Feb. 19, 2006
Tallahassee, FL - The last time UNC Asheville came to Mike Martin Field at Dick Howser Stadium in 2004, the Bulldogs took the first game of the three game set snapping an 11-game FSU win streak in the series. This season the Seminoles were able to complete the sweep thanks to an 8-2 win in Sunday's series finale. In the three games, FSU outscored Asheville 27-3 and out homered the Bulldogs 6-0. Barret Browning (1-0) picked up the win Sunday as the Seminoles (7-1) won their fourth straight game dropping Asheville to 1-3 on the season.
For the series FSU out hit Asheville .363 to .177 and recorded 17 extra base hits to just three. The Seminoles out slugged the Bulldogs .647 to .208 and stole eight bases compared to just one. The six homers hit by FSU batters were the most in a regular season series since May of 2004 when FSU hit eight versus Wake Forest.
The FSU pitching staff dominated the match-up as well. Seminole pitchers posted a 1.00 ERA in the series and struck out 31 batters while issuing just five walks. Asheville left town with an 8.25 ERA, 15 strikeouts and 11 walks.
Browning started the game for FSU and lasted five innings in picking up the win. He gave up eight hits, two runs, struck out two and walked two. It was his first win since May 7, 2005 versus Maryland.
"He (Browning) didn't have a great outing but he had a good outing," said FSU Head Coach Mike Martin. "I thought he pitched fairly well. He had trouble locating his fastball away but still did a good job of getting us in the dugout."
While no reliever picked up a save the Seminole bullpen was once a gain key in the victory. Three FSU relievers combined to pitch four innings and give up just one hit. Michael Hyde, Brent Marsh and Travis Burge combined to strike out five batters and issue just one walk.
"That is what our program is about," said Martin when asked about the performance of his pen. "We are not going to get nine innings out of our starters. We are after six and then go get somebody and I was very pleased we were able to do that today."
No pitcher was bigger out of the bullpen today then Hyde. The junior came into the game with no outs and runners on first and third in a 5-2 game. The Tallahassee native struck out the side conjuring up images of Kevin Lynch's heroics with runners on base and no outs in an inning.
"The adrenaline is probably pumping a little more when you go into those situations," said Hyde. "Kevin was probably the best in that situation that I have ever seen. I don't know if the adrenaline makes you more effective but it is definitely pumping more than usual. You just want to get out of there the best you can."
"He (Hyde) pitched very well and came out there and gave us a big lift by getting those three strikeouts," said Martin. "We didn't expect that. We were just hoping to get in with one run. He really did a great job. It was a big lift."
Hyde started 17 games for FSU in 2005 but has been coming out of the bullpen so far in 2006. With mid-week play starting in a few weeks, Hyde made a case for himself to get back into a starting role somewhere down the line.
"I hope to start again but I am just happy to get in there whenever I can," said Hyde. "Whatever role I am in, I am just happy to get a chance to throw the ball. It is a privilege to play whenever I am called upon."
Offensively the Seminoles recorded double digit hits once again as they knocked out 12 or more hits for the third time this weekend. Josh Spivey had the best day at the pate going 3-for-4 with three RBIs and coming up just a triple shy of the cycle. Shane Robinson went 2-for-4 as did Jack Rye. Ryne Malone, Buster Posey and Dennis Guinn all recorded RBIs as seven Seminoles had a hit in the game.
"It is even easier to hit when you are surrounded by a club like we have right now when they are hot," said Spivey. "We have a lot of quality baseball players and a lot of quality hitters. That makes it easier as an individual on this team to go up there and succeed."
After Browning needed just seven pitches in the top of the first, Robinson almost took Asheville starter Ben Buchanan's (0-1) first offering over the wall in left field. The shot hit just below the yellow line for the All-American's team leading fourth double of the year. Rye followed with a single to put runners on the corners. Malone then knocked a double down the right field line putting runners on second and third and brining Robinson home. Posey then drove in another run on a single to left center but was thrown out trying to stretch the hit into a double. Spivey drove in the third run on the Seminoles' third double of the inning extending the lead to 3-0.
Asheville cut into the Seminole lead in the top of the second. Two singles, a walk and a stolen base made it a 3-1 game before Browning got out of the inning.
The Bulldogs struck again in the third inning as a Nathan Durham doubled with runners on first and second once again cutting the FSU lead making it a 3-2 game.
For the sixth time in the series Florida State used the long ball to put distance between themselves and the Bulldogs. This time it was Spivey who went yard as he sent a towering shot over the fence in right field bringing home Guinn and putting FSU's lead back at three runs at 5-2.
"It was a pretty good pitch to hit," said Spivey. "I tried to be patient. It was a nice fastball. I was focusing on centering it up and when you do things like that it just happens."
In the top of the sixth a double and a single by Asheville put the Bulldogs back in business and knocked Browning out of the game. He was replaced by Hyde with no outs and two on. The junior came in and struck out the side to end the top of the sixth.
Back-to-back doubles by Posey and Guinn helped FSU build on its lead in the seventh as the margin grew to 6-2. An error cost the Bulldogs two more runs as a throw past the bag at first allowed Guinn and Thomas to come around for the final runs of the game.
Florida State returns to action next weekend when Minnesota comes to town for a three game series. Game times are set for 6:00 pm, 1:00 pm and 1:00 pm. This will be the first meeting between the Seminoles and Gophers since 2004 in Minneapolis. The last time Minnesota played in Tallahassee was 1996. FSU swept that three game series. Game Tracker will be available for all the contests along with a live radio broadcasts available on WFLA locally and on the Internet at seminoles.com.