#FGCU Completes Sweep of ETSU, Moves into First Place in the A-Sun
WP | Garrett Anderson (3-2): 3.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 2 SO
LP | Jamin McCann (3-4): 3.1 IP, 8 H, 8 R, 8 ER, 1 BB, 3 SO
SV | Zack Tillery (3): 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 SO
FORT MYERS, Fla. – On a day the FGCU baseball team (35-18, 18-6 Atlantic Sun) honored its graduating seniors, the Eagles would spray 13 hits en route to an 8-7 defeat of ETSU (24-26, 11-12 A-Sun), secured a series sweep of the Buccaneers and moved into sole possession of first place in the A-Sun.
Stetson (22-31, 11-13 A-Sun) took two of three from No. 24 Mercer (36-13, 17-7 A-Sun) in Macon, Ga. allowing FGCU with the sweep to move into the top spot in the league standings. The Eagles will head into the final weekend of the regular season at Lipscomb (28-24, 15-9 A-Sun) in control of their own destiny as they play for a fourth A-Sun Regular Season Championship.
“This was a big weekend for us,” head coach Dave Tollett added. “I’ve said all year how important sweeps are in this league and the way things played out today proves that. We have a chance to control our own destiny now and that’s all you can ask for. We need to finish the job now.”
Jack English (Delray Beach, Fla./Cardinal Newman HS) made his eleventh start of the year for the Green and Blue and tossed 4.1 innings while allowing five runs and striking out two. He would not factor in the decision. Freshman Garrett Anderson (Arcadia, Fla./DeSoto HS) came on in relief of English and worked through 3.0 innings, allowed two runs and struck out two to earn his third win of the season out of the pen. Zack Tillery (Naples, Fla./Barron Collier HS) pitched a perfect ninth to secure his third save of the year.
At the plate, five different Eagles would register multiple hits and six would pick up at least one RBI. Jake Noll (Punta Gorda, Fla./Charlotte HS) went 3-5 at the plate to extend his hitting streak to 15 games, scored twice, drove in a run and stole a base extending his FGCU single-season record total to 24. Noll is now in hot pursuit of the single-season hits crown. The record currently stands at 99 hits set back in 2010 by Mikel Alvarez; Noll has picked up 90 hits this season.
Michael Suchy (Bradenton, Fla./Southeast HS) collected three hits of his own, including his eighth homerun of the year, scored twice and drove in three. Tillery, Colton Bottomley (Parkland, Fla./Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS) and Cody Hoffner (Sebring, Fla./Broward College) each added two hits and drove in a run. Hoffner’s RBI came in the form of a solo homerun, his fifth of the year.
FGCU struck first in this one and it did so before an out was recorded in the bottom of the fist. Noll led off with a single and two pitches later, Suchy lifted his two-run shot over the left field wall to give the Eagles the early lead. ETSU responded with a run in the second and three more in the third to take a 4-2 lead but the advantage did not last very long.
A Noll single and stolen base led to a Nick Rivera (Cape Coral, Fla./Bishop Verot HS) ground ball that allowed Noll to come around and score, cutting the lead to 4-3 in the third. In the fourth, the Eagles piled on five runs on six hits to jump ahead 8-4. Hoffner led off the inning with his solo shot off of the new ETSU pitcher. With one out it was Noll again singling up the middle to drive in the go-ahead-run. Suchy came to the plate next and singled to drive in one more and at the time extend the lead 6-4. Tillery and Bottomley would each drive in runs later in the inning to complete the FGCU scoring for the afternoon.
ETSU picked up a run in the fifth and chipped away even further in the eighth with two runs, making it 8-7 heading into the ninth. Tillery came in and worked very efficiently, picking up a strikeout, a fly-out and a groundout while throwing just six pitches to get the job done and earn his third save.
With Jacksonville’s (17-30, 10-13 A-Sun) win over USC Upstate (15-36, 5-18 A-Sun) on Sunday, the A-Sun Tournament field is now set with only the seeds left to be determined. Mercer, Lipscomb, Kennesaw State (30-20, 14-9 A-Sun), ETSU, North Florida (22-26, 11-13 A-Sun) and Stetson will be making the trip to Swanson Stadium less than two weeks from now.
Andrew Valencia (Miami, Fla./Gulliver Prep) graduates from the program with 115 starts behind the plate to this point in his career. The Miami native has posted a career .223 batting average to go with six homeruns and 66 RBI. He has also posted a .990 fielding percentage and has thrown out 41 runners which ranks second all-time in FGCU history. Liam Rafferty (Ashburnham, Mass./Sacred Heart Univ.) transferred in to FGCU last season and has appeared in four games in 2014 for a combined 2.0 innings on the mound. Finally the Eagles honored their student assistant coach Wesley Sargent (Palm Harbor, Fla./East Lake HS) who wore the uniform as a player for two seasons before moving into an assistant coaching role each of the last two seasons. Sargent has assisted with player development as well as general operations within the program.
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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.