‘Battle of the Birds': Eagles to Host Hurricanes at Hammond Stadium on April 14
Monday, April 05, 2010

FORT MYERS, Fla. – Battle of the Birds tickets are on sale now. Reserve your seat as the FGCU baseball team will face the No. 15 Miami Hurricanes on Wednesday, April 14 at Hammond Stadium in the ‘Battle of the Birds’. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.

Date: Wednesday, April 14
Location: Fort Myers, Fla.
Game Time: 6:30 pm
Live Audio: ESPN 770 and 770ESPN.com
Stadium: Hammond Stadium
Opponent: University of Miami

The Eagles, who recently took two in a three-game set with Mercer, are 17-10 overall (9-3 A-Sun). FGCU features two of the top pitchers in the Atlantic Sun Conference in Chris Sale (Lakeland, Fla.) and Riche Erath (West Palm Beach, Fla.). The pair has allowed only 18 earned runs in 90.2 innings pitched this season with a combined record of 8-1. Sale, the A-Sun Preseason Pitcher of the Year and reigning A-Sun Pitcher of the Week, leads the conference in ERA (1.29) and strikeouts (61). The junior left-hander averages 1.45 strikeouts per inning and as of March 28 he ranked 12th in the nation in strikeouts per nine innings (12.44).

FGCU holds a .348 team batting average through 27 games, which ranks them ninth in the nation, with eight players hitting above .337. The team is led by A-Sun Preseason Player of the Year Zach Maxfield’s (North Port, Fla.) .417 average with 28 RBI, 22 runs scored, and four home runs.

Miami is currently 20-7 overall this season (10-2 ACC) and have won 10 of their last 12 games. As a team the Hurricanes are hitting .300  and have four regulars hitting .300 or better. Miami is led by Yasmani Grandal’s .388 batting average and Harold Martinez leads the team with eight homers and 28 RBI. Miami’s pitching staff has an ERA of 3.61, led by Chris Hernandez's (4-2 record) 2.45 ERA and team-leading 46 strikeouts.

The contest with the Hurricanes marks the second consecutive season that the Eagles have hosted a BCS conference opponent in a Hammond Stadium event. In last year’s “Slammin’ at Hammond” event, the Eagles fell to the then #22 ranked Florida Gators, 12-3. The contest was played in front of 5,147 spectators, the largest single-game “home” event in FGCU Athletics history. A few weeks later the Eagles extracted revenge with a 17-5 victory over the then #9 ranked Gators on their home diamond up in Gainesville.

Hammond Stadium is a baseball venue located in the Lee County Sports Complex. The stadium was built in 1991 and holds 7,500 fans. It is the Spring Training home of the Minnesota Twins, and houses the Fort Myers Miracle, their Class A Advanced affiliate in the Florida State League.

“We are extremely happy to host the Miami Hurricanes at Hammond Stadium. Last year’s event against the Florida Gators was a tremendous success for our program and our team very much appreciated the support shown by our community,” said FGCU head coach Dave Tollett. “We hope to continue to bring national caliber programs to Southwest Florida. The team is really looking forward to another terrific turnout at this year’s Hammond Stadium contest!”

First Financial Employee Leasing will, once again, serve as the title sponsor for the Hammond Stadium event. First Financial’s CEO Bruce Smith, an alumnus of Miami, has been a long-time Charlotte County friend of Coach Tollett and a strong supporter of FGCU Athletics.

Reserved seating for the event will be $9.00 and general admission will be $6.00. FGCU students and Eagles Club members, who have All-Sports Passes, will receive a complimentary ticket for admission.

To purchase tickets, you can contact the FGCU Ticket Office at 239-590-7145, visit the FGCU Ticket Office at Alico Arena, or log on to FGCUAthletics.com

If you are interested in purchasing a large group of tickets (10 or more), contact Matt Collver, FGCU Director of Ticket Operations, by phone at (239) 590-7145 or by email at mcollver@fgcu.edu regarding group rates and for seating availability.

Directions to Hammond Stadium

From the South
Via I-75: Take I-75 to exit 131 (Daniels Parkway). Turn left (west) on Daniels Parkway to Six Mile Cypress Parkway. Make a left on Six Mile Cypress Parkway. Hammond Stadium is ahead on the right.

Via US-41: Travel North on US-41 to Six Mile Cypress Parkway. Turn right onto Six Mile Cypress Parkway. Ballpark will be ahead on your left.

From the North
Via I-75: Take I-75 to exit 136 (Colonial Blvd). Turn right (west) on Colonial to Six Mile Cypress Parkway. Make a left on Six Mile Cypress Parkway. Hammond Stadium is ahead on the right.

Via US-41: Travel South on US-41 to Daniels Parkway. Turn left onto Daniels Parkway. After a few miles, turn right onto Six Mile Cypress Parkway, ballpark will be on the right. From the Beaches Take Summerlin Road to Gladiolus Drive. Turn right onto Gladiolus Drive and cross US-41. Once you've crossed US-41, it becomes Six Mile Cypress Pkwy. Ballpark will be ahead on your left.