#FGCU and No. 9 Florida Set to do Battle at Hammond Stadium
Monday, April 14, 2014 | by Matt Moretti III (@Moretts13)
Photo Courtesy: Linwood Ferguson
Photo Courtesy: Linwood Ferguson
Florida (24-13)
FGCU (24-14)
4/15/2014 | Fort Myers, Fla. | Attendance: 3493
Win: Ryan Harris (2-0) 2.010000
Loss: ANDERSON (2-2) 4.094303
Richie Martin (UF) 523100
Taylor Gushue (UF) 413200
SUCHY (FGCU) 302100

April 15, 2014 | 6:30 PM | Hammond Stadium

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FORT MYERS, Fla. – The FGCU baseball team (24-13, 9-3 Atlantic Sun) will visit Hammond Stadium, the home of the Fort Myers Miracle and spring training home of the Minnesota Twins, tomorrow night for an instate showdown with No. 9 Florida (23-13, 9-6 SEC) in a rubber match to determine who can claim bragging rights for 2014.

This is sixth-straight season that the Eagles have hosted at least one game in Hammond Stadium and the pair of games this year will bring the total number of FGCU games played there to ten. The Green and Blue played three games at Hammond Stadium during their inaugural season in 2003, returned in 2009 for a game with Florida and have played one game there every year since against either Miami (Fla.) or Florida. In the first matchup at Hammond this season, the Eagles fell 5-2 to No. 25 Miami in extra innings.

The Eagles trail the Gators in the all-time series 8-5, with 11 of those 13 games played in Gainesville. However the Eagles took three out of four games from the Gators last season including a three game sweep in Gainesville. Earlier this season, FGCU dropped UF on the road, 2-1, behind a brilliant performance on the mound from Mike Murray (West Palm Beach, Fla./Forrest Hill HS). The win would serve as the 400th in the career of FGCU head coach Dave Tollett. Florida would take the second game of the series, 4-0, a couple days later to even things up.

The Gators, who enter the matchup with the No. 1 RPI in the nation, are coming off a three-game series with then fourth-ranked South Carolina, a series in which the Gators won two out of three. They also beat the No. 1 team in the country, Florida State, 8-0, prior to that three-game set with the Gamecocks. The Gators are 14-7 this year in non-conference games while they are 9-6 in the SEC which currently has eight teams ranked inside the top 25 in the Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball polls. The Gators’ pitching staff is carrying a combined ERA of 3.51 and they have two everyday players, Taylor Gushue and Braden Mattson, who are batting above .320.

Brady Anderson (Arcadia, Fla./DeSoto HS) will take the mound for the Green and Blue on Tuesday evening to make his third start of the year after beginning the season as the Eagles’ closer, registering seven saves. He has since converted to a starter and in his first nod he tossed 6.0 innings of three-hit ball against the No. 1 team in the land, Florida State. Opposite FAU last Wednesday, the Arcadia native struck out a career-high nine batters over 5.0 shutout innings before coming on in relief on Saturday at Jacksonville to throw 2.1 more scoreless frames.  

In 12 seasons of work, FGCU head coach Dave Tollett has compiled a 418-229-2 record as the only head coach in the program’s history. He will matchup with Kevin O’Sullivan who is in his seventh year with the Gators and boasts an overall record of 275-145.

Jack English
(Delray Beach, Fla./Cardinal Newman HS) took the mound in what was arguably the best outing of his career. He tossed 7.1 innings of shutout ball, striking out three and giving up six hits before a runner he was responsible for came around to score in the eighth. Jacksonville’s Justin Russell matched English pitch-for-pitch in this one, taking a perfect game into the eighth before ultimately limiting the Eagles to three hits in a complete game effort. The Eagles would go down 1-0.

Nick Rivera (Cape Coral, Fla./Bishop Verot HS) picked up the hit that broke up the perfect game in the eighth, finishing 1-3. Colton Bottomley (Davie, Fla./Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS) saw his 11-game hit streak come to an end with an 0-4 effort while Zack Tillery (Naples, Fla./Barron Collier HS) also had his streak of 11 consecutive games reaching base ended as well.

1 - Lipscomb (24-13, 12-3)

2 - FGCU (24-13, 9-3)
3 - Mercer (28-10, 11-4)
4 - ETSU (18-17, 7-5)
5 - North Florida (15-21, 6-9)
6 - Northern Kentucky^ (11-22, 5-7)
7 - Kennesaw State (19-20, 6-9)
8 - Jacksonville (12-23, 6-9)
9 - USC Upstate (14-25, 4-11)
10 - Stetson (14-23, 3-9)

30 - Mercer

93 - Lipscomb
125 - Kennesaw State
132 - FGCU
171 - Jacksonville
187 - North Florida
196 - ETSU
241 - Stetson
243 - Northern Kentucky
245 - USC Upstate

1 - Florida
20 - Miami
95 - Illinois
109 - Michigan
166 - South Florida
170 - Florida Atlantic
233 - Bethune-Cookman
240 - Florida A&M
279 - Rhode Island

283 - Manhattan

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.

Reserved tickets will be $10 and youth reserved for children 12 and under will only cost $7. General admission tickets are available for $7 for adults and $4 for children 12 and under. Tickets can be purchased by calling the FGCU Ticket Office at 239-590-7145 and will be available for pick-up if need be at Hammond Stadium on game day. Tickets will also be sold outside of the stadium by FGCU Ticket Office representatives.

All media and photographer credential requests for the game at Hammond Stadium should be directed to Matt Moretti III (mmoretti@fgcu.edu). Credentials will be available for pick up at the FGCU ticket tables at Hammond Stadium on the day of the game.

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.

Single-game tickets for FGCU Baseball are available at a cost of $6 for adults and $3 for children. Season tickets and tickets to the 2014 Atlantic Sun Championship are also available. For more information and additional deals, visit FGCUathletics.com/tickets, or call the ticket office at 239-590-7145.