FORT MYERS, Fla. – The FGCU baseball team will open the second half of the Atlantic Sun portion of its schedule this weekend when it heads to Georgia to take on Kennesaw State in a three-game set at Stillwell Stadium.
The Eagles (8-7) and Owls (8-6) are currently separated by a half game in the A-Sun standings, occupying the last two spots that qualify for the postseason tournament. After a six-day break, FGCU returned to action this week and upped its record to 17-16 with a two-game sweep of MEAC leader Bethune-Cookman in which it out-scored the Wildcats, 17-3.
The series will open on Friday afternoon at 2 p.m. with senior Austin Gaines (Dunedin, Fla./Northeast HS/South Florida CC) taking the mound for FGCU. The start will be the first of Gaines’ career, as the right-hander has been used out of the pen in his 10 appearances this season. Gaines sports a 2.52 ERA with a 2-1 record and one save through 25 innings of work. Opposing batters are hitting just .189 against Gaines.
The game was originally scheduled to begin at 6 p.m., but was moved up due to weather concerns. The rest of the series will still go by its originally scheduled times.
FGCU’s bats have livened up over the last 10 games, producing its top four hit totals and six games of at least double figure base knocks. Senior Zach Maxfield (North Port, Fla./North Port HS/Pasco Hernando CC) has led the charge at the dish, ranking fourth in the A-Sun in batting average (.386), fifth in hits (51), tied for fourth with 13 doubles, eighth with seven home runs and tied for seventh with 36 RBI – all team-best bests. On Wednesday night, Maxfield equaled the program’s career mark for doubles with 47.
Kennesaw State is 20-16 on the season and defeated No. 8 Georgia Tech at home earlier in the month. The Owls have dropped their last four A-Sun contests, but all four came on the road against nationally-ranked Stetson and second place ETSU. The Owls are led by sophomore catcher Ronnie Freeman who has a team-best .360 average and an A-Sun leading 16 doubles. Junior Andy Chriscaden is right behind with a .324 clip, 15 doubles, nine home runs and a league-best 43 RBI.
The two teams have met nine times over the last three years with FGCU taking all three series by a 2-1 margin. Two of those three series have been in Georgia where Kennesaw State is 17-6 this season, including a perfect 6-0 in league action.
Live stats for all three games this weekend can be followed on www.FGCUATHLETICS.com