5/9/2014 | Fort Myers, Fla. | Attendance: 344
(24-25, 11-11 A-Sun)
(34-18, 17-6 A-Sun)
5/10/2014 | Fort Myers, Fla. | Attendance: 362
(24-26, 11-12 A-Sun)
(35-18, 18-6 A-Sun)
5/11/2014 | Fort Myers, Fla. | Attendance: 271
GAME 1 – Friday May 9, 2014 – 6:30 p.m.
FGCU | Mike Murray (11-0): 1.51 ERA, 89.2 IP, 73 H, 23 R, 15 ER, 12 BB, 71 SO
ETSU | Jared Burton (1-1): 6.35 ERA, 28.1 IP, 40 H, 27 R, 20 ER, 8 BB, 19 SO
GAME 2 – Saturday May 10, 2014 – 2 p.m.
FGCU | Brady Anderson (3-2): 2.83 ERA, 47.2 IP, 51 H, 22 R, 15 ER, 9 BB, 37 SO
ETSU | Jimmy Nesselt (6-4): 4.00 ERA, 81.0 IP, 96 H, 45 R, 36 ER, 19 BB, 47 SO
GAME 3 – Sunday May 11, 2014 – 1 p.m.
FGCU | Jack English (3-3): 2.76 ERA, 58.2 IP, 51 H, 28 R, 18 ER, 23 BB, 44 SO
ETSU | Jamin McCann (3-3): 3.99 ERA, 49.2 IP, 59 H, 24 R, 22 ER, 11 BB, 20 SO
FORT MYERS, Fla. – The FGCU baseball team (32-18, 15-6 Atlantic Sun) returns home this weekend to host defending A-Sun Tournament Champion ETSU (24-23, 11-9 A-Sun) and to conclude the regular season home schedule at Swanson Stadium in a three-game set that will close with a tribute to its seniors on Sunday.
Mike Murray (West Palm Beach, Fla./Forrest Hill HS) will be in pursuit of history when he takes the mound on Friday night. A win will give him 12 for the season and will be an FGCU single-season record, surpassing MLB All-Star Chris Sale’s mark set in 2010. The 11 victories he currently possesses already lead the nation in that category. He will square off with Jared Burton of ETSU who will be making his first start of the season in his 26th appearance.
Senior day festivities will take place prior the series finale with ETSU on Sunday. Andrew Valencia (Miami, Fla./Gulliver Prep) will graduate from the program with 114 starts behind the plate to this point in his career. The Miami native has posted a career .223 batting average to go with six homeruns and 66 RBI. He has also posted a .990 fielding percentage and has thrown out 41 runners which ranks second all-time in FGCU history. Liam Rafferty (Ashburnham, Mass./Sacred Heart Univ.) transferred in to FGCU last season and has appeared in four games in 2014 for a combined 2.0 innings on the mound. Finally the Eagles will honor their student assistant coach Wesley Sargent (Palm Harbor, Fla./East Lake HS) who wore the uniform as a player for two seasons before moving into an assistant coaching role each of the last two seasons. Sargent has assisted with player development as well as general operations within the program.
ETSU is coming off of a sweep of USC Upstate last weekend and has since split its midweek action entering the series with FGCU. Clinton Freeman leads the way at the plate with a .344 batting average, 48 RBI and 10 homeruns. No other regular starter has an average above .300. Jared Burton (6.35 ERA), Jimmy Nesselt (4.00 ERA) and Jamin McCann (3.99 ERA) will take the mound this weekend for ETSU.
The Eagles lead the all-time series against the Buccaneers 13-6. The Green and Blue took two of three from ETSU in Johnson City last season and outscored the Bucs 15-14. All three games in the series were decided by just one run.
HEAD COACHING MATCHUP
In 12 seasons of work, FGCU head coach Dave Tollett has compiled a 426-234-2 record as the only head coach in the program’s history. He will match up with Tony Skole who is in his 15th season at the helm of ETSU and is 390-437 in the span.
Murray, a three-time A-Sun Pitcher of the Week, worked through 6.0 innings in his last start at NKU and gave up nine hits to go with four earned runs while walking two and striking out six in an 8-5 victory, extending his league-lead in punch outs to 71 and bringing his A-Sun leading ERA to 1.51. Murray is one of just two pitchers in FGCU history to win double-digit games along with fellow wins-record holder Chris Sale. He is also one of just nine pitchers in the A-Sun in the last 10 years to win double-digit games in a season. Murray is on pace for at least one more start after his upcoming one this weekend before the conclusion of the regular season.
The sophomore has been named to the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Player of the Year watch list and the College Baseball Hall of Fame Pitcher of the Year watch list in recognition of the stellar season he is putting together. His name is mentioned alongside players from all of the power conferences including in-state rivals and perennial college baseball powers, Florida State, Miami and Florida. He is the only player on the College Baseball Hall of Fame watch list that comes from the A-Sun.
Earlier this season Murray became just the second pitcher in FGCU history to throw back-to-back complete games. Ricky Knapp did so in March of 2012 when he went the distance against North Florida and East Tennessee State in consecutive outings. During his streak of 43.1 innings without allowing an earned run that was snapped at Stetson, Murray’s ERA dropped as low as 0.18 at one point. The West Palm Beach native was named to the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award 50-man midseason watch list. The award recognizes the top amateur baseball player in the country.
Michael Suchy (Bradenton, Fla./Southeast HS) put together an enormous weekend at NKU, going 8-12 at the plate with three homeruns, eight RBI, nine runs scored and five walks. For his efforts he was named the Atlantic Sun Player of the Week by the conference office on Monday. Last Friday night Suchy went 3-4 at the plate with a homerun and a pair of runs scored. The junior stayed hot on Saturday, launching a pair of long balls, one of which was a grand slam to account for his five RBI that afternoon. Suchy completed his dominant weekend with a pair of doubles on Sunday and two more RBI. By the end of the series the Bradenton, Fla. native had compiled a 1.667 slugging percentage and a .778 on base percentage.
In 36 fewer at bats, Suchy is either quickly approaching or has already surpassed some of his 2013 statistical totals. He is hitting .321 as opposed to .314 last season. He has already scored seven more runs, giving him 44 for the season which rank second in the A-Sun, doubled four more times, tripled his triples total and is just two homeruns and five RBI shy of his 2013 totals. His 41 RBI currently rank fifth in the A-Sun.
FGCU ranks third in the A-Sun in batting (.295) and second in pitching with a 3.23 team ERA. The single-season ERA record in the A-Sun is 2.40. Jake Noll (Punta Gorda, Fla./Charlotte HS) sits in fifth in the A-Sun with a .364 batting average and second in hits and third in the nation with 83. While Murray collects all the recognition on the mound, Jack English (Delray Beach, Fla./Cardinal Newman HS) is quietly putting together a dominant season of his own, posting 2.76 ERA which ranks third in the A-Sun. Noll and Gage Morey (West Palm Beach, Fla./PB Central) have set the league standard in the stolen base department with 22 and 13 which rank No. 1 and No. 2, respectively. With 22 stolen bases, Noll is the FGCU single-season record holder in that category. Nick Rivera (Cape Coral, Fla./Bishop Verot HS) sits atop the A-Sun with 19 doubles and ranks in a tie for 10th in the nation in that category.
LAST TIME OUT
Nick Deckert (Tallahassee, Fla./Tallahassee CC) took the loss, 7-3, and worked through 2.1 innings on Wednesday night at No. 5 Miami, surrendering four runs on five hits and striking out two before giving way to freshman Garrett Anderson (Arcadia, Fla./DeSoto HS). Anderson pitched well in 3.1 innings on the hill, striking out three, allowing just one run and putting together a stretch during which he retired eight-consecutive Miami hitters. Andris Gonzalez (Miami, Fla./Indian River State College) relieved Anderson and got the first out of the seventh before giving way Sterling Koerner (Fort Pierce, Fla./John Carrol HS) who allowed two runs to come in. Mario Leon (Naples, Fla./Gulf Coast HS) closed out the effort on the mound for the Eagles with a scoreless eighth to his credit.
Noll went 1-4 at the plate, extending his team-best hitting streak to 12 games. No Eagle would register multiple hits in this one and only Cody Hoffner (Sebring, Fla./Broward College) and Rivera would pick up RBI’s while Colton Bottomley (Parkland, Fla./Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS) scored two runs and reached base three times in a 1-3 effort.
FGCU had won each of the last two midweek games with Deckert on the hill, defeating USF and FAU in consecutive weeks. In his last outing against FAU, the Tallahassee native worked through 3.0 innings and allowed just one run to pick up his sixth victory.
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.
1 - Mercer (16-5, 35-11)
2 - FGCU (15-6, 32-18)
3 - Lipscomb (14-7, 27-22)
4 – Kennesaw State (11-9, 27-20)
5 – ETSU (11-9, 24-23)
6 – North Florida (9-12, 20-25)
7 – Stetson (9-12, 20-30)
8 - Jacksonville (8-12, 15-29)
9 - NKU (6-15, 14-31)
10 - USC Upstate (4-16, 14-34)
A-SUN OPPONENTS RPI
21 - Mercer
81 - Kennesaw State
82 – FGCU
157 – Jacksonville
163 - North Florida
177 - Lipscomb
198 - ETSU
205 - Stetson
247 - Northern Kentucky
259 - USC Upstate
NON-CONFERENCE OPPONENTS RPI
2 – Florida
3 – Florida State
16 - Miami
63 – Illinois
94 - Florida Atlantic
125 - Michigan
132 - South Florida
208 - Florida A&M
228 - Bethune-Cookman
256 - Rhode Island
278 – Manhattan
The Eagles conclude the regular season next weekend on the road at Lipscomb (27-22, 14-7 A-Sun) who currently resides in third-place in the A-Sun standings behind Mercer and FGCU in that order. The first game will take place on Thursday at 6 p.m. and continues on Friday at 6 p.m. once again before concluding on Saturday at 1 p.m. The official seeding for the A-Sun Tournament will be announced on Sunday.
Full coverage of each game including live stats can be found at FGCUAthletics.com. If you can’t reach a computer, follow @FGCU_Baseball on Twitter or “like” FGCU Baseball on Facebook for daily news, photos and a constant stream of live updates during each game.
ATLANTIC SUN CHAMPIONSHIP
For the first time in program history, the FGCU baseball team will play host to the 2014 Atlantic Sun Baseball Championship set to take place May 21-25 at Swanson Stadium. The top eight teams in the standings at the end of the regular season will advance to the championship and compete in a double-elimination style tournament to determine the A-Sun’s automatic qualifier to the NCAA Tournament. The Eagles are three-time A-Sun Regular Season Champions and finished second in the league last season.
Tickets to the 2014 Atlantic Sun Championship are now available. General admission day passes are available for $10 and tournament passes can be purchased for $45. Reserved seating day passes are available for $15 and tournament reserved seating passes are available for $55. For more information and additional deals, visit FGCUathletics.com/tickets, or call the ticket office at 239-590-7145.