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Eagles To Battle No. 2 Gators on Wednesday
FORT MYERS, Fla. – The Florida Gulf Coast University baseball team, fresh off a series win over conference foe Stetson, will travel to Gainesville to face No. 2 Florida on Wednesday night at McKethan Stadium. The game is scheduled for a 6:30 p.m. start and will be carried live on GatorVision Online.
Date: Wednesday, March 24th, 2010
Location: Gainesville, Fla.
Game Time: 6:30 p.m.
Stadium: McKethan Stadium Opponent: Florida Gators
Junior Patrick Nathanson (Maitland, Fla.) will be on the hill for the Eagles for his fifth start and sixth appearance. The lefty has given up 26 hits over 23.0 innings, with 25 K and 13 walks. Sophomore Anthony DeSclafani will be making his team-leading fifth start of the year for the Gators. Over 15.1 innings, the righty has allowed 14 hits and seven runs, with 13 strikeouts and one walk. In his last two outings, DeSclafani is 2-0 with a 1.64 ERA and has limited opponents to a .184 batting average. He has posted victories over Illinois State (5.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 6 K) and Army (5.2 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 3 K).
In its last meeting between the two teams, Florida’s season-high eight-game winning streak came to a halt with a 17-5 defeat at the hands of FGCU on May 6, 2009, at McKethan Stadium. Zach Maxfield (North Port, Fla.) was 3-for-6 and drove in five runs, while Tim Roberson (west Palm Beach, Fla.) went 3-for-6 and clubbed a grand slam. Jacob Barnes (St. Petersburg, Fla.) picked up his first collegiate win with four scoreless innings in which he gave up three hits and registered a career-high six strikeouts.
The Gators used a six-run fifth inning and recorded 18 hits to down FGCU, 12-3, on April 21, 2009, at Hammond Stadium, home of the Ft. Myers Miracle. The crowd of 5,147 was the largest crowd to watch the Eagles play as the home team in any sport.
Florida (16-3 overall) comes into the matchup after winning picking up five wins last week. Preston Tucker, who is currently on an eight-game hitting streak, leads UF with a .389 batting average and is second on the club in RBI (19), runs (18), doubles (five) and homers (four). Tucker homered in four-consecutive games from March 15-20, the longest stretch by a UF player since Matt LaPorta set a school record by hitting a round-tripper in five-straight games between March 24 and April 1, 2007. He batted .417 (5-for-12) with four RBI and scored four runs during Florida’s sweep of Mississippi State.
Through the first 18 games, FGCU holds a .353 team batting average with all starters hitting above .300. The team is led by A-Sun Preseason Player of the Year Zach Maxfield’s .441 average with 20 RBI, 16 runs scored, and two home runs. Mikel Alvarez (West Palm Beach, Fla.) is second on the squad with a .418 average to go with his 19 RBI, 20 runs, and two home runs. Roberson and Stephen Wickens (Whitby, Ontario, Canada) have combined for 42 runs, drove in 33, and are hitting .372 and .368 respectively. The Blue and Green have outscored their opponents 170-104 thus far and have a pitching staff that has struck out 173 batters while walking 62.