FGCU Continues A-Sun Play with ETSU this Weekend at Swanson Stadium
Thursday, March 22, 2012 | by Caleb Baker
Photo by Dennis Snyder
Photo by Dennis Snyder
East Tennessee State (11-9)
Florida Gulf Coast (9-13)
3/23/2012 | Fort Myers, Fla. | Attendance: 578
East Tennessee State000000000060
Florida Gulf Coast30001000X440
Win: KNAPP (4-1) 9.060008
Loss: LONG (4-2) 8.044426
GREEN (ETSU) 401000
PRATT (ETSU) 401000
DOANE (ETSU) 401000
BEDNAR (FGCU) 411000
DIAZ (FGCU) 311101

FORT MYERS, Fla. – After dropping a pair of mid-week games earlier this week at Texas Tech, the FGCU baseball team will look to get back on track as Atlantic Sun Conference play resumes at Swanson Stadium this weekend. The Eagles play host to ETSU beginning on Friday at 6:30 p.m.

The two teams return to the field on Saturday at 2 p.m. and have mutually agreed to move the first pitch on Sunday to 12 p.m. The weekend series will be broadcast online at www.ASun.tv.

FGCU holds an 8-13 (2-1 A-Sun) record entering the weekend while ETSU travels to Fort Myers, Fla. with an 11-8 (1-2 A-Sun) mark. With an all-time record of 76-35 in league action, the Eagles also own a 10-3 record against the Bucs, including a 6-0 mark when playing at Swanson Stadium.

As a team, the Green and Blue are hitting .237 with 98 runs scored and 88 RBI this season. Senior Ryan Gebhart (Waco, Texas/Midway HS/Missouri) leads the team with a .286 average, scoring 14 times and adding eight doubles. Also leading the team, Gebhart has stolen five bases in six attempts. Extending his hitting streak to 11 games in the last outing, sophomore Andrew Valencia (Miami, Fla./Gulliver Prep) has a team-best four home runs and 20 RBI, holding a .270 mark at the dish with 10 runs scored. Sophomore Brandon Bednar (Stuart, Fla./South Fork HS) has scored a team-high 15 times and is hitting .282, while classmate Sean Dwyer (Tavares, Fla./Tavares HS) owns a .266 mark and has driven in 11 RBI.

FGCU has announced the starters for the weekend set, with sophomore right-hander Ricky Knapp (Port Charlotte, Fla./Port Charlotte HS) on Friday, 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) in the Sunday finale.

With a complete-game shutout of North Florida in the league opener last Friday, Knapp earned his first career A-Sun Pitcher of the Week honor after allowing just three hits and matching a career-high six strikeouts in the contest. Having faced three straight BCS opponents prior to the Friday night start, Knapp now owns a 3-1 record with a 1.65 ERA through five appearances, including four starts, and has held opponents to a .193 average with 17 punch outs and only four walks in a team-high 32.2 innings on the hill.

Holding a 2-1 record entering the Saturday contest, Polly has made six appearances including three starts. The Broken Arrow, Okla. product holds a 6.56 ERA with 13 strikeouts and nine walks in 23.1 innings of work.

For the third time in as many weeks, Forjet will close out the series for the Eagles on Sunday. In the series finale with UNF last weekend, the senior went six innings and allowed three runs on as many hits, with three walks and two strikeouts in a no-decision. For the season, Forjet owns an 0-2 record in five starts, recording 25 punch outs and allowing only eight walks in 30.1 innings on the mound.

ETSU enters the weekend following a 3-1 home victory over UNC Asheville on Tuesday and a 1-2 A-Sun opening series with Belmont (L 8-2, W 8-3, L 4-3) in Johnson City, Tenn. last weekend. The Bucs are led offensively by sophomore Clinton Freeman’s .397 average with 13 runs scored and 19 RBI. Leading the nation with 10 home runs, senior Matthew Scruggs holds a .333 mark while leading the team in runs scored (23) and RBI (20). Each driving in 12 RBI, junior Derek Niesman (.323) and senior Dylan Pratt (.309) are also over the .300 mark at the plate. The Bucs will likely use a rotation of right-handers in senior John Long (4-1, 3.65 ERA), junior Derek Bushey (1-2, 4.70 ERA) and sophomore Jake Long (2-1, 2.83 ERA).

Probable Starters
Friday, March 23 – 6:30 p.m.
FGCU – RHP Ricky Knapp, So. (3-1, 1.65 ERA, 32.2 IP, 17 SO, 4 BB, .193 B/Avg.)
ETSU – RHP John Long, Sr. (4-1, 3.65 ERA, 37.0 IP, 25 SO, 8 BB, .252 B/Avg.)

Saturday, March 24 – 2 p.m.
FGCU – LHP Andrew Polly, Jr. (2-1, 6.56 ERA, 23.1 IP, 13 SO, 9 BB, .330 B/Avg.)
ETSU – RHP Derek Bushey, Jr. (1-2, 4.70 ERA, 23.0 IP, 20 SO, 6 BB, .309 B/Avg.)

Sunday, March 25 – 12 p.m.
FGCU – RHP Jason Forjet, Sr. (0-2, 3.26 ERA, 30.1 IP, 25 SO, 8 BB, .224 B/Avg.)
ETSU – RHP Jake Long, So. (2-1, 2.83 ERA, 28.2 IP, 24 SO, 15 BB, .184 B/Avg.)

Elevation Burger, a new restaurant located in Gulf Coast Town Center, will be giving away two Mini-Coopers to students who have entered by scanning the QR code on the side of the car or visited www.elevationburgermini.com. On Friday, one male student and one female student will win a Mini-Cooper lease for one year. All fans can also participate in the inflatable “Tug and Dunk” game, which will be run outside Swanson Stadium starting at 5 p.m. Elevation Burger has a unique partnership with FGCU including “Buy-1-Get-1” meal deals exclusive to FGCU students, faculty and staff on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Live stats, in-game Twitter updates, results and recaps of all FGCU events will be available at www.FGCUAthletics.com.