FORT MYERS, Fla. - No. 30 FGCU will hit the road for the second A-Sun Conference road trip of the season. The defending A-Sun Champions will head to DeLand, Fla. for a three-game weekend series with the Stetson Hatters in the A-Sun Series of the Week. The schools will play one game on Friday and a doubleheader on Saturday.
The opening contest, which is scheduled for a 6:30 p.m. start on Friday, will see FGCU’s Preseason Pitcher of the Year, Chris Sale (Lakeland, Fla.) take the mound in his fifth start of the year. The top pitching prospect in the Cape Cod League last summer is currently projected by Baseball America as the eighth pick in this June's draft. The junior is 1-0 on the year with a 2.00 ERA, a team-high 26 strikeouts, and a team-low four walks in 18 innings pitched.
Junior Richie Erath (West Palm Beach, Fla.) and senior Pete Woodworth (St. Petersburg, Fla.) will split duties in the Saturday doubleheader. Erath leads the team with in ERA (1.50) and innings pitched (24.0), to go along with 24 strikeouts in his four appearances. Woodworth has recorded 14 strikeouts in 19 innings pitched with an opponent batting average of .200. Combined, the Saturday duo is 7-0 (Erath 3-0, Woodworth 4-0) on the season.
Through 15 games this season, FGCU has a team batting average of .361, with eight regulars hitting .325 or higher. The Eagles have been explosive offensively, ranking in the Top 10 nationally with five players slugging over .560. Mikel Alvarez (West Palm Beach, Fla.) leads the FGCU offense with a .422 batting average and 19 RBIs. Reigning A-Sun Player of the Week Tim Roberson (West Palm Beach, Fla.) and conference Preseason Player of the Year Zach Maxfield (North Port, Fla.) have each posted 18 RBIs and slugging percentages over .615. The Blue and Green have outscored their opponents 150-88 thus far and have a pitching staff that has accumulated 143 strikeouts against 51 walks.
The Hatters, under the direction of head coach Pete Dunn, return seven starters and 19 lettermen from a team that went 27-30 overall and 16-14 in conference a season ago. Stetson is hitting .317 as a team and is currently 8-10 overall (0-0 A-Sun) on the season. The Hatters have six players hitting .333 or better and are led by junior outfielder Jeff Simpson, who has started every game and is hitting .444 with a .563 on-base percentage. Aaron Crittenden ranks as Stetson’s leader in RBIs and stands as the Atlantic Sun’s active leader in runs batted in.
Following the opening contest on Friday, March 19 (6:30 p.m.), the Eagles and Spartans meet again on Saturday for an afternoon doubleheader. Game one is scheduled for an opening pitch at 1 p.m. and game two will begin at approximately 4 p.m.
FGCU-USC Upstate Series Information
Streaming Video: ASun.TV
Live Stats: www.GoHatters.com
Series: FGCU leads 4-2
Last Meeting: 5/16/09 FGCU 12, Stetson 2 at Swanson Stadium
Probable Pitching Matchups Fri., March 19
Stetson: Jacob de Grom, Jr., LHP, 0-0, 3.38 vs. FGCU: Chris Sale, Jr., LHP, 1-0, 2.00
Sat., March 20 (Game 1)
Stetson: Lindsey Caughel, So., RHP, 1-2, 8.18 vs. FGCU: Richie Erath, Jr., RHP, 3-0, 1.50
Sat., March 20 (Game 2)
Stetson: Kyle Maulbetsch Sr., RHP, 2-2, 3.22 vs. FGCU: Pete Woodworth, Sr., RHP, 4-0, 2.84