@FGCU_Baseball Ready to Open 2014 Season with Rhode Island
Thursday, February 13, 2014 | by Matt Moretti III (@Moretts13)
Photo Courtesy: Linwood Ferguson
Photo Courtesy: Linwood Ferguson
Rhode Island (0-1)
FGCU (1-0)
2/14/2014 | Fort Myers, Fla. | Attendance: 483
Rhode Island000002100392
Win: ANDERSON (1-0) 2.120002
Loss: NARODOWY (0-1) 1.023201
CAPUTO (URI) 514100
RIVERA (FGCU) 422100
SUCHY (FGCU) 322210
YOUNG (FGCU) 402100
O'MALLEY (FGCU) 402000

Feb. 14-16 | Swanson Stadium

Live Stats: Stat Broadcast
Game Notes: ISSUU

Projected Starters
Game 1 | Friday, Feb. 14 | 6:30 p.m.
FGCU - Michael Murray
URI - Tyler Bowditch 

Game 2 | Saturday, Feb. 15 | 1 p.m.
FGCU - Nick Deckert
URI - Steve Moyers

Game 3 | Saturday, Feb. 15 | 4 p.m.
FGCU - Jack English
URI - Lou Distasio

Game 4 | Sunday, Feb. 16 | 1 p.m.
FGCU - Brad Labozetta
URI - Ty Sterner

- Opening its 12th season in program history, the FGCU baseball team kicks off the year with a four game series at Swanson Stadium against the University of Rhode Island. The series gets underway Friday night at 6:30 p.m. followed up by a Saturday doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m. The series will conclude on Sunday at 1 p.m.

This marks the first time that FGCU and Rhode Island will face each other. The Eagles finished 2013 with a 37-20 overall record that included a 19-8 mark in the Atlantic Sun. Rhode Island finished last year with a record of 35-24 and finished 17-7 in the Atlantic 10 Conference.

FGCU holds an all-time record of 8-3 in season openers, including a 4-2 mark since moving to Division I. The Green and Blue has also outscored its opponents 104-33 in season openers, a total which includes a 43-20 advantage against D-I foes.

Michael Murray (West Palm Beach, Fla. /Forest Hill High School) will take the ball for FGCU on opening day and is expected to face off against Rhode Island’s Tyler Bowditch. Murray closed out his freshman campaign with a 2.93 ERA to go with a 5-1 record in 13 starts. Bowditch appeared in 12 games in 2013 and compiled a 2-0 record with a 2.35 ERA.

Nick Deckert (Tallahassee, Fla. /Tallahassee CC) will make his FGCU debut in the first game of the doubleheader on Saturday opposite Steve Moyers. Deckert compiled a 9-1 record last season at Tallahassee Community College with a 2.93 ERA. Moyers appeared in 14 games for the Rams in 2013, making nine starts and collecting an impressive 1.78 ERA in 60.2 innings to go with 52 strikeouts.

The second game of the double dip will feature Jack English (Delray Beach, Fla. /Cardinal Newman High School) against Lou Distasio. English can boast the top-returning ERA on the roster with a 2.43 in 2013. He made 17 appearances in relief and threw a total of 29.2 innings, striking out 33. Saturday will be just the second start in English’s career and the first since 2012. Distasio found himself with a 4.58 ERA by the end of the 2013 campaign appearing in 13 games, throwing just 19.2 innings.

The last game of the series projects Eagle sophomore Brad Labozetta (Lakeland, Fla. /Lakeland High School) against Rhody’s Ty Sterner. Labozetta is set to make his first appearance for FGCU after he was forced to miss the entire 2013 season following Tommy John surgery in the fall of 2012. Sterner appeared in 15 games for the Rams last season, making one start and collecting a 5.32 ERA.

The Eagles bring back junior outfielder Michael Suchy (Bradenton, Fla./Southeast HS) who is the returning stat leader in batting average (.314), runs (37), hits (71), home runs (9), RBI (46) and stolen bases (7). FGCU also returns notables such as Estero native Tyler Selesky (Estero Fla./Estero HS) (.301), Zack Tillery (Naples, Fla./Barron Collier HS) (.299), Nick Rivera (Cape Coral, Fla./Bishop Verot HS) (.287), Colton Bottomley (Davie, Fla./Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS) (.250) and shortstop Alex Diaz (Miami, Fla./John A. Ferguson HS) (.201). Andrew Valencia (Miami, Fla./Gulliver Prep) will take over duties behind the plate for the Green and Blue.

In all the Eagles welcome 16 newcomers to the roster in 2014 having lost five starters on offense and two starters from the front end of the rotation.

The coaches of the A-Sun have chosen FGCU to finish third out of 10 in the preseason voting. The Eagles received two first-place votes and finished behind only reigning Regular Season Champion Mercer and North Florida, respectively.

Mercer received 97 points to go with seven first place votes followed by North Florida with 86 points and one first place vote. The Eagles finished with 73 points and two first place votes. ETSU (69), Kennesaw State (64), Stetson (60), Lipscomb (34), USC Upstate (30), Jacksonville (27) and Northern Kentucky (10) round out the 10-team poll. Both Mercer and 2013 A-Sun Tournament Champion ETSU advanced to the NCAA Tournament last season. The top eight teams in the standings at the end of the regular season will advance to the 2014 A-Sun Championship Tournament hosted by FGCU at Swanson Stadium May 21-25.

Tillery, Murray and Diaz were each chosen by the fans of the A-Sun as the Preseason Player, Pitcher and Defensive Player of the Year, respectively. No Eagles appeared on the preseason awards list voted on by the coaches.

FGCU saw seven players drafted off the roster last season into Major League Baseball. Head coach Dave Tollett has now had 20 players drafted over his 12-year stint heading up the program. The most notable of FGCU Eagles in the pros is two-time MLB All-Star Chris Sale who posted an 11-14 record for the Chicago White Sox last season with a 3.07 ERA. He struck out 226 batters in 214.1 innings pitched, picked up the win in the 2013 All-Star Game and ultimately finished fifth in the American League Cy Young Award voting.

The 2014 FGCU baseball schedule will feature six teams that participated in the 2013 NCAA Baseball Tournament, two of which come from the Atlantic Sun. The schedule will also include three teams ranked inside the top 16 nationally in Florida, Florida State and Miami as well as seven teams that received votes, three of which come from the A-Sun. Eight programs ranked or receiving votes hail from the state of Florida.

Rhode Island is one the programs, along with FGCU receiving votes in the Collegiate Baseball Fabulous 40 NCAA Division I preseason poll. Nine of FGCU’s first 13 games are against teams that are either ranked or receiving votes in the preseason Top 40 and will play 26 games against teams currently ranked or receiving votes. The Eagles went 9-10 against those teams last year.

Single-game tickets for FGCU Baseball are available at a cost of $6 for adults and $3 for children. Season tickets are also available. For more ticket information and additional deals, visit FGCUathletics.com/tickets, or call or visit the ticket office at 239-590-7145.