#5 Miami Hurricanes
5/7/2014 | Coral Gables, Fla. | Attendance: 2601
|Win: Thomas Woodrey
CORAL GABLES, Fla. – The FGCU baseball team (32-17, 15-6 Atlantic Sun) will make one last trip to Coral Gables on Wednesday to conclude the non-conference slate with a matchup against No. 5 Miami (34-14, 19-5 ACC) and will have just six A-Sun games remaining before the conclusion of the 2014 regular season.
The Eagles will send Nick Deckert (Tallahassee, Fla./Tallahassee CC) to the mound to make his third-consecutive midweek start. The junior left-hander is 6-4 this season with a 3.19 ERA and has struck out 62 batters which ranks second in the A-Sun. FGCU has 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.
SCOUTING NO. 5 MIAMI
The Hurricanes have gone 20-2 since knocking off the Eagles when they last met in Coral Gables on Mar. 26. Willie Abreu is the lone Miami bat hitting above .300 this season with a .308 mark while six others have a .250 mark or better. Chris Diaz at 8-0 has paced the pitching staff with a 2.15 ERA but it will be Javi Salas on the mound on Wednesday. Salas is 3-3 with a 3.62 ERA and has struck out 30. Most notably, Salas threw a perfect game against Villanova on Mar. 4 in a 17-0 win.
The Green and Blue have dug a 1-9 hole in the series against the Hurricanes heading into Wednesday night’s game. These two teams have already met twice this season. In their first meeting at Hammond Stadium the two programs dueled into extra-innings, the first and only trip to extras for the Eagles this season, where UM ultimately came away with a 5-2 victory. In the second meeting this year it was Miami again coming away with a victory, this time 4-0 in Coral Gables.
HEAD COACHING MATCHUP
In 12 seasons of work, FGCU head coach Dave Tollett has compiled a 426-233-2 record as the only head coach in the program’s history. He will match up with Jim Morris who is in his 21st season at UM and has compiled an 887-361-3 in that time. If you add his 12 seasons at the helm of Georgia Tech, Morris has an overall record of 1,354-583-4 Division I record in 32 years as a head coach
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.
Mike Murray (West Palm Beach, Fla./Forrest Hill HS), 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 two more starts 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.
Miami defeated FGCU as the No. 1 team in the nation in 2008 by a score of 4-2 in 11 innings. FGCU then took on No. 1 Florida in Gainesville in a three-game series in 2012 but were swept. The Eagles are 11-29 all-time against nationally ranked opponents, 3-15 against teams ranked in the top 10 and 1-8 against those ranked in the top five. FGCU is currently 1-4 against ranked teams this season.
LAST TIME OUT
The Eagles scored 22 runs on Sunday afternoon, a season-high and the most since becoming a Division-I program at to complete a sweep and remain unbeaten against the Norse. FGCU collected 47 runs throughout the series at NKU, by far the most of any series this season and second most in a series since becoming Division-I (49 at ETSU, May 2009). The Eagles have now outscored NKU 68-28 in six meetings since the Norse joined the A-Sun last season. Jake Noll (Punta Gorda, Fla./Charlotte HS) collected nine hits, four doubles, scored six times and drove in four runs in the series including a 5-7, three double performance on Sunday. FGCU hit nine homeruns in the series after coming into the weekend with just 16 homeruns in the previous 46 games this season.
FGCU ranks second in the A-Sun in batting (.298) and second in pitching with a 3.14 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 .356 batting average and second in hits and third in the nation with 82. While Murray collects all the recognition on the mound, Jack English (Delray Beach, Fla./Cardinal Newman HS) and Deckert are quietly putting together dominant seasons of their own, posting 2.76 and 3.19 ERA’s which rank second and fourth in the A-Sun, respectively. 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.
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 (15-6, 32-17)
3 - Lipscomb (14-7, 27-21)
4 – Kennesaw State (11-9, 26-20)
5 – ETSU (11-9, 24-22)
6 – North Florida (9-12, 20-24)
7 – Stetson (9-12, 20-29)
8 - Jacksonville (8-12, 15-27)
9 - NKU (6-15, 13-31)
10 - USC Upstate (4-16, 14-33)
A-SUN OPPONENTS RPI
21 - Mercer
83 - Kennesaw State
84 – FGCU
141 - Jacksonville
152 - Lipscomb
161 - North Florida
191 - ETSU
204 - Stetson
245 - Northern Kentucky
258 - USC Upstate
NON-CONFERENCE OPPONENTS RPI
2 – Florida
3 – Florida State
18 - Miami
69 – Illinois
100 - Florida Atlantic
137 - Michigan
148 - South Florida
221 - Florida A&M
232 - Bethune-Cookman
255 - Rhode Island
275 – Manhattan
The Green and Blue return home for senior weekend to take on defending A-Sun tournament champions ETSU (24-22, 11-9 A-Sun) in a three-game set at Swanson Stadium. The series is set to begin on Friday at 6:30 p.m.
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.