FSU and UF square off for 203rd time tonight

Seminoles are looking to remain undefeated when they travel to Gainesville for a showdown with thier in-state rival.

NOTING THE SEMINOLES

Florida State begins a season 9-0 for just the third time in 28 seasons under head coach Mike Martin and for the seventh time overall.

Florida State outscored Hofstra 37-5 last weekend as the Seminoles pounded out 53 hits compiling a weekend batting average of .449. Through the first nine games, the Seminoles are hitting .420 with 145 hits in 345 at-bats. FSU has also scored 113 runs, an average of 12.6 runs per game.

Of the 113 Seminole hits registered in 2007, 41 have gone for extra base hits including 35 doubles, three triples and three home runs. Junior Jack Rye has hit two of the three Seminole home runs on the year.

Mike Martin tied former Virginia Tech and High Point head coach Chuck Hartman for fifth place on the NCAA all-time career wins list winning number 1,444 against Hofstra on Sunday. Since Mike Martin took over the reigns as head coach in 1980, the Seminoles have opened a season sweeping the first two, three-game series six times. This year Florida State has taken the first two series defeating Tennessee and UNC Asheville.

Florida State will chase its 29th consecutive NCAA Regional appearance this season.

The Seminoles played in the program's 28th consecutive NCAA Tournament last season.

Of the 35 players on Florida State's 2007 roster, 31 have two years experience or less as Seminoles.

The 2007 roster features just two players that were on the team when FSU last won an ACC Championship in 2004.

The only Seminole who has played in each of the last three seasons is relief pitcher Brian Chambers. Chambers has made four relief appearances this season pitching 4.2 innings allowing just one earned run on three hits, while striking out five.

The last time FSU began a season with just one fourth-year senior on the roster was 2004. Eight teams that played in the 2006 NCAA Baseball Tournament are on the Seminoles' schedule in 2007.

Half of the 2006 College World Series field was made up of ACC teams and FSU will play weekend series with all four of those squads. Players who accounted for 47 of FSU's 69 homeruns in 2006 are back this year.

Florida State has hit 55 or more homers for 12 straight seasons.

For the fourth time in the last five seasons, the Seminoles fielded .964 or better. Through the first nine games of 2007, Florida State has posted a fielding percentage of .969 committing 11 errors in 354 total chances.

The 2005 and 2006 squads rank as two of the top five best defensive teams in FSU history. Bryan Henry has a chance to become the first three-time All-ACC first team selection in school history.

The Seminoles lost pitchers that accounted for 23 of the team's 44 wins in 2006.

Seven of Florida State's top nine pitchers as far as ERA are back in 2007.

A QUICK LOOK AT THE FLORIDA GAME

In this the 203rd meeting between these intra-state rivals, Florida State travels to Florida for its first road game of the 2007 season. The Seminoles lead the all-time series 111-90-1, while the Gators hold a 49-42 advantage on their home turf. This is the first of three games between the two squads as each school will host a game while the third contest will be played at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville in Jacksonville, Fla., home of the minor league Jacksonville Suns and the 2007 ACC Baseball Tournament. Last year, the two schools exchanged wins on the opposing team's home field with Florida State winning in Gainesville 6-4 and Florida winning in Tallahassee 8-3. Four of the last five games in the series have been played at Alfred McKethan Stadium including the 2005 NCAA Super Regional won by the Gators, two games to none. Tuesday's game will be aired live on SunSports, while fans can follow all the action over the Internet. Gametracker will be available for the contest along with live radio broadcast courtesy of 1270 the TEAM.

THE PROBABLE STARTER

TUESDAY: Sophomore Bo O'Dell (1-0) will make his second start of the season looking to build off his first start two weeks ago against UNC Asheville. Against the Bulldogs, O'Dell worked four shutout innings allowing just two hits while striking out four. He earned the win as a result of a controlled start declared before the start of the game. O'Dell didn't allow a hit until the top of the fourth as the sophomore right hander retired the first four batters that he faced including a one, two, three first inning as the Seminoles rolled to the 15-1 victory. The Kissimmee, Fla., native has appeared in three games this season and has yet to yield a run in six innings of work. He has held opponents to a .217 batting average and has struck out nine, while giving up just walks. As a freshman in 2006, O'Dell went 4-2 with a 2.53 ERA at Seminole Community College. He combined on three shutouts and recorded a save, while ranking second on the team with 57 innings pitched. He finished the season with 42 strikeouts, 28 walks and opponents hitting .242 against him.

AGAINST THE GATORS

Of the Seminoles on the 2007 roster, only Jack Rye, Josh Spivey and Tony Thomas, Jr., have seen the most playing time against Florida as the three have played in all seven games the past two seasons. Thomas has garnered a .261 (6-for-23) batting average with two home runs, a triple, seven runs and four RBI's. Last year, Thomas went 3-for-8 with a home run and three RBI's. Rye has hit .227 in seven games against the Gators posting a pair of doubles and two RBI's. A season ago Dennis Guinn hit .333 in two starts with three hits in nine at-bats. He hit a home run, a double and scored twice.

Defensively, seven pitchers on the current roster have made an appearance against Florida including two starts by Bryan Henry (both in 2005) and a start by Michael Hyde (2006). Brian Chambers, Trent Jarvis, Caleb Graham, Luke Tucker and Travis Burge have all made relief appearances. Graham pitched four innings in relief allowing no runs on just one hit while striking out three. Chambers has also pitched well against the Gators in two relief appearances back in 2005. Chambers threw two scoreless innings of one hit ball, striking out two.

HALLBERG HONORED

In the series finale against Tennessee, junior shortstop Mark Hallberg was honored in the top of the second inning by the NCAA as the nation's toughest batter to strikeout last season. Before transferring to Florida State from Illinois-Chicago, Hallberg was retired just six times on strikes all season in 217 at-bats, an average of one strikeout per 36 at-bats. The Wisconsin native was an all-conference first team selection with the Flames last year where he batted .373 and hit over .400 in league play. He was the only UIC player to start all 55 games a season ago.

DOUBLE H

The one, two punch of Henry and Hyde worked to perfection in the first two games of the series opener against Tennessee as the two senior right-handers were a major reason for the Seminoles sweeping the Volunteers. The two Tallahassee, Fla., natives combined to throw 12.1 innings of shutout baseball allowing just six hits, two for extra bases, two walks and one hit by pitch while striking out 21. It was the first time in the last two seasons that two Seminole pitchers threw double-digit strikeouts in back-to-back games. The 11 strikeouts by Henry were one shy of his career-high set last year against Duke, while Hyde matched his previous career-high of seven by the end of the fourth-inning. He would finish the game with 10. Henry and Hyde have started a combined 63 games over the last three years with the Seminoles winning 76.2 percent of those contests (48-15).

LIMITING THE ERRORS

Although Florida State's streak of 36 consecutive innings without committing an error came to an end in the first inning in game two against UNC Asheville, the defense has still been something to brag about. Through the first nine games of 2007, FSU has posted a fielding percentage of .969 committing 11 errors in 354 total chances. The Seminoles played error free ball in the first series of the season against Tennessee posting a perfect fielding percentage in 110 chances. The 2005 and 2006 squads rank as two of the top five best defensive teams in FSU history posting a .967 fielding percentage in each of the last two years.

WHO NEEDS THE LONG BALL?

Florida State has scored 113 runs on 145 hits through the first nine games of the 2007 season, good for an overall team batting average of .420. Of the 145 hits registered by the Seminole hitters, 41 have gone for extra bases including three triples and three home runs. Florida State doubled their season totals in triples and home runs last week against Hofstra hitting a pair a piece. Junior Jack Rye has two of the three home runs, while Tony Thomas, Jr. hit the other. Ironically enough all three home runs have been three-run shots. First-year Seminole Mark Hallberg has two of the three triples, while freshman D'Vontrey Richardson collected his first three bagger of the season against the Pride this past weekend. Thomas is the team leader in doubles with nine.

RUNS A-PLENTY

The Seminoles have scored 113 runs through the first nine games of the season an average of 12.6 runs per game. That run production through the first nine games is the third highest total to start a season in the 60 years of Seminoles baseball.

FROM CATCHER TO PITCHER

Sophomore Buster Posey made his much anticipated pitching debut at Florida State in the third game of the series against UNC Asheville. Posey went from behind the plate to the mound in the top of the fifth and pitched a scoreless inning. The Leesburg, Ga., native induced a pair of groundball outs including an inning ending 6-4-3 double play.

FAST STARTS

Starting a season undefeated in nothing new to the Seminole Baseball program. In fact, Florida State has started a season with at least a 9-0 record seven times in the program's 60-year history. This is just the third time under head coach Mike Martin that FSU has started 9-0. The Garnet and Gold had its best-ever start under the legendary coach in 1985 when the team started 12-0.

FSU All-Time Best Starts:

1) 1975: 15-0
2) 1972, 1985: 12-0
3) 1956, 1999: 11-0
4) 1971: 10-0
5) 2007: 9-0

RUNS IN BUNCHES

Sure the Seminoles have scored 113 runs through the first nine games of the season, the third highest nine-game total to start a season in school history, but what's impressive is how they are scoring those runs. The Seminoles have posted multiple runs in 28 innings this season and have scored at least one run in 37 of the 72 innings they have played.

DOUBLE DIGIT RUNS & HITS

The Seminoles have been hot at the plate through the first nine games of the 2007 season. So hot that they have scored double digit runs in seven straight games. In the 60-year history of Seminole baseball, Florida State has registered double-digit runs in seven consecutive games just four times, once in 1986, twice in 1997 and once in 2003.

FSU has also posted double digit hits in eight of its first nine games including a current streak of seven straight. Since 1996, the Seminoles have had a streak of seven or more double digit hit games 11 times. The longest streak of consecutive double digit hit games is 10 posted back in 2003. The last time FSU put together a string of seven straight double digit hit games was last year in games 12-19.

EARLY NOLE GETS THE "W"

Florida State has managed to strike early in its first nine games outscoring the opposition 53-5 in the first three innings. The Seminoles have already managed to score double-digit runs in the first (11), second (21), third (21), fourth (11), fifth (12) and sixth (20) innings. Florida State has scored in every inning that they have seen an at-bat this season, excluding the ninth.

ONE MORE FOR FIFTH PLACE ALL-TIME

With Florida State's three-game sweep over Hofstra this past weekend, head coach Mike Martin moved into a tie for fifth place on the NCAA all-time wins list with 1,444. Martin is currently tied with former High Point and Virginia Tech head coach Chuck Hartman, who retired after last season. With a win over Florida on Tuesday, Martin will take over sole possession of fifth place with 1,445 victories.

HOT STARTS

Tony Thomas, Jr. and Jason Stidham have gotten off to a fabulous start to the 2007 season. Both carry a nine game hitting streak into Tuesday's mid-week contest against Florida in Gainesville. The two rank in the top four on the team in batting average, hits and slugging percentage. They have also combined to hit 17 of the 35 doubles this season.

Thomas continues to lead the team in batting average hitting .533. He has posted 21 hits in 38 at-bats and has scored a team-high 19 runs. The junior second baseman also surpassed his doubles output from a season ago (8) with his ninth double of the season in the series finale against Hofstra. He already has seven multiple hit games and set a career-high with four hits in the series finale against Tennessee. Thomas is also a perfect 6-for-6 in the stolen base category.

As a freshman, Stidham has started all nine games at third base and has been productive both at the plate and out on the field. He is currently hitting .486 (17-for-35) on the season, scoring 11 runs and driving in 10. Stidham earned Freshman of the Week accolades by Rivals.com for his performance against Tennessee.

REICHERT ON A ROLL

After starting the season 0-for-6, first baseman Brandon Reichert made a few adjustments at the plate and hasn't looked back collecting 14 hits in his last 23 at bats. The senior transfer from Mercer rides a seven-game hitting streak into Tuesday's game against Florida and has recorded multi-hits in six of those last seven games. Reichert is hitting .483 on the season with eight runs scored and four RBI's. Reichert reached base safely in his first five plate appearances against Hofstra on four singles and a walk.

ACC PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Tony Thomas, Jr., was honored by the league office on Monday, February 12 as the season's first Atlantic Coast Conference Baseball Player of the Week.

Thomas went went 8-for-11 (.727), posting an on-base percentage of .800 and a slugging percentage of 1.000 in Florida State's three-game sweep of UNC Asheville. Thomas reached base safely in five of six at-bats in game one going 2-for-4 with a single, a double, two walks and three runs scored. The offensive production continued for Thomas on Saturday as he went 3-for-4 with three singles, a hit-by-pitch and a stolen base. In the series finale against the Bulldogs, Thomas went to the plate in each of the first four innings recording a bunt single in the first, back-to-back doubles in the second and third innings and a walk in the fourth. The junior second baseman also stole a pair of bases to remain perfect on the season in five attempts. Thomas also got a hit in the first inning of each game this past weekend recording a double and two singles. He scored in the first inning in all three games.

NATIONAL RECOGINITION

Senior right hander Bryan Henry was named a Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week on Monday, February 5, 2007 for his performance on opening day against Tennessee. The Tallahassee, Fla., native struck out 11 batters in six innings of work as the Seminoles beat the Volunteers, 9-2. The 11 strikeouts were one shy of his career-high set last year against Duke. Henry fanned eight of the first 10 batters he faced, while striking out the side in the first and third innings.

Jason Stidham hit .500 going 5-for-10 at the plate with a pair of doubles. He scored two runs, drove in a pair and walked once in his debut with the Garnet and Gold. In his first collegiate at-bat, hitting in the number two hole, Stidham drilled a double to right. In game two against Tennessee, Stidham went 2-for-4 for the second straight game driving in a pair of runs as the Seminoles went on to shutout the Volunteers 4-0. In the series finale, the Palm Bay, Fla., native went 1-for-2 with a single, a walk and a run scored as Florida State swept the series from Tennessee with a 19-7 victory. The freshman third baseman was also perfect in the field converting on all four opportunities.

ACC PRESEASON POLL

Florida State was picked to finish second in the Atlantic Division behind 2006 College World Series team Clemson in the 2007 ACC Coaches Pre-Season Poll. FSU received one first place vote and had the fourth-most total votes from the conference coaches. While Clemson was the runaway winner for overall votes and as the predicted ACC Champion, Florida State, Miami and North Carolina were all bunched very close together for the 2-4 spots. The Tar Heels barely edged the Hurricanes as the predicted winner of the Coastal Division. Four schools received first place votes in the Coastal where three teams advanced to the 2006 CWS including UNC, which was the National Champion runner-up. The Seminoles were selected as a solid second place team in the Atlantic with 55 points trailing Clemson's 71. NC State (48) was predicted to finish third followed by Wake Forest (40), Boston College (20) and Maryland (18).

EARLY HONOREES

The preseason honors have been rolling in for Florida State players, specifically two-time All-ACC first team selection Bryan Henry and bullpen ace Luke Tucker. Henry and Tucker were both named to the Roger Clemens Award watch list and NCBWA Preseason All-America list. The aces of FSU's staff, Henry as a starter and Tucker out of the pen, were also pegged on the Rivals and SEBaseball preseason All-ACC teams. Dennis Guinn opens 2007 on the watch list for the Brooks Wallace Award. The junior from Haines City, FL burst on to the college baseball scene in 2006 with a breakout season in his first campaign as a starter. Jack Rye joins Henry as the only Seminoles to be named a preseason All-ACC Team selection by both Rivals and SEBaseball. Tucker was named a second team All-ACC preseason selection by SEBaseball. Buster Posey was named first team preseason All-ACC by SEBaseball at catcher, a position he has never played at the collegiate level. SEBaseball also named UIC transfer Mark Hallberg as the second-best newcomer in the ACC this season.

TOP 10 IN THE LAST 10

Florida State's position among the nation's elite baseball programs is secure. The Seminole baseball program has the second-highest all-time winning percentage, is second in average wins per season, second in consecutive NCAA Regionals and has more wins than any school since 2000. Since 1990 FSU has more 50-win seasons than any school and more Top 10 finishes in the Collegiate Baseball poll. The Seminoles have been ranked by that organization for the past 315 polls. Since 1990 only two schools have been to more College World Series and only two have a higher winning percentage as well. FSU's baseball history is glorious but that just doesn't take into account the past 59 years. In the January 29th issue of Baseball America magazine, FSU was rated the seventh-best program in the nation over the past 10 years. The magazine compiled the top 64 teams since the NCAA moved to a 64 team postseason in 1996. The Seminoles finished ahead of all the original members of the ACC in the rankings and only two southern schools rated better according to the magazine's formula.

ACC'S BEST FACILITY

Florida State players were not the only ones being honored this preseason. In SEBaseball's 2007 ACC Preview, Dick Howser Stadium was named the best facility in the conference. The home of the Seminoles finished ahead of Georgia Tech and Virginia's facilities. The facility recently underwent a $12 million renovation and there have been new upgrades each year since the project was completed in 2004. Located on the campus of Florida State University, the stadium has provided over two million fans with the feeling of having "the best seat in the house" to watch the finest in college baseball action. Florida State's players and coaches enjoy the convenience and luxury of a clubhouse and locker room currently located behind the Seminole dugout. The Griffin Family Clubhouse was moved to the first base side for the 2004 season as the construction process was completed. The main locker room was described by former Seminole and 2004 World Series Champion Doug Mientkiewicz as being ‘better than 95% of the big league clubhouses' he has seen. The locker room contains a personalized wooden locker for each player, a separate locker room for the Seminole coaches and trainers, and a video area where FSU players and coaches can watch film. The stadium also houses all of the baseball offices. The coaches' offices look over the stadium behind home plate. There is also a weight room and training area adjacent to the clubhouse. Each of the areas were expanded and improved during the renovation process.

ABCA HALL OF FAME

Legendary Florida State baseball coach Mike Martin has been honored in almost every way imaginable in his 28-year career as the FSU baseball head coach. He is a 10-time conference coach of the year. He has led his FSU teams to 28 consecutive NCAA Regionals, coached in 12 College World Series and won 15 conference championships. Hundreds of his players have won all-conference and All-American honors and 13 have been first round draft picks. As proud as he is of all those accomplishments, his induction into the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in January of 2007 may have topped them all. Martin was enshrined in the ABCA/Louisville Slugger Hall of Fame at the annual convention held this year in Orlando. The Seminole coach was one of nine men enshrined in the hall this year. Martin was joined by his family and friends at the induction ceremony.

"It was a very humbling experience," said Martin of his enshrinement. "I was overwhelmed with joy. I got a chance to see people I haven't seen in a long time. It was very exciting. Rod Delmonico from Tennessee was there. I saw Duane Banks from Iowa who is a retired coach. It makes you reflect on so many things. This job has been an unbelievable blessing for me and my family. It has to do with the relationships I have accumulated over the years and it seems all are in the area of baseball."

HIGH EXPECTATIONS

With the move of 2006 Freshman All-American Buster Posey from shortstop to catcher, there was a big void in the middle of the Seminole infield. Along came Mark Hallberg. The Illinois-Chicago transfer has opened a lot of eyes around Mike Martin Field but also in the national media as well. Baseball America rated Hallberg No. 15 on its list of America's top 25 transfers. Hallberg is rated the third-best player to transfer to an ACC school. Hallberg was the hardest player in America to strikeout last season as he fanned just six times in 217 at bats. In his career, Hallberg struck out just 18 times in 467 at bats. He was named a Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American in 2005 and chose to transfer to Florida State over LSU this past fall.


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