FORT MYERS, Fla. – With the start of the final Atlantic Sun Conference regular season series just a day away, the FGCU baseball team is set to make one last push at the postseason when it welcomes Lipscomb to Swanson Stadium beginning with game one on Thursday.
The series opener on Thursday is set for 6:30 p.m., while game two will be Friday at 4 p.m. and the finale at 1 p.m. on Saturday. The final game will also be senior day with the ceremony beginning roughly 30 minutes prior to the game.
The Eagles (24-28, 13-14) will need to win at least two games during the three-game set and get some help from No. 17 Stetson (39-14, 22-5) or ETSU (35-17, 15-10) in order to make up the two-game gap between them and sixth-place Belmont (30-23, 15-12) or the two and a half-game separation from Mercer (34-17, 15-11).
FGCU can find their way into next week’s A-Sun Tournament in Nashville by sweeping the Bisons and the first place Hatters taking two games from the Bruins. The Eagles can also get in by winning two games combined with Stetson sweeping Belmont. The last scenario for the Blue and Green’s postseason hopes is a sweep of Lipscomb with the combination of Mercer being swept by ETSU.
Senior Austin Gaines (Dunedin, Fla./Northeast HS/South Florida CC) will be the Thursday night starter for the Eagles on the mound, owning a 3-3 record with a 5.12 ERA. Gaines has made five starts on the season, recording 40 strikeouts over 51 innings of work while limiting opposing hitters to a .264 average.
Led by double figure hits in all three games last weekend, the Eagles took two of three at Belmont to own the tie-breaker over the Bruins if they finish with the same conference record. Senior Zach Maxfield (North Port, Fla./North Port HS/Pasco-Hernando CC) leads five players with over a .300 average, batting .376 with 19 doubles, 10 home runs and 54 RBI. FGCU’s all-time hits leader, senior Mikel Alvarez (West Palm Beach, Fla./Palm Beach Central HS) has used a .389 average over April and May to sit at .327 for the season.
Lipscomb is 19-33 on the season with a 10-17 mark in the A-Sun. The Bisons picked up a 9-3 win over nationally-ranked Stetson last Sunday in their A-Sun home finale. Junior righty Connor Sinclair will be on the mound Thursday for the Bisons. Sinclair has made a team-high 13 starts, owning a 2-6 record with a solid 2.74 ERA. He owns 79 strikeouts over 82 innings, ranking third in the A-Sun in ERA and second in innings.
FGCU is 6-3 all-time against Lipscomb, sweeping a three-game series from the Bisons during their only meeting at Swanson Stadium in 2009. Since joining the A-Sun in 2008, the Eagles have won 15 of 19 series at Swanson.
Live stats and A-Sun TV are available on www.FGCUATHLETICS.com for Thursday’s opener. Entry into each game is free for FGCU faculty and staff along with their families. Kids who wear their little league jersey or school baseball jersey will also get in free.