FORT MYERS, Fla. – Following a 6-4 win over the Big Ten’s Michigan on Wednesday evening, the FGCU baseball team will look to carry the momentum into the Atlantic Sun opening weekend. The Eagles head to Jacksonville, Fla. for a three-game series with UNF beginning Friday at 6:30 p.m.
The victory over the Wolverines brought Blue and Green’s record level at 4-4 heading into the conference slate. The Eagles split the opening four-game series with Central Michigan and went 1-2 in the three-game set with Illinois.
FGCU will use a starting rotation of senior righty Jack Wagoner (Berlin, Conn./ Northwest Catholic/St. Petersburg), freshman southpaw Brandon Bixler (Oviedo, Fla./Hagerty HS) and senior right-hander Richie Erath (West Palm Beach, Fla./Palm Beach Central HS) through the three contests. Wagoner holds a 0-1 record with a 4.91 ERA and nine strikeouts in 11 innings on the mound. In his first two collegiate starts Bixler has made two strong outings, recording a 2.08 ERA and 12 strikeouts in 8.2 innings while keeping opponents to a .182 average. Holding a 3-0 career record against the Ospreys, A-Sun Preseason Pitcher of the Year Erath is 1-0 on the bump with a 3.09 ERA and nine strikeouts this season.
At the plate, the Eagles have five athletes at or above .300 through the first eight games. Senior shortstop Stephen Wickens (Whitby, Ontario/Sinclair Secondary) leads the way with his .364 average on a team-high 12 hits and .475 on-base percentage. Seniors Mikel Alvarez (West Palm Beach, Fla./Palm Beach Central HS) and Zach Maxfield (North Port, Fla./North Port HS/Pasco-Hernando CC) each hold .333 averages, combining for 11 RBI and eight runs scored.
With a team ERA of 2.54, the Ospreys will start right-hander Casey Medlen in the opening contest and follow with righties Paul Karmeris and Kyle Westwood, respectively. Medlen has a 1-0 record with a 3.75 ERA, while Westwood is also 1-0 with a 3.38 ERA. Holding a 0-2 mark on the year, Karmeris’ ERA sits at 2.19.
The Ospreys went 2-1 in their opening series with Charleston Southern and split the four-game homestand with Liberty. In its most recent outing with Georgia Southern on Wednesday, UNF came away with an 11-3 victory, bringing its record to 5-3.
Holding an all-time record of 73-20 in A-Sun action, FGCU has the most conference victories by any NCAA institution over the past three seasons. In A-Sun opening series, the Eagles are 8-1 over the three years and are 3-0 when opening on the road. FGCU holds an all-time record of 8-2 against UNF, most recently falling 13-2 in the 2010 conference tournament.
The Eagles and Ospreys are set to compete in the opening contest on Friday at 6:30 p.m. and follow with 1 p.m. contests on Saturday and Sunday. Live stats, results and recaps from the weekend contests will be available at www.FGCUAthletics.com.