Sale Leads Eagles into Final Conference Series of the Season
Wednesday, May 19, 2010

FORT MYERS, Fla. - The FGCU Baseball team looks to close out the A-Sun Regular Season as they host the UNF Ospreys in a three-game set this weekend.

FGCU leads the all-time series against UNF, 5-2. The Ospreys won the first two meetings between the two teams, but have dropped five straight to the Eagles.

The Blue and Green (34-18, 22-5 A-Sun) enter the contest ranked first in the Atlantic Sun standings after taking two of three from JU last weekend to secure their third consecutive A-Sun Regular Season crown. UNF, who has won three of their last five games, comes into the matchup with a 29-23 overall record (14-9 A-Sun).

The Ospreys are one of just two teams to punch its ticket to the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament with the Eagles already securing the top spot in the tournament. UNF has secured their spot, but can finish anywhere from second place to sixth place depending on the outcome of several pivotal series this weekend.

North Florida is coming off of a series victory with A-Sun foe Stetson. The Ospreys claimed the first two games of the series before dropping the final game. UNF’s Andrew Karmeris earned Atlantic Sun Player of the Week honors and teammate Michael Kelly picked up Pitcher of the Week accolades as the pair helped their squad pick up crucial wins last week.

FGCU enters the weekend fresh off a conference series win over JU. FGCU claimed their third consecutive Atlantic Sun Conference regular season championship on Friday (May 14) as Chris Sale (Lakeland, Fla.), who was recently placed in the top 25 for the National Pitcher of the Year Award, went seven innings and improved to 9-0 on the year after allowing two earned runs on six hits to go with 14 strikeouts and no walks in the contest.

Through 52 games, FGCU holds a .330 team batting average with seven players hitting above .314. The team is led Mikel Alvarez’s (West Palm Beach, Fla.) .376 average with 14 doubles, 53 runs scored, four home runs, and 34 RBI. Stephen Wickens (Whitby, Ontario), who is a quarterfinalist for the Brooks Wallace Shortstop of the Year Award and also ranked 28th in the nation in hits, has a .370 average to go with his 30 RBI, 55 runs, and 17 stolen bases. Tim Roberson (West Palm Beach, Fla.), Luke Smierciak (Gainesville, Fla.), and Zach Maxfield (North Port, Fla.) provide the power bats for the Eagles. Roberson, FGCU’s leader in homers (13) and RBI (58), is hitting .333 on the season with a .570 slugging percentage. Smierciak is hitting .315 with nine round-trippers and 48 RBI, while Maxfield, the 2010 A-Sun Preseason Player of the Year, has hit .372 with eight home runs this season to go along with a team-high 47 walks (11th in the nation).

The Blue and Green have outscored their opponents 419-306 thus far, and have a pitching staff that has an ERA of 5.22 and struck out 438 batters while walking 174.

Following the series opening game on Thursday, May 20 (6:39 p.m.), the Eagles and Ospreys meet again on friday (May 21) for an afternoon doubleheader that is set to start at 3 p.m.