GAME PREVIEW: No. 4 FGCU vs. No. 3 Kennesaw State - A-Sun Tournament
Tuesday, May 22, 2012 | by Patrick Pierson
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Photo by Dennis Snyder
Photo by Dennis Snyder
Florida Gulf Coast (25-29)
at
Kennesaw State (31-24)
5/23/2012 | Deland, Fla. | Attendance: 0
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Florida Gulf Coast20001612012120
Kennesaw State0010210004115
PitchingIPHRERBBSO
Win: KNAPP (9-4) 5.064433
Loss: Carr (9-3) 5.176543
BattingABRHRBIBBHR
BEDNAR (FGCU) 513210
Dobbs (KSU) 523100

TOURNAMENT CENTRAL
No. 4 FGCU (24-29, 15-12) vs. No. 3 Kennesaw State (31-23, 15-11)
ROUND: A-Sun Tournament (Day 1)
DATE: Wednesday, May 23, 2012
CITY: DeLand, Fla.
SITE: Melching Field at Conrad Park (2500)
FIRST PITCH: 3:00 p.m. ET
LIVE VIDEO: www.ASUN.TV
LIVE STATS: www.FGCUATHLETICS.com
LIVE CHAT: www.FGCUATHLETICS.com
TWITTER: @fgcubaseball/#FGCU
A-SUN TWITTER: @atlanticsun/#ASUNBSB
SERIES VS. KSU: FGCU leads, 11-4
CURRENT STREAK: FGCU, 4 straight
LAST SERIES: FGCU, 3-0 (Apr. 27-29)
WITH A WIN: No. 2 USC Upstate/No. 5 Mercer - Thursday, May 24 - 7:00 p.m.
WITH A LOSS: No. 1 Belmont/No. 6 Stetson - Thursday, May 24 - 3:00 p.m.

FGCU
HEAD COACH:
Dave Tollett (10th Season)
OVERALL RECORD: 24-29
A-SUN RECORD: 15-12
CURRENT STREAK: W3
LAST 5 GAMES: 4-1
LAST 10 GAMES: 6-4
TWITTER: @fgcubaseball
PROBABLE STARTER: Ricky Knapp, So., RHP, 8-4, 2.12 ERA

KENNESAW STATE
HEAD COACH: Mike Sansing (21st Season)
OVERALL RECORD: 31-23
A-SUN RECORD: 15-11
CURRENT STREAK: L1
LAST 5 GAMES: 2-3
LAST 10 GAMES: 4-6
TWITTER: @ksusportsinfo
PROBABLE STARTER: Josh Carr, Sr., RHP, 9-2, 3.65 ERA

AT A GLANCE
Coming off a series sweep of Stetson in the last weekend of regular season action, fourth-seeded FGCU will take on third-seeded Kennesaw State on Wednesday afternoon in the first round of the Atlantic Sun Tournament. The A-Sun postseason appearance will be the second in program history for the Eagles, who went 1-2 in the 2010 tournament - their first year of postseason eligibility. FGCU has taken the last four meetings against the Owls, highlighted by a series sweep at the end of April, and enters the tournament with a 9-3 record over its last four A-Sun weekends.

SIZING UP THE FIELD
Despite needing a conference sweep of Stetson in the final weekend of the regular season, FGCU enters the A-Sun Tournament with the best record against the postseason field at 10-5. The Eagles got the better of three of the teams during their three-game sets, highlighted by sweeps of first round opponent Kennesaw State and Stetson. Below is a look at how the A-Sun Tournament field stacks up against one another.

FGCU (#4) ..................... 10-5
Mercer (#5)..................... 9-6
Belmont (#1)................... 8-7
Kennesaw State (#3)......... 7-7
USC Upstate (#2).............. 5-9
Stetson (#6).................... 5-10

HITTING ITS STRIDE
Sitting three games under .500 (6-9) in the A-Sun with four weekends of action remaining, FGCU saved its best ball of the season for the final month, going 9-3 in league play to close out the regular season slate. The three FGCU series wins over the last four weekends came against three teams in the A-Sun Tournament field (Kennesaw State, Belmont, Stetson). Six of the 12 games were decided by one run or less, as the Eagles went 5-1 over those contests. Seven different players hit .300 or better over the 12 games, while the pitching staff combined for a solid 3.05 ERA.

LAST TIME WE MET
Behind one of the best combined pitching weekends in program history, FGCU took all three meetings against Kennesaw State earlier this season at Swanson Stadium (Apr. 27-29). Led by starters RICKY KNAPP (So./RHP), JASON FORJET (Sr./RHP) and BRANDON BIXLER (So./LHP), the Green and Blue recorded a 1.00 ERA and amassed 32 strikeouts and just three walks through the trio of victories while holding the Owls to a .144 average at the plate. For their efforts, FGCU was named the InsidePitching.com National Pitching Staff of the Week on April 30.

PITCHER INN. ER H BB K
GM1 Ricky Knapp 9.0 2 8 2 4
GM2 Jason Forjet 8.0 1 3 0 12
GM3 Brandon Bixler 7.0 0 1 1 14

BATTERS BEWARE
Wednesday’s contest will feature a pair of 2012 Atlantic Sun All-Conference first team pitchers in FGCU’s RICKY KNAPP and Kennesaw State’s Josh Carr. The showdown will be a rematch of the Friday, April 27th meeting between the two hurlers in which both tossed complete games in a 5-2 FGCU victory. The A-Sun Pitcher of the Year, Knapp took a shutout into the ninth and finished off his 103-pitch outing with eight hits allowed and four strikeouts. Carr threw 115 pitches, surrendering all five runs in the fourth (3) and seventh (2) innings.

A-SUN & FGCU IN THE RPI TOP 100
On top of having its top six teams in the conference standings separated by just two games, the Atlantic Sun also boasts six teams in the top 100 of the latest WarrenNolan.com RPI Ratings (May 21). FGCU’s sweep at Stetson, who entered the weekend at No. 39, moved the Eagles to No. 99 on the list and jumped their schedule strength to No. 40. Out of FGCU’s 24 wins on the season, 14 came against teams in the top 100, including victories at No. 1 FSU and No. 14 Miami.

PITCHER UNIVERSITY
On the eve of the Atlantic Sun Tournament, sophomore RICKY KNAPP became the third FGCU pitcher in the program’s five-year existence in the conference to win the Pitcher of the Year award. Also a unanimous selection to the All-Conference first team, Knapp joins 2008 honoree RICHARD BLEIER and 2010 Collegiate Baseball National Player of the Year and current Chicago White Sox starter CHRIS SALE.

WE’RE GOING STREAKING!!!
Amidst his 106 innings of work – 2nd most in single-season history – this season, sophomore RICKY KNAPP had a span of 21.2 straight scoreless innings over four starts in April. The streak started at the end of his outing at No. 1 Florida and was bolstered by complete-game shutouts against UNF and ETSU, which resulted in back-to-back A-Sun Pitcher of the Week honors. Over the 21.2-inning span, Knapp allowed just nine hits and issued three walks, while striking out 15.

SUPER SOPHOMORES
Comparing sophomore seasons, RICKY KNAPP finished the regular season with an 8-4 record through 14 appearances, including 13 starts, owning a 2.12 ERA in 106.1 innings of work with a .243 opponent batting average. On the flip side, Sale finished with a 7-4 record through 14 appearances, including 12 starts, holding a 2.72 ERA in 89.1 innings pitched with a .246 opponent batting average. Additionally, Knapp passed Sale’s single-season record for innings pitched (103.0) which he set in the 2010 campaign.