Eagles and Ospreys Open Atlantic Sun Conference Play at Swanson Stadium
Thursday, March 15, 2012 | by Caleb Baker (@calebaker)
Photo by Dennis Snyder
Photo by Dennis Snyder
North Florida (12-6)
Florida Gulf Coast (7-10)
3/16/2012 | Fort Myers, Fla. | Attendance: 228
North Florida000000000030
Florida Gulf Coast01100000X280
Win: KNAPP (3-1) 9.030036
Loss: WESTWOOD (2-1) 8.082219
WESNER (UNF) 401000
GAVLIK (UNF) 301000
BEDNAR (FGCU) 412000
DWYER (FGCU) 312111

FORT MYERS, Fla. – The FGCU baseball team will close its five-game homestand this weekend as Atlantic Sun Conference play begins at Swanson Stadium against North Florida. The Eagles will play host to the Ospreys for a three-game set, beginning on Friday at 6:30 p.m.

Following the Friday opener, the two squads will return to action on Saturday at 2 p.m. and wrap up the series on Sunday starting at 1 p.m.

Heading into conference play, the Eagles hold a 6-10 overall record. The Green and Blue are coming off a two-game mid-week series with Rutgers, in which the Scarlet Knights took both contests.

Entering the fifth season as member of the A-Sun, FGCU holds an all-time league record of 74-34. The Green and Blue hold an all-time mark of 10-2 in A-Sun openers, including a 5-1 mark when opening the league slate at Swanson Stadium.

FGCU will use a rotation of sophomore right-hander Ricky Knapp (Port Charlotte, Fla./Port Charlotte HS) on Friday, followed by junior lefty Andrew Polly (Broken Arrow, Okla./Tulsa Union HS/Cowley County CC) on Saturday and senior righty Jason Forjet (Pembroke Pines, Fla./Nova HS) on Sunday.

Squaring off against his third-straight BCS opponent in No. 1 Florida last Friday, Knapp went seven innings and allowed two runs on five hits, adding a strikeout and his first walk of the season. Through four appearances this season, the Port Charlotte, Fla. product holds a 2-1 record and owns a 2.28 ERA with 11 strikeouts and one walk, while holding opponents to a .224 average through 23.2 innings on the mound.

Making his fifth appearance and third start of the season, Polly enters Saturday with a 1-1 record and a 5.51 ERA on the mound. The junior transfer has registered 10 punch outs and issued seven walks in 16.1 innings of work, while holding opponents to a .281 average at the plate. Appearing in relief last Saturday in Gainesville, Polly allowed two runs on four hits with two walks and three strikeouts over the final four frames.

Slated for his team-leading fifth start on Sunday, Forjet has been solid on the bump for the Eagles this season. Opening the contest against the No. 1 Gators last Sunday, the senior right-hander tossed 6.1 innings, allowing UF season-lows of both three runs and four hits in his 100-pitch outing. The Pembroke Pines, Fla. product also recorded seven punch outs in the contest, which was a new season-high for the Gators’ offense. Through four starts this season, Forjet owns a 2.96 ERA with 23 strikeouts and just five walks, while holding opponents to a .240 average in 24.1 innings of work.

Senior centerfielder Ryan Gebhart (Waco, Texas/Midway HS/Missouri) has led the Eagles at the plate, batting .317 with 11 walks, seven RBI and 11 run scored. The Waco, Texas product also leads the team with six extra-base hits and four stolen bases in five attempts. Sophomore Brandon Bednar (Stuart, Fla./South Fork HS) sits second on the squad, hitting at a .270 clip with a team-high 12 runs scored and adding eight RBI. With a team-leading 12 RBI, sophomore Andrew Valencia (Miami, Fla./Gulliver Prep) holds a .256 mark at the dish with a team-high two homeruns.

The all-time mark between the Eagles and Ospreys sits in favor of FGCU, 10-4. The Green and Blue also own a 5-1 advantage over UNF when playing at Swanson Stadium. Opening A-Sun play last year in Jacksonville, FGCU took the three-game series 2-1 (W 8-4, L 10-3, W 5-4) after winning the 13-inning finale.

UNF comes into the weekend with a 12-5 record, after sweeping South Alabama (10-4, 8-7, 7-3) at home last weekend and splitting a two-game mid-week series with FIU (L 6-4, W 10-8) in Miami, Fla. The Ospreys are led offensively by sophomore outfielder Tyler Marincov’s .471 average, with a team-high 20 RBI and four homeruns while adding 17 RBI. Five other regulars are also hitting above .310 on the year for UNF.

On the mound for the Ospreys will be RHP Kyle Westwood (2-0, 3.92 ERA) on Friday, LHP Michael Renner (3-1, 3.58 ERA) on Saturday and LHP Tommy Organ (1-1, 4.87 ERA) in the series finale.

Probable Starters
Friday, Mar. 16 – 6:30 p.m.
FGCU – RHP Ricky Knapp, So. (2-1, 2.28 ERA, 23.2 IP, 11 SO, 1 BB, .224 B/Avg.)
UNF – RHP Kyle Westwood, Jr. (2-0, 3.92 ERA, 20.2 IP, 17 SO, 6 BB, .300 B/Avg.)

Saturday, Mar. 17 – 2 p.m.
FGCU – LHP Andrew Polly, Jr. (1-1, 5.51 ERA, 16.1 IP, 10 SO, 7 BB, .281 B/Avg.)
UNF – LHP Michael Renner, Jr. (3-1, 3.58 ERA, 27.2 IP, 19 SO, 4 BB, .243 B/Avg.)

Sunday, Mar. 18 – 1 p.m.
FGCU – RHP Jason Forjet, Sr. (0-2, 2.96 ERA, 24.1 IP, 23 SO, 5 BB, .240 B/Avg.)
UNF – LHP Tommy Organ, Jr. (1-1, 4.87 ERA, 20.1 IP, 19 SO, 9 BB, .288 B/Avg.)

Live stats, in-game Twitter updates (@FGCUEagles and @FGCUBaseball), results and recaps from all FGCU events are available at www.FGCUAthletics.com.