4/29/2014 | Boca Raton, Fla. | Attendance: 281
|Loss: Seth McGarry
Probable Starters – Tuesday, Apr. 29 – 6:30 PM
FGCU | Nick Deckert (5-4): 3.20 ERA, 64.2 IP, 83 H, 31 R, 23 ER, 11 BB, 59 SO
FAU | Kyle Miller (0-0): 7.20 ERA, 5.0 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 3 SO
BOCA RATON, Fla. – The FGCU baseball team (28-17, 12-6 Atlantic Sun) will travel to Florida Atlantic (22-21, 10-14 C-USA) on Tuesday for a mid-week matchup that is three weeks overdue as the scheduled meeting in Boca Raton on Apr. 8 was pushed back due to rain. The Eagles will be looking to sweep the season series from FAU before continuing A-Sun play next weekend.
Nick Deckert (Tallahassee, Fla./Tallahassee CC) took the mound on Saturday afternoon and would work through 3.2 innings, giving up seven hits, two runs and struck out three before ultimately taking the loss to Mercer. Deckert also started the mid-week game at USF for FGCU and cruised through 2.0 innings but would not factor in the decision. The junior is currently holding a 3.20 ERA and is second in the A-Sun with 59 strikeouts behind his teammate Mike Murray (West Palm Beach, Fla./Forrest Hill HS) who has 65.
The Owls enter their matchup with the Green and Blue having lost three of their last four including a loss to Miami and a pair of losses to C-USA foe East Carolina at home over the weekend. Stephen Kerr and Brendon Sanger are the only two players batting above .300 with .329 and .316 averages, respectively. Drew Jackson (5-2, 2.70 ERA) has been the ace on the mound for FAU but it will be Kyle Miller who will make his first start of the season on Tuesday. Miller is currently 0-0 in five appearances this season with a 7.20 ERA in 5.0 innings on the mound. He has given up six hits, allowed four runs, walked two and struck out three.
These two programs have met 12 times and FGCU leads the series 8-4 entering Tuesday’s tilt. Earlier this month the Eagles shutout the Owls, 1-0 at Swanson Stadium in a game that saw just seven hits combined. Last season was the first time that the Eagles did not come away with at least one win, dropping both meetings with the Owls by a combined score of 18-8.
HEAD COACH MATCHUP
In 12 seasons of work, FGCU head coach Dave Tollett has compiled a 422-233-2 record as the only head coach in the program’s history. He will match up with John McCormack who is in his sixth season as FAU head coach after serving 11 seasons as associate head coach and has picked up 178 wins during his tenure as head coach.
On Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s this season FGCU now holds 3-6 record against the likes of USF, Michigan, Miami (Fla.) (2x), No. 1 Florida State, Florida A&M, FAU, No. 9 Florida and USF. FGCU is 2-2 on the road in mid-week action and has been outscored 44-24 overall.
LAST TIME OUT
Jack English (Delray Beach, Fla./Cardinal Newman HS) made the start on the mound for FGCU and allowed just one earned run and lowered his ERA to 2.10. This makes the third-consecutive start in which English has allowed one earned run or fewer. The junior also struck out seven Bears on Sunday afternoon which his second-most punch-outs in a start this season. It would be errors that would earn English his third loss as the only earned run came across in the seventh inning. Sterling Koerner (Fort Pierce, Fla./John Carrol HS) worked 2.2 innings of relief, gave up three hits and did not allow an earned run.
Jake Noll (Punta Gorda, Fla./Charlotte HS) went 1-5 at the plate, extending his team-leading hit streak to seven games and stole a base to make him the FGCU single-season record holder for stolen bases with 21. Michael Suchy (Bradenton, Fla./Southeast HS) homered to drive in his two runs for the afternoon and finished 2-5. The only other FGCU bat to pick up multiple hits would be Cody Hoffner (Sebring, Fla./Broward College) who checked in with a 2-4 effort and walked once.
Murray, a three-time A-Sun Pitcher of the Week, leads the league with a 1.18 ERA in 83.2 innings on the hill and has compiled a 10-0 record, making him just the second Eagle in program history to accomplish such a feat along with MLB All-Star and former National Player of the Year, Chris Sale, who holds the single-season FGCU wins record with 11.
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.
FGCU ranks fourth in the A-Sun in batting (.288) and first in pitching with a 2.95 team ERA. The single-season ERA record in the A-Sun is 2.40. Colton Bottomley (Parkland, Fla./Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS) has exploded into the fourth spot in the A-Sun with a .377 batting average while Jake Noll (Punta Gorda, Fla./Charlotte HS) sits in seventh with a .358 mark and third in hits with 72. While Murray collects all the recognition on the mound, Jack English (Delray Beach, Fla./Cardinal Newman HS) and Nick Deckert (Tallahassee, Fla./Tallahassee CC) are quietly putting together dominant seasons of their own, posting 2.26 and 3.20 ERA’s which rank third and sixth in the A-Sun, respectively. Nick Rivera (Cape Coral, Fla./Bishop Verot HS) is in a race for the league lead in doubles with 16 while Noll and Gage Morey (West Palm Beach, Fla./PB Central) have set the league standard in the stolen base department with 21 and 13 which rank No. 1 and No. 2, respectively. With 21 stolen bases, Noll is now the FGCU single-season record holder in that category.
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, 34-11)
2 - FGCU (12-6, 28-17)
3 - Lipscomb (14-7, 26-19)
4 – Kennesaw State (11-9, 25-20)
5 – ETSU (8-9, 20-22)
6 – North Florida (9-12, 19-24)
7 – Jacksonville (7-10, 14-25)
8 - Stetson (7-11, 18-28)
9 - NKU (6-12, 13-28)
10 - USC Upstate (4-13, 14-30)
A-SUN OPPONENTS RPI
21 - Mercer
94 - Kennesaw State
103 – FGCU
150 - Jacksonville
157 - Lipscomb
183 - North Florida
196 - ETSU
205 - Stetson
242 - Northern Kentucky
257 - USC Upstate
NON-CONFERENCE OPPONENTS RPI
3 – Florida
5 – Florida State
18 - Miami
82 – Illinois
135 - Florida Atlantic
136 - Michigan
144 - South Florida
216 - Florida A&M
236 - Bethune-Cookman
259 - Rhode Island
280 - Manhattan
The Eagles will return to the field next weekend to continue A-Sun play at Northern Kentucky (13-28, 6-12 A-Sun). It will be a three-game series set to begin Friday at 3 p.m. and will continue on Saturday at 1 p.m. before concluding on Sunday at Noon. The Eagles are 3-0 all-time against the Norse and will be making their first trip Highland Heights, Ky.
Full coverage of each game including live stats and internet radio 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.