@FGCU_Baseball Claims Fourth #ASunBSB Regular Season Championship
The FGCU baseball team (36-20, 19-8 Atlantic Sun) earned its fourth A-Sun Regular Season Championship and first since 2010 with the combination of a 3-2 win over Lipscomb (30-26, 17-10 A-Sun) and a loss by Mercer (37-15, 17-9 A-Sun) at ETSU (26-27, 13-12 A-Sun) on Friday evening. The Eagles will enter the A-Sun Championship Tournament as the No. 1 overall seed on their home field – Swanson Stadium – when the tournament begins next Wednesday (May 21).
FGCU won three-consecutive A-Sun Regular Season Championship from 2008-10 upon arriving to the ranks of Division-I but were not eligible for postseason play in any of those seasons due to NCAA reclassification rules. This will be the first time that FGCU heads into postseason play as the No. 1 seed in the A-Sun.
“This is a tremendous accomplishment for such a young club,” head coach Dave Tollett added. “These guys have overcome a lot and have grown up very quickly. They learned on the fly this season and this accomplishment is the first of many on our list. We can go a long way if we play the way we know how. Now everyone else has to come to us. No question, you couldn’t ask for a better opportunity than the one we have next week.”
Brady Anderson (Arcadia, Fla./DeSoto HS) made the start on the mound in the first game of the doubleheader and tossed a very strong 7.1 innings, allowed just six hits and did surrender an earned run. He would walk four batters and strikeout six en route to earning his fifth victory of the season and lowering his ERA to 2.18 – which ranks second in the A-Sun behind teammate Michael Murray (West Palm Beach, Fla./Forrest Hill HS). Zack Tillery (Naples, Fla./Barron Collier HS) came on in the ninth and nailed down his fourth save of the season to clinch a share of the regular season crown at the time. Mercer fell to ETSU a short time later in the night to lock up the championship outright.
Jake Noll (Punta Gorda, Fla./Charlotte HS) picked up a pair of hits in each game on Friday to go 4-9 overall and extend his team-best hitting streak to 18 games. He also concludes the regular season with 96 hits, just three-shy now of the FGCU single-season record of 99. Tillery more-or-less manufactured his own save opportunity with a go-ahead solo homerun in the eighth inning of game one, his fifth of the season.
Lipscomb took the lead early in game one with a run in the bottom half of the first, manufactured by an FGCU error. The Eagles would tie the score, 1-1, on a Colton Bottomley (Parkland, Fla./Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS) solo homerun to lead off the fourth and take the lead in the top of the fifth on a bases loaded wild pitch that allowed Gage Morey (West Palm Beach, Fla./PB Central) to score on the play.
Lipscomb tied the score in the bottom of the fifth and the two teams dueled into the eighth until Tillery lifted his shot over the wall in left-center to give the Eagles the lead indefinitely. Sterling Koerner (Fort Pierce, Fla./John Carrol HS) relieved and Anderson and worked out a jam in the eighth before Tillery came on to shut the door in the ninth.
In game two, it was FGCU getting on the board first with Jack English (Delray Beach, Fla./Cardinal Newman HS) on the mound. After leaving the bases loaded in the second, FGCU came to the plate in the third and Noll led off with a double and advanced on a fly out from Bottomley. Michael Suchy (Bradenton, Fla./Southeast HS) hit a sacrifice fly that allowed Noll to score but that was all the Eagles would get in this one. English surrendered the lead in the bottom of the fourth and trailed 2-1 when he left the game in the fourth in favor of lefty Nick Deckert (Tallahassee, Fla./Tallahassee CC).
The Bisons would tack on runs in the sixth, seventh and eighth to account for the 7-1 difference at the end of the game. English would take the loss and move to 3-4 on the season. FGCU does still lead the all-time series despite dropping two of three to Lipscomb this weekend, 13-9. It is only the second lost three-game series for the Green and Blue this season.
Full coverage of each game including live stats and video 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 Atlantic Sun Regular Season Champion 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 now FOUR-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 $35. 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.