Eagles Set to Face No. 13 Miami in ‘Battle of the Birds'
Tuesday, April 13, 2010

FORT MYERS, Fla. - The Florida Gulf Coast University baseball team will host the No. 13 Miami Hurricanes on Wednesday, April 14, at 6:30 pm, at Hammond Stadium for “Battle of the Birds.” Tickets for this event are still available (Reserved seating: $9.00; General Admission: $6.00) and can be purchased online at www.FGCUAthletics.com/tickets, at the FGCU Ticket Office, located in Alico Arena (239-590-7145), or at Hammond Stadium prior to gametime.

Date: Wednesday, April 14th, 2010
Location: Fort Myers, Fla.
Game Time: 6:30 pm
Stadium: Hammond Stadium
Opponent: University of Miami
Series Info: Miami leads the all-time series 2-0
Last meeting: 4/22/09 Miami 13, FGCU 7 in Coral Gables, Fla.

The contest with the Hurricanes marks the second consecutive season that the Eagles (21-10, 12-3 A-Sun) 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.

The Miami Hurricanes bring a 23-9 overall record (11-4 ACC) to Fort Myers, including dropping two of three to Virginia Tech last weekend. Miami has qualified for the NCAA Tournament a NCAA-record 37 consecutive years and has made it to Omaha, Neb. for the College World Series in 11 of the last 16 seasons. Head Coach Jim Morris has won 14 of 16 NCAA Regional appearances at UM, including a record 13-straight to start his tenure in Coral Gables.

Miami's offense has averaged over eight runs and 10 hits per game in its last nine contests. Yasmani Grandal, who leads the team in hitting (.415), RBI (35), total bases (87), slugging percentage (.707) and on-base percentage (.520), has hit six of his seven homers in UM's last 11 contests. The Hurricanes also have a ton of speed on their squad, as they have successfully stolen 63 bases and recorded 17 triples this season.

The Eagles are led by a pair of pre-season All-Americans in left-handed starting pitcher Chris Sale and hard-hitting corner infielder Zach Maxfield. Sale was also voted the top pro prospect and All Star MVP of the prestigious Cape Cod Summer League. Additionally, Sale and Maxfield were honored by the conference coaches as preseason pitcher and player of the year, while the team was selected as the preseason favorite to win the A-Sun conference.

Through 31 games, FGCU holds a .348 team batting average with eight players hitting above .340. The team is led by A-Sun Preseason Player of the Year Zach Maxfield’s (North Port, Fla.) .412 average with 31 RBI, 27 runs scored, and five home runs. Stephen Wickens (Whitby, Ontario, Canada) is second on the squad with a .373 average to go with his 21 RBI, 31 runs, and 12 stolen bases. Tim Roberson (West Palm Beach, Fla.), FGCU’s leader in homers (7), and Mikel Alvarez (West Palm Beach, Fla.) have combined for 68 runs, 61 RBI, and are hitting .340 and .371, respectively. The Blue and Green have outscored their opponents 273-178 thus far and have a pitching staff that has an ERA of 5.02 and struck out 256 batters while walking 102.

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.