FORT MYERS, Fla. – In the most recent edition of Baseball America, the FGCU Baseball program received high praise, as the media outlet selected the Eagles as the league’s projected favorite. The Green and Blue also had three players named as top prospects for the upcoming 2013-2014 drafts.
The Eagles were predicted to finish atop the league standings according to the outlet, followed by Mercer, Kennesaw State and USC Upstate. Stetson, UNF and Lipscomb fill in the fifth, sixth and seventh spots, respectively, while ETSU, Jacksonville and Northern Kentucky round out the list.
Adding to his list of preseason recognition, junior right-hander Ricky Knapp (Port Charlotte, Fla./Port Charlotte HS) was selected by the outlet as the Pitcher of the Year entering the season. Knapp, who became the third Eagle in the last five years to win A-Sun Pitcher of the Year in 2012, finished with nine wins and an ERA of 2.34, which ranked 55th nationally last season. Knapp set single-season program records in innings pitched (111.1) and complete-game shutouts (3). He ranked second in the A-Sun in ERA and innings pitched while his nine wins were a league-high. At one point during the season, Knapp held a streak of 21.1 scoreless innings pitched. Knapp also garnered the A-Sun Preseason Pitcher of the Year honors from the league coaches.
In addition to the top pitcher nod, Knapp was also selected as the No. 10 top prospect in the conference, joining two other Eagles on the list. Eligible for the 2014 draft, sophomore Michael Suchy (Bradenton, Fla./Southeast HS) was slotted as the No. 2 prospect in the A-Sun, while 2013 draft-eligible junior Sean Dwyer (Tavares, Fla./Tavares HS) appeared on the list at No. 6. Suchy was also rated the 38th best sophomore in the country.
Appearing in 45 games and making 36 starts in 2012, Suchy batted .195 with 24 hits, four doubles, six RBI and 17 runs scored in his first season with the Green and Blue. Tabbed a top prospect by multiple media outlets this summer for his play in the Northwoods League, Suchy landed as high as No. 4 according to Baseball America. Playing in 66 of 69 contests with the Willmar Stingers, Suchy ranked among the league’s best in multiple categories. The Bradenton, Fla. product hit .349, which was the eighth best average in the league, with 62 RBI and 57 runs scored, to rank second and sixth overall, respectively. Suchy connected for 22 extra-base hits, including eight home runs, and also ranked in the top 15 in the league with 37 walks.
Named an A-Sun top returning hitter, Dwyer started all 57 games last season, primarily at first base. He finished the year with a .297 batting average and led the team in extra-base hits (21), total bases (92) and slugging percentage (.434). Dwyer was second on the team in RBI (39), while holding a .393 on-base percentage. He earned A-Sun All-Tournament Team honors after accumulating a .474 batting average (9-for-19) with multi-hits in all four games. He was selected to the College Sports Madness Preseason Atlantic Sun All-Conference team for the upcoming season.
FGCU returns eight positional starters and two weekend starting pitchers from last year's club that won 26 games and finished third at the A-Sun Tournament. The Eagles won five of its last six games to advance to the postseason last year, including a three-game sweep at rival Stetson. In the A-Sun Preseason voting, the Green and Blue tied for first in the coaches’ poll after receiving 81 total votes.
The Blue and Green will get the 2013 season underway on Friday, 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 by following the team on twitter @FGCU_Baseball.