison comes when you look at extra base hits. In 29 home games FSU pitchers have given up 31 doubles and 10 home runs while in 18 road games they have surrendered 29 doubles and nine home runs. That is an average of 1.07 doubles and .34 homers per game at home versus 1.60 doubles and .50 home runs on the road. One could argue the two best teams the Seminoles have played, as far as rankings go, both came away from home (Georgia Tech and Miami) but FSU pitchers actually held both of those opponents well below their season averages.



                                    AVG       SLG         OB%       H             R             RBI         SB           E

    HOME                    .295         .443         .402         9.70         7.0           6.48         1.79         1.07        

    AWAY                  .283         .416         .388         9.67         6.6           6.33         1.22         1.61



                                    ERA        AVG       SHO        H             R             K             BB           2B           HR

    HOME                    2.80         .234         1              7.76         5.78         7.41         3.62         1.07         .34          

    AWAY                  4.94         .260         0              8.61         5.72         7.61         3.89         1.60         .50



    Even though we are into the final month of the regular season the ACC regular season title and No. 1 seed in the tournament are still very much up for grabs. The Seminoles are currently sitting in fifth place but are only a game behind Clemson for fourth and just three games behind the ACC’s top three teams in the loss column. Georgia Tech, Miami and North Carolina currently occupy the top three spots in the standings and all three have six losses. The Yellow Jackets still have a series with Virginia Tech on the horizon before closing the season at No. 5 Miami. The Hurricanes still have six ACC road games left versus Virginia and fourth-place Clemson and North Carolina not only has to come to Tallahassee but they also still have No. 8 Georgia Tech at home. If Florida State is to make a run at the top of the standings, it won’t be easy going to Maryland and No. 14 UNC on top of hosting newly ranked No. 23 NC State.



    One of the most troubling trends for FSU when it comes to the team’s play at the plate has to be the increase in strikeouts. In the first 40 games of the season, FSU batters only struck out 10 or more times in a game on two occasions. In the last 11 games that has happened five times. FSU has struck out 11 times in three consecutive games, a season high at that point, and then set a new season high in game two versus Virginia with 13. The Seminoles are averaging almost 9 ½ K’s per game in the last 11 games compared to 6 1/3 in the first 40 games of the year. In those first 40 games, Florida State struck out eight or more times on 11 occasions and they have now done that nine times in just the last 11 games. That has caused a steady dip in the team’s batting average as well, which was as high as .311 a month ago and now sits at .291. The Seminoles hit .300 or above in nine of the first 12 series of the year and have hit .266 or less in the last five series including a low of .227 versus Virginia this past weekend.



    One area where the Seminoles have seen improvement is on Sundays. After sweeping Virginia Tech, FSU lost four straight series finales on Sunday (Duke, Clemson, Wake Forest and Georgia Tech). The Seminoles headed into the Miami series 6-4 on Sunday’s overall and just 1-4 in the final game of an ACC series. Florida State has started to turn that around winning the final game of both the Miami and Virginia series in back-to-back weeks. The Seminoles may have lost a game to the Cavaliers on Sunday but coming back to win the series finale improved FSU to 3-4 in conference series finales.



    One of the reasons Tyler Chambliss is up for Stopper of the Year and is among the nation’s leaders in saves is extra base hits. The sophomore stopper has not allowed anything but singles in 33 2/3 innings this season. Opponents have 115 at bats versus the FSU closer and just 20 singles to show for it. In fact, no FSU pitcher has surrendered a triple so far this season. Five of FSU’s eight top pitchers (minimum of 23 innings pitched) have allowed fewer than 10 extra base hits total and one has allowed just 11.


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