Baseball Heads Back to Miami for Second Straight Week
FORT MYERS, Fla. – The FGCU baseball team will make the trip across Alligator Alley for the second time in as many weeks to face the Miami Hurricanes at Alex Rodriguez Park in Coral Gables, Fla. on Tuesday. The contest is scheduled for a 6 p.m. opening pitch.
This will be the second of three contests between the schools this season, as the ‘Canes will travel to Fort Myers on April 6 for the Battle of the Birds at Hammond Stadium at 7 p.m.
The Eagles enter the mid-week meeting with a 13-12 (7-5 A-Sun) record. FGCU dropped a contest with the Hurricanes last Wednesday, 5-2, in Coral Gables. Returning to Swanson Stadium for a three-game Atlantic Sun conference set with USC Upstate over the weekend, the Blue and Green went 1-2 in the series with the Spartans.
Taking the mound for the Eagles on Tuesday, freshman Brandon Bixler (Oviedo, Fla./Hagerty HS) will make is fifth collegiate start. Through his six appearances this season, the newcomer has recorded 14 strikeouts and held opponents below .300 in his 11.1 innings of work.
At the plate, three Eagles are above the .300 mark through the first 25 games of the year. Senior Zach Maxfield (North Port, Fla./North Port HS/Pasco-Hernando CC) continues to produce at the dish, sporting team-highs with a .366 average, 29 RBI, five home runs, 10 doubles, a .614 slugging percentage and a .455 on-base percentage. Following a strong weekend, freshman Brandon Bednar (Stuart, Fla./South Fork HS) moved his average to .329, and junior Javi Sujo (Miami, Fla./Miami Sunset HS/Middle Georgia College) holds a .319 mark.
On the rubber, UM will use sophomore left-hander Steven Ewing (2-1, 2.48 ERA). The winner of his last two starts against Florida Atlantic (March 15) and UCF (March 22), Ewing has retired 35 batters in 29 innings on the mound this season.
Miami is led by five batters hitting above the .250 mark, with junior Nathan Melendres leading the team with a .286 average. Junior Zeke DeVoss holds a .270 average with team-bests in steals (15), hits (24) and five doubles.
The Hurricanes own a 5-0 record all-time against FGCU in a series that goes back to 2008. Four of the five games have taken place at Alex Rodriguez Park, with the other occurring at Hammond Stadium (April 14) in 2010.
In last Wednesday’s meeting between the teams, the Eagles jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the third on a two-run double by Tim Roberson (West Palm Beach, Fla./Palm Beach Central HS). However, Miami used five unanswered runs to erase the 2-0 deficit and come away with a 5-2 victory.
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