Top-Seeded @FGCU_Baseball Opens Up 2014 #ASunBSB Championship with UNF
Wednesday May 21, 2014 – 5 p.m.
FGCU | Mike Murray (12-1): 1.70 ERA, 100.2 IP, 84 H, 27 R, 19 ER, 13 BB, 78 SO
UNF | David Trexler (6-3): 3.44 ERA, 81.0 IP, 85 H, 37 R, 31 ER, 34 BB, 53 SO
FORT MYERS, Fla. – The FGCU baseball team (36-20, 19-8 Atlantic Sun) earned its fourth A-Sun Regular Season Championship and first since 2010 last weekend and will enter the A-Sun Championship Tournament as the No. 1 overall seed on their home field – Swanson Stadium – when the tournament begins Wednesday. The Eagles will open up the double elimination tournament against eighth-seeded North Florida (22-29, 11-16 A-Sun) on Wednesday evening at 5 p.m.
The Eagles clinched the title with a 3-2 victory over Lipscomb on the road. Brady Anderson (Arcadia, Fla./DeSoto HS) worked a dominant 7.1 innings and struck out six en route to his fifth victory this season. Mike Murray (West Palm Beach, Fla./Forrest Hill HS) puts his league-leading 1.70 ERA on the line Wednesday against fellow A-Sun First Team selection David Trexler. The Eagles are playing host to the A-Sun Baseball Championship Tournament for the first time in program history and the winner will receive the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
FGCU has beaten UNF more times entering the 2014 season than any other A-Sun opponent and hold a 16-7 advantage in the all-time series. On the road last season FGCU took two of three from the Ospreys after dropping the first game of the series, 8-7 in 11 innings. FGCU has never lost a series to UNF and came away with a sweep on two separate occasions. The Eagles won the series with North Florida this year, winning two of three at Swanson Stadium.
SCOUTING NORTH FLORIDA
The Ospreys were one of two teams chosen to finish ahead of FGCU when the preseason A-Sun rankings came out. UNF received one first place vote from the league’s coaches and 86 points overall to finish just behind Mercer (97) and 16 points clear of FGCU (73). The Osprey’s come into Wednesday night’s first round matchup with FGCU leading the conference in team batting average at .304, they also have the fifth lowest team ERA in the conference at 4.70. Outfielder and A-Sun First Team selection, Drew Weeks not only leads the A-Sun in batting average, but also has the highest batting average in the nation at .435 and is third in the A-Sun and nation with 93 hits. The Osprey’s are last in the conference in saves with only five on the year.
HEAD COACHING MATCHUP
In 12 seasons of work, FGCU head coach Dave Tollett has compiled a 431-236-2 record as the only head coach in the program’s history. He will match up with Smoke Laval who is in his fifteenth year as a head coach and second with North Florida. He boasts an overall record of 571-367-1 and a 120-99 record with the Ospreys.
In the wake of earning its fourth Atlantic Sun Regular Season Championship in program history, the FGCU baseball team has had four individuals named to the A-Sun All-Conference awards list that was announced by the league office on Tuesday afternoon. Head Coach Dave Tollett has been named A-Sun Coach of the Year for the fourth time in his career, Mike Murray has been chosen at the Pitcher of the Year, Jake Noll’s stellar rookie campaign has been rewarded with Freshman of the Year honors and Michael Suchy joins the All-Conference First Team after earning All-Academic honors on Monday.
SP | MIKE MURRAY | PITCHER OF THE YEAR | ALL-CONFERENCE FIRST TEAM
Murray (West Palm Beach, Fla./Forrest Hill HS) is having arguably the greatest season an FGCU pitcher has ever had with a program record 12 wins to his credit and an A-Sun best 1.70 ERA to go with 78 strikeouts which also leads the league. Murray is the fourth A-Sun Pitcher of the Year that FGCU has had. He joins the group of Richard Bleier (2008), Chris Sale (2010) and Ricky Knapp (2012), all of which are now playing professional baseball.
Murray is one of just nine pitchers in the A-Sun in the last 10 years to win double-digit games in a season and will start on Wednesday when the Eagles open up the A-Sun Tournament at Swanson Stadium opposite North Florida. The sophomore has also been named to the College Baseball Hall of Fame Pitcher of the Year watch list and is an NCBWA All-American nominee 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.
2B | JAKE NOLL | FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR | ALL-CONFERENCE FIRST TEAM | ALL-FRESHMAN TEAM
Noll (Punta Gorda, Fla./Charlotte HS) has been brilliant in during his freshman campaign serving as the catalyst at the top of the FGCU lineup. The Punta Gorda native has collected 96 hits this season which ranks second in the nation behind the A-Sun Player of the Year, Max Pentecost and just short of the single-season program record of 99 while also stealing an A-Sun best and FGCU single-season record 25 bases. Noll has also built a .374 batting average to go with 52 runs, 17 doubles and 28 RBI all while being the only Eagle to appear in all 56 games this season. The freshman is also working on an 18-game hit streak which is the longest of any FGCU player this season and since Josh Chester put together a 24-game hit streak in 2009. Noll is the first FGCU player in program history to earn Freshman of the Year honors and his efforts have also earned him spots on the All-Conference First Team and All-Freshman Team.
OF | MICHAEL SUCHY | ALL-CONFERENCE FIRST TEAM | ALL-ACADEMIC TEAM
Suchy (Bradenton, Fla./Southeast HS) put together his most productive season in an FGCU uniform while maintaining a 3.59 GPA in the field of Elementary Education. The junior posted a .321 batting average in 2014 to go with 70 hits, 50 runs, 15 doubles, four triples, eight homeruns and a career-best and team-high 48 RBI to help guide the Eagles to a fourth A-Sun Regular Season Championship. Suchy has been an important piece to the FGCU lineup all season long, appearing in all but one game as the right-fielder or DH.The Bradenton, Fla. native vastly improved his numbers from last season that earned him a spot on the A-Sun All-Conference Second Team. Suchy had an improved batting average this season and more runs, doubles, triples and RBI than last season. He also showed elite speed with 10 stolen bases to his credit. Suchy is widely considered by many outlets as the Eagles’ top professional prospect.
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.
A-SUN TOURNAMENT SEEDINGS
1 – FGCU (19-8, 36-20)
2 - Mercer (18-9, 38-15)
3 – Kennesaw State (17-9, 33-21)
4 – Lipscomb (17-10, 30-26)
5 – Jacksonville (13-13, 20-31)
6 – ETSU (13-13, 26-28)
7 – Stetson (13-14, 24-32)
8 – North Florida (11-16, 22-29)
DNQ – NKU (6-21, 14-37)
DNQ – USC Upstate (6-20, 17-38)
A-SUN OPPONENTS RPI
31 – Mercer
66 – Kennesaw State
72 – FGCU
162 – Jacksonville
166 – Lipscomb
167 – North Florida
192 – ETSU
194 – Stetson
259 – Northern Kentucky
261 – USC Upstate
NON-CONFERENCE OPPONENTS RPI
2 – Florida
3 – Florida State
11 – Miami
52 – Illinois
87 – Florida Atlantic
109 – Michigan
138 – South Florida
202 – Bethune-Cookman
215 – Florida A&M
272 – Manhattan
275 – Rhode Island
The 2014 Atlantic Sun Championship is being generously sponsored by Raymond Building Supply, The News Press, Wayne Wiles Floor Coverings, Culver’s, TECO Peoples Gas, Applebee’s, Naples Daily News, Moe’s Southwest Grill, McDonald’s, Beef O’ Brady’s, Allen Concrete and Masonry, Jason’s Deli and Youngquist Brothers Rock.
Full coverage of each game during the tournament including live stats and video can be found at FGCUAthletics.com/asunbaseball. The championship game on Sunday can be seen on ESPN3. 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.
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.