No. 26 @FGCU_Baseball Prepares for Mid-Week Contest with BIG EAST Foe USF
|Win: KNOBLAUCH (3-0)||3.2||0||0||0||2||4|
|Loss: CLARKSON (1-4)||4.1||5||4||4||5||2|
FORT MYERS, Fla. – Marking the final contest in the four-game road trip, the No. 26 FGCU baseball team is set to take on BIG EAST foe USF on Tuesday evening beginning at 7:00 p.m at the USF Baseball Stadium in Tampa, Fla.
FGCU enters the mid-week contest with a 15-5 record on the year following a 2-1 series victory over ETSU to begin Atlantic Sun Conference action last weekend. FGCU took the first game, 3-2 last Friday night behind an eight-inning performance by junior righthander Ricky Knapp (Port Charlotte, Fla./Port Charlotte HS). The Eagles dropped the first game of a doubleheader last Saturday afternoon, 3-2 but won the rubber match later that evening in a 10-9 slugfest.
The Green and Blue stayed in the No. 26 spot in the latest release of the Collegiate Baseball Top 30 poll, announced by the media outlet on Monday afternoon. The Eagles were listed among “others to watch” by Perfect Game for the fourth-straight week and remained No. 11 in the latest edition of the College Baseball Daily Mid-Major Poll.
The Eagles will send sophomore right-hander Zack Tillery (Naples, Fla./Barron Collier HS) to the mound to start the contest with the Bulls. Through four starts this season, the Naples, Fla. product is 2-1 with a 2.08 ERA and a .247 opponent batting average, recording 11 strikeouts and seven walks in 21.2 innings of work. In his last start against Western Michigan (Mar. 10), Tillery supplied seven innings on the mound, allowing one unearned run on five hits while recording four punchouts in the winning performance. The victory over WMU was the second-straight win for the second-year arm, who also led the Eagles to a triumph over Big Ten foe Michigan (Mar. 4), allowing just one hit in his six frames on the mound, recording a trio of strikeouts.
Offensively, the Green and Blue are led by redshirt senior Brooks Beisner (Punta Gorda, Fla./Charlotte HS/Auburn), leading the squad with a .392 average and a team-best .633 slugging and .451 on-base percentage. Driving in 13 runs scored, the Punta Gorda, Fla. native has connected for a team-high four home runs and also matched a team-high 17 RBI.
Scoring a team-high 23 times, junior utility man Brandon Bednar (Stuart, Fla./South Fork HS) has also driven 19 RBI. While leading the team with three stolen bases, Bednar holds a .379 average, good for second on the team, with a .563 slugging percentage and a .415 on-base percentage.
With 18 RBI and 16 runs scored, junior Sean Dwyer (Tavares, Fla./Tavares HS) is connecting at a .342 clip, adding a trio of home runs and a .419 on-base percentage. Senior catcher Mike Reeves (Peterborough, Ontario/St. Peter’s Secondary) and freshman Nick Rivera (Cape Coral, Fla./Bishop Verot HS) are hitting .342 and .328, respectively, combining for 24 runs scored and 17 RBI.
This marks the first contest between the two clubs since 2011, with FGCU holding a 5-1 record over the Bulls all-time. The Eagles took two games from USF in a home-and-home series in 2011, defeating the Bulls, 3-2, in Tampa and rolling to a 9-5 victory at Swanson Stadium later in the year.
The Bulls enter Tuesday with a 13-11 overall record following a weekend sweep of Cincinnati in their Big East opening weekend. Offensively, the Bulls are led by Nik Alfonso, who leads the team with a .393 BA. South Florida has four batters batting over .300 and five over .299. The pitching staff is bolstered by Jimmy Herget, who leads the team with a 1.78 ERA. Joey Lovecchio leads the team in wins (3) and tied for game starts (6). Nick Gonzalez leads the team in innings pitched (31.2) and strikeouts (36).
The Bulls will send out sophomore Mike Carlson. Carlson is 1-3 in five appearances and four starts on the season with a 3.26 ERA. In 19.1 innings pitched, the right hander has allowed nine runs on 19 hits, while fanning eight batters. Carlson holds an opponent’s batting average of .257.
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.
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