2/18/2014 | Fort Myers, Fla. | Attendance: 708
FORT MYERS, Fla. – The FGCU baseball team (3-1) welcomes the Bulls of the University of South Florida (3-0) to Swanson Stadium on Tuesday evening (Feb. 18) after getting off to hot start this past weekend opposite Rhode Island. The Eagles will be playing their fifth game in five days and will use their fifth different starting pitcher of 2014.
Freshman Garrett Anderson (Arcadia, Fla./DeSoto HS) will make the first start on the mound of his young career after coming on in relief in the Eagles’ season-opener to make his debut. Anderson took over for Mike Murray (West Palm Beach, Fla./Forrest Hill HS) on Friday and tossed 2.1 innings, striking out two and keeping the Rams off the board entirely en route to picking up his first win.
The Eagles and Bulls will meet for the eighth time on Tuesday. FGCU currently hold a 5-2 advantage in the all-time series. The two teams split the season series last year with USF taking the last meeting at Swanson Stadium.
USF dispatched Liberty, Richmond and North Florida in its first three games by a combined total of 25-6. Five Bulls hit better than .500 through opening weekend and the pitching staff comes in with a 1.33 ERA having allowed just four earned runs.
The FGCU pitching staff put together about as good a weekend as a staff can against Rhode Island, compiling a 1.25 ERA over 36 innings, giving up just five earned runs and even more astonishingly, walking only three batters the entire weekend while striking out 29. The Eagles went two complete games against Rhody without walking a batter. Perhaps no performance was more stellar than that of Sterling Koerner (Fort Pierce, Fla./John Carrol HS). The freshman came on Sunday afternoon in relief and tossed 5.2 innings of three hit ball without allowing an earned run and striking out five with the Eagles trailing at the time of his entry. Head coach Dave Tollett would call the performance “the best long relief appearance he’s ever had here.”
Michael Suchy (Bradenton, Fla./Southeast HS) kicked off 2014 going 6-13 over the first four games, driving in a team-high five runs and slugging .846 with a double and two triples. Second baseman Jake Noll (Punta Gorda, Fla./Charlotte HS) began his career in the Green and Blue with a 6-15 weekend, driving in two and swiping three bags.
PRESEASON A-SUN AWARDS
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.
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.
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.