FORT MYERS, Fla. – The Florida Gulf Coast baseball team’s 2013 schedule features games against five teams that played in the 2012 NCAA Tournament, 30 home contests at Swanson Stadium and a showdown with College World Series participant Florida at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers, head coach David Tollett announced Tuesday afternoon.
The five NCAA Tournament teams on FGCU’s slate in 2013 are St. John’s, No. 24 Florida, Manhattan, No. 19 Florida State and Bethune-Cookman. The Eagles will play a total of 14 games against those five teams with six at home, five on the road and three games at neutral sites.
One of those neutral games will be when FGCU takes on Florida on Apr. 16 at Hammond Stadium at 6:30 p.m. This contest marks the fifth consecutive year that the Eagles have played a game at Hammond Stadium, which is the minor league home of the Minnesota Twins.
“We are very excited with the schedule that we have put together for the 2013 season,” head coach David Tollett said. “We have a very challenging non-conference schedule that includes games against five NCAA Tournament teams from last season, including a game against national power Florida at home. This non-conference slate will be key in getting us ready for another tough season in the highly-competitive Atlantic Sun Conference.”
FGCU opens the 2013 regular season on the road playing three games in the Snowbird Baseball Classic in Sarasota, Fla. The Eagles will take on two Big East opponents in the three games in St. John’s and Notre Dame. The Green and Blue play St. John’s on Feb. 15 and Feb. 17, while they will take on Notre Dame on Feb. 16. FGCU has prior history against the Fighting Irish as it defeated Notre Dame, 5-3, in its final year of Division II on Mar. 16, 2007.
The Eagles continue their difficult stretch to begin the season in Gainesville, Fla. as they take on Florida from Feb. 22-24. The Gators finished 2012 with the second best RPI in the NCAA and they advanced to the College World Series.
The Green and Blue open their 2013 home schedule from Mar. 1-3 when they play four games against Manhattan in the friendly confines of Swanson Stadium. The Jaspers qualified for the 2012 NCAA Tournament by winning the MAAC Championship with an overall record of 33-27.
FGCU starts its sixth season in the A-Sun on the road from Mar. 22-24 at ETSU in Johnson City, Tenn. The Eagles will also hit the road for tough A-Sun series’ against Kennesaw State (Apr. 5-7), Mercer (Apr. 12-14) and UNF (May 10-12).
Ever since FGCU joined the Atlantic Sun Conference in 2007-08 it has been one of the most consistent and dominant programs in the league. The Eagles have accumulated 104 conference wins in that time span, which is an average of just less than 21 league victories per season. The 104 wins are the most conference victories by any team since 2008, with Kennesaw State coming in second with 86 A-Sun wins.
The Eagles kick off its 2013 home A-Sun slate on Mar. 28-30 when they take on Lipscomb. Since it joined the A-Sun in 2007-08, FGCU has never lost its A-Sun home-opening series going a perfect 5-0. The Green and Blue also host USC Upstate (Apr. 19-21), Northern Kentucky (Apr. 26-28), Jacksonville (May 3-5) and Stetson (May 16-18) in league play.
As soon as that series concludes, FGCU travels up to Tallahassee, Fla. to play Florida State for two games on Apr. 2-3. The Green and Blue took down then No. 2 Florida State in their only meeting last season, 5-1.
The top-eight teams will qualify for the 2013 A-Sun Tournament hosted by Stetson in DeLand, Fla. from May 22-25.
FGCU went 26-31 (15-12 A-Sun) in 2012, and it returns 18 student-athletes, including eight position starters and two starting pitchers, from that squad this spring. Two of the returning starters are 2012 Atlantic Sun Conference Pitcher of the Year Ricky Knapp (Port Charlotte, Fla./Port Charlotte HS) and Sean Dwyer (Tavares, Fla./Tavares HS). Knapp, who became the third Eagle in the last five years to win A-Sun Pitcher of the Year, finished with nine wins and an ERA of 2.34, which ranked him 55th in the NCAA. Dwyer, who was the backbone of the Green and Blue’s offense in 2012, finished in the top-11 in the A-Sun in RBI’s (39), doubles (16) and walks (32). He also finished second on the team in batting average (.297) and hits (63).
The full 2013 FGCU baseball schedule is attached in PDF format. Times are listed in Eastern Standard Time and subject to change.
The Green and Blue will get the 2013 season underway on Feb. 15 in Sarasota, Fla. when they take on St. John’s as part of the Snowbird Baseball Classic. First pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m. Fans can get updates and information on FGCU baseball all season long by visiting www.FGCUATHLETICS.com or following the team on twitter @FGCU_Baseball.