FORT MYERS, Fla. – The 2014 FGCU Baseball schedule will feature six teams that participated in the 2013 NCAA Baseball Tournament, two of which came from the Atlantic Sun. The Eagles will play 27 games at Swanson Stadium, including five-straight to open the season, head coach Dave Tollett announced this week.
The six 2013 NCAA Tournament participants on the schedule are Florida, Florida Atlantic, Miami (FL), Mercer, ETSU and No. 9 Florida State. A total of 15 games are scheduled against these six opponents with six on the road and nine at home. Both A-Sun foes will visit Swanson Stadium for three-game sets.
FGCU opens the 2014 regular season at home with a four-game set against perennial Atlantic 10 power Rhode Island beginning on Valentine’s Day. The series continues with a doubleheader on Saturday followed by a single game on Sunday to conclude the set. The Eagles will close out their season-opening five-game home stretch by welcoming South Florida for a solo tilt on Feb. 18.
Next on the schedule will be a three-game set with Bethune-Cookman on the road. The Eagles will be looking for some redemption in 2014 as B-CU swept FGCU in a two-game set at Swanson Stadium last season.
The Eagles will then travel to Gainesville for a date with the Gators of Florida on Feb. 28. The Gators are just one year removed from a trip to the 2012 College World Series but were defeated three out of four times by the Eagles in 2013. FGCU will play a neutral game with Illinois after the first game with Florida then pick up the series with the Gators on Mar. 1 and close it out on Mar. 2.
FGCU returns home for a nine-game stretch that kicks off with a solo game against Michigan on Mar. 4 at 6:30 p.m. It will be the second consecutive year that the Wolverines will be making a short trip to southwest Florida. In 2013 FGCU dispatched Michigan 11-6 in the team’s only meeting of the year.
The Eagles will welcome the Manhattan Jaspers to Swanson Stadium over the weekend for a four-game series with a doubleheader on Saturday Mar. 8. FGCU welcomed the Jaspers for a four-game set in 2013 as well and took three out of four. The lone loss came in the second game of a Saturday doubleheader.
Florida A&M University will visit the following weekend for a three-game set. The Eagles took both games of a Wednesday doubleheader in 2013. In-state rival Miami will make a quick stop at Swanson Stadium to close out the home stretch, Mar. 19. A 2014 NCAA Tournament participant, the Hurricanes closed 2014 with a 37-25 record and have not played FGCU since the 2012 season where they split the season series 1-1.
The Eagles will then hit the road to get Atlantic Sun play underway by visiting USC-Upstate Mar. 21-23. FGCU took two of three from the Spartans in 2013 at Swanson Stadium. The Green and Blue will then take a quick trip to Coral Gables for another solo game with Miami on Mar. 26.
Conference play continues at Stetson on Mar. 28. The Eagles swept away the Hatters in their only three meetings of 2013 by a combined score of 32-8.
Following the set with Stetson the Eagles will head to Tallahassee for a solo game with No. 9 Florida State on Apr. 1. The Eagles dropped the only meeting with the Seminoles last season by a score of 12-9. FSU went on to the Super Regionals of the 2013 NCAA Tournament.
FGCU will stay in Tallahassee and play a quick game with FAMU the next day before coming home to open up the A-Sun home slate with Kennesaw State, Apr 4-6. The seventh-seeded Owls took down the second-seeded Eagles on Day One of the 2013 A-Sun Tournament and went on to the play in the Championship before falling to ETSU. FGCU took two of three from KSU on the road during the regular season.
The Eagles will travel to Boca Raton to play another 2013 NCAA Tournament participant Florida Atlantic in a two-game series starting Apr. 8. The Owls finished 2013 with a 42-22 record and a Sun Belt Conference Championship. They would go 3-2 in the NCAA Tournament Regional but ultimately fell to North Carolina who advanced to the final four the College World Series. These two programs met on two separate occasions last season, one at each home site, and the Owls took both.
The Green and Blue will then begin a stretch of 12-straight games against conference opponents beginning with a three-game set at Jacksonville set to start Apr. 11. The Eagles swept the Dolphins at Swanson Stadium last season.
North Florida will welcome the Eagles home for a three-game set beginning Apr. 17. The Ospreys dropped two of three to FGCU in 2013 on their home field.
The six-game home stretch concludes with defending A-Sun Regular Season Champion and 2013 NCAA Tournament participant Mercer. The three-game series, beginning Apr. 25, will feature the Bears’ 2014 NCBWA Division I Preseason All-Americans Nick Backlund and Chesney Young. The Eagles went on the road last season and were swept by the Bears. Mercer dropped two games on Day Three to get knocked out of 2013 A-Sun Tournament. In the NCAA Tournament, Mercer went 0-2.
FGCU continues the A-Sun stretch at Northern Kentucky, May 2-4. At Swanson Stadium last year, the Eagles bested the Norse in all three games by a combined score of 21-5.
The Green and Blue will take a quick break from conference play and head back to Coral Gables for a third date with Miami, May 7, before returning home to take on the defending A-Sun Champion ETSU in a three-game set beginning May 9. ETSU rode the No. 4 seed all the way to the title last season before going 0-2 in the NCAA Tournament. The Eagles took two of three from the Bucs on the road last season.
The University of South Florida hosts FGCU in Tampa on May 13 before the Eagles close out the regular season with a three-game set at Lipscomb, May15-17. The Bison eliminated FGCU from the A-Sun Tournament last season but dropped two of three to the Eagles at Swanson Stadium.
FGCU returns 2013 A-Sun Second Team selection Michael Suchy (Bradenton, Fla./Southeast HS) and All-Freshman squad choices, right-hander Michael Murray (West Palm Beach, Fla./Forest Hill HS) and infielder Nick Rivera (Cape Coral, Fla./Bishop Verot HS).
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