Baseball Preps for Big Ten Foe Michigan and ACC Opponent Boston College
Tuesday, February 28, 2012 | by Caleb Baker (@calebaker)
Photo by Dennis Snyder
Photo by Dennis Snyder
Michigan (5-3)
Florida Gulf Coast (5-3)
2/29/2012 | Fort Myers, Fla. | Attendance: 1568
Florida Gulf Coast02101004X8100
Win: KNAPP (2-1) 8.041104
Loss: Clark (1-2) 4.084433
O'Neill (MICH) 411101
Winger (MICH) 301000
Zott (MICH) 301000
DiLaura (MICH) 101000
DWYER (FGCU) 512100

FORT MYERS, Fla. – Coming off a sweep of visiting Bryant University last weekend, the FGCU baseball team will be back at Swanson Stadium when Big Ten foe Michigan travels to Fort Myers, Fla. on Wednesday, Feb. 29 at 6:30 p.m., followed by a three-game series with Boston College from March 1-4.

The Eagles enter the stretch of contests with a 4-3 mark after picking up their first series victory last weekend, sweeping the three-game set with Bryant. The Eagles took Friday’s opening contest, 5-4, with a ninth inning come-from-behind win, and followed with an 8-1 victory on Saturday and a 5-1 win on Sunday.

Sophomore right-hander Ricky Knapp (Port Charlotte, Fla./Port Charlotte HS) is expected to start the contest against Michigan. In Knapp’s last outing against then-No. 12 Miami at Hammond Stadium, the Port Charlotte, Fla. product was issued the loss after a strong seven innings on the mound, allowing three earned runs on nine hits to go with four strikeouts. Sitting at 1-1 on the season, Knapp holds a 3.12 ERA through 8.2 innings with six strikeouts and no walks.

Through the three-game set with Boston College, FGCU will use a probable rotation of senior right-hander Jason Forjet (Pembroke Pines, Fla./Nova HS) on Thursday, with junior lefty Andrew Polly (Broken Arrow, Okla./Tulsa Union HS/Cowley County CC) on Friday and sophomore southpaw Brandon Bixler (Oviedo, Fla./Hagerty HS) on Sunday.

Heading the rotation for the third straight series, Forjet has earned no-decisions in his previous two starts against Bethune-Cookman (Feb. 17) and Bryant (Feb. 24). This season, the Pembroke Pines, Fla. product holds a 2.13 ERA to go with 13 strikeouts, highlighted by a 10-strikeout performance against B-CU, through 12.2 innings on the mound.

Earning his first victory of the season on Saturday, Polly improved to 1-0 with a 1.69 ERA through his 10.2 innings of work. The lefty has totaled six strikeouts through his two appearances, allowing four runs (two earned) while holding opponents to a .231 average.

Last Sunday while improving to 1-1, Bixler came one out away from a no-hitter, surrendering his lone hit on a 3-2 pitch in the final frame as the Green and Blue went on to a 5-1 win. For his efforts, the sophomore earned recognition as one of Louisville Slugger's National Players of the Week. Through two starts this season, Bixler holds a 1.42 ERA with a .051 opponent batting average. Accumulating 17 strikeouts, the Oviedo, Fla. product has allowed just two hits this season to go with seven walks and three runs (two earned) in 12.2 innings of work.

The Eagles offense has been sparked by sophomore Sean Dwyer (Tavares, Fla./Tavares HS), who sports a .409 average after starting all seven contests. With a .591 slugging percentage and a .548 on-base percentage, Dwyer also leads the team with six RBI and has added four runs scored while accounting for one of FGCU’s two home runs. Through five starts, junior Dane Wisneski (Jupiter, Fla./Palm Beach Gardens HS/Daytona State College) is hitting .333 with two RBI and a run scored. Additionally, sophomore Brandon Bednar (Stuart, Fla./South Fork HS) has a team-best seven runs scored while junior Mike Reeves (Peterborough, Ontario/St. Peter’s Secondary) has driven in five RBI.

This season marks the third-straight which FGCU and Michigan have met at Swanson Stadium. The Green and Blue leveled the all-time record between the squads at 1-1 last season, defeating Michigan by a score of 6-4.

Right-hander Kyle Clark will take the mound for Michigan in the contest. With a 1-1 record, Clark has allowed seven earned runs and holds an 11.81 ERA through two relief appearances, retiring five batters and issuing a pair of walks in 5.1 innings of work.

At the plate the, Wolverines are led by sophomore outfielder Michael O’Neill’s .464 batting average with seven RBI, seven runs scored and a pair of home runs. Freshman outfielder Will Drake is hitting .385 with nine RBI and 11 runs scored, while sophomore first baseman Brett Winger sits at .333 with six RBI and three runs scored.

Michigan opened the season with a loss to Pittsburgh (9-8) and then picked up two straight wins over Seton Hall (2-1) and West Virginia (14-3). The Wolverines upped their mark to 5-2 by taking three of the four contests with Iona (W 9-6, W 11-2, L 3-1, W 6-5).

Boston College (4-2) will come to town for a three-game series with the Eagles for back-to-back 6:30 p.m. contests on Thursday and Friday, and a series finale on Sunday afternoon beginning at 1 p.m. Opening the season on a three-game winning streak, BC defeated Virginia (5-3), James Madison (8-5) and Coastal Carolina (8-3) before taking one of three at UCF (L 6-5, W 8-7, L 5-4).

Offensively, BC is led by sophomore outfielder Tom Bourdon, who is hitting .429 through the six contests while driving in five RBI, scoring eight runs and leading the team with a pair of home runs. Senior infielder Anthony Melchionda, senior outfielder Spencer Payne and junior outfielder Rob Moir are each hitting .333 this season. The BC rotation has consisted of sophomore right-handers Eric Stevens (1-0, 5.23 ERA) and Matt Alvarez (1-0, 1.04 ERA), and junior righty Hunter Gordon (1-0, 1.80 ERA). Boston College will utilize its bullpen in the Thursday contest, with Stevens and Alvarez expected on Friday and Sunday, respectively. The all-time series between FGCU and Boston College sits even at 1-1, with the teams splitting a two-game series in 2009 at Swanson Stadium.

Tickets for the contests with Michigan and Boston College are available at the FGCU Ticket Office located inside Alico Arena, or by calling 239-590-7145. Fans can also purchase tickets online at

Probable Starters
Wednesday, Feb. 29 – 6:30 p.m.
FGCU – RHP Ricky Knapp, So. (1-1, 3.12 ERA, 8.2 IP, 6 SO, 0 BB, .303 B/Avg.)
MICH – RHP Kyle Clark, Jr. (1-1, 11.81 ERA, 5.1 IP, 5 SO, 2 BB, .400 B/Avg.)

Thursday, Mar. 1 – 6:30 p.m.
FGCU – RHP Jason Forjet, Sr. (0-0, 2.13 ERA, 12.2 IP, 13 SO, 3 BB, .224 B/Avg.)

Friday, Mar. 2 – 6:30 p.m.
FGCU – LHP Andrew Polly, Jr. (1-0, 1.69 ERA, 10.2 IP, 6 SO, 4 BB, .231 B/Avg.)
BC – RHP Eric Stevens, So. (1-0, 5.23 ERA, 10.1 IP, 6 SO, 3 BB, .275 B/Avg.)

Sunday, Mar. 4 – 1:00 p.m.
FGCU – LHP Brandon Bixler, So. (1-1, 1.42 ERA, 12.2 IP, 17 SO, 7 BB, .051 B/Avg.)
BC – RHP Matt Alvarez, So. (1-0, 1.04 ERA, 8.2 IP, 5 SO, 9 BB, .107 B/Avg.)

Live stats, in-game Twitter updates (@FGCUEagles and @FGCUBaseball), results and recaps from all FGCU events are available at Free live audio for the Michigan game, as well as, the Thursday contest with Boston College will also be available, with Tom James on the call.