FORT MYERS, Fla. – The FGCU baseball team kicks off the second half of the ASUN series this weekend as the Eagles welcome Stetson to Swanson Stadium. Earlier this season, the Green and Blue swept the Hatters in DeLand in a record-breaking offensive weekend.
The Eagles are coming off a 5-1 win over FAU on Tuesday and currently sit 23-14 overall. They are looking to rebound in ASUN play after dropping two of three to North Florida this past weekend to fall to 8-7 in league play.
Against the Owls on Tuesday, Daniel Batcher and Nick Love combined to allow just one unearned run while striking out five and allowing just four hits. Joe Kinker provided the big blow in the game with a two-run home run, his team-leading 13th of the season.
The Eagles are in the top 25 in multiple categories after nine weeks of play.
Doubles – 81, 18th
Hit-by-pitch – 80, 4th
Hits – 390, 22nd
On-Base Percentage – .414, 16th
Runs – 324, 12th
Scoring – 8.8, 15th
Base on Balls – Joe Kinker34, 17th
Doubles – Brian Ellis16, 10th
HBP – Brian Ellis17, 6th
HBP – Luis Rodriguez15, 14th
HBP / Game – Brian Ellis0.46, 14th
HBP / Game – Luis Rodriguez0.44, 16th
Hits – Alejandro Figueredo55, 22nd
Home Runs – Joe Kinker13, 24th
OBP – Brian Ellis.529, 5th
Runs – Ian Farrow49, 9th
Runs – Brian Ellis47, 12th
Runs / game – Ian Farrow1.30, 15th
Getting Ahead is Key
The Eagles almost don’t have to play a full game to figure out who is going to win. In games in which the Eagles are leading after six innings, FGCU is 22-1 which improves to 20-0 when leading after seven and eight innings. Conversely, in games they are trailing after six innings, the Eagles are 0-13
D1 Baseball Recognizes Eagles
D1baseball.com released its first set of mid-season positional power rankings and multiple Eagles found themselves ranked.
Alejandro Rodriguez is # 29 among catchers which is impressive considering he was not expected to catch before the season started. After a couple of injuries to catchers, Rodriguez went behind the plate and has been hard-pressed to give it up as he is hitting .376 with three home runs, 31 RBI, and 22 runs scored. He’s also really hard to strike out as he is among the nation’s leaders at 11.6 at-bats per strikeout.
Joe Kinker comes in as the 14th-ranked first baseman after he has been tearing the cover off the ball to begin the season, slashing .311 / .479 / .633 with 7 HR and 25 RBI. He is also second in the nation in walks with 28 and seventh in runs with 34.
Alejandro Figueredo came in at # 27 among third basemen and may have only improved his stock after going 4-for-4 against Miami which raised his batting average to an astounding .436. He has also socked five home runs, five doubles, a triple, and driven in 42 runs.
In the outfield, all three – Ian Farrow, Brian Ellisand Harrison Povey – were ranked in the top 100, one of just five teams along with Tennessee, Florida, Virginia, and Mercer, to place all three in the rankings. Farrow clocks in at # 35, Ellis at # 39, and Povey at # 91 as they are all hitting above .375 and have combined for 20 home runs, 94 RBI, and 102 runs scored.
Jason Woodward also claimed a spot on the power rankings as he comes in at # 83 among starting pitchers, improving 61 spots in from the preseason rankings. He is currently 3-1 on the season with a 1.93 ERA and 37 strikeouts while walking just 11 and holding opposing hitters to a .177 batting average.
Farrow Named ASUN Player of the Week
After a big week at the plate, Ian Farrow was named ASUN Baseball Player of the Week (March 21). He helped lead the Eagles to a 4-0 week against North Dakota State and Stetson as he hit .625 (10-for-16) with two home runs, two doubles, six RBI, and 12 runs scored. He also walked five times and was hit by a pitch for a .727 on-base percentage which contributed to an OPS of 1,852.
Ellis Picks Up ASUN Weekly Honors
For the first time in his career, redshirt-junior Brian Ellis (Oviedo, Fla./Hagerty HS) was named ASUN Player of the Week (Feb 28). Including the game against Minnesota, Ellis hit .556 (10-for-18) with four doubles, two home runs, 12 RBI and had an OPS of 1,747.
Victor Honored by ASUN
Sophomore Najer Victor (Philadelphia, Pa./East Ridge HS) was named ASUN Pitcher of the Week (Feb. 21) after tossing 5.2 innings, giving up just two hits and one earned run while striking out 10 and walking none against Cincinnati in the season-opening series .. It was just the second start of Victor’s career and his 10 strikeouts sets a new career-high. It is also the most strikeouts by an Eagle since Mason Studstill struck out 11 on March 6, 2020 against Saint Joseph’s.
Preseason All-ASUN Selections
Redshirt-junior Brian Ellis (Oviedo, Fla./Hagerty HS) and junior Joe Kinker (North Port, Fla./Venice HS) return to the Eagles after being named All-ASUN a season ago. They were both also named to the Preseason All-ASUN team a couple of weeks ago.
Ellis, a First-Team All-ASUN selection in 2021, is also on the Bobby Bragan Collegiate Slugger Award Watch List, which takes into consideration performance on the field, in the classroom, and in the community. Ellis hit .361 last season and also led the ASUN with a .489 on-base percentage while collecting 31 RBI and scoring 45 runs. He was also named the 43rd-ranked outfielder in the country by d1baseball.com.
Kinker was a second-team All-ASUN selection last season after leading the Green and Blue with 13 home runs. He also led the Eagles with 44 RBI and 87 total bases while hitting .271.
Two other Eagles were named to the Preseason All-ASUN team as transfers Luis Rodriguez (Guarenas, Venezuela / Miami Christian HS / Santa Fe College / Dyersburg State) and Bobby Head (Winter Garden, Fla./West Orange HS / Austin Peay) also earned spots. Rodriguez comes from Santa Fe College where he hit .359 with 14 home runs, 78 RBI, and 61 runs scored in two seasons while Head transfers in after playing four years at Austin Peay where he was an All-OVC First-Team selection in 2021 .
Scouting the Hatters
Stetson enters the weekend with an 18-18 record and a 5-10 mark in ASUN play after falling to Florida, 10-8, on Tuesday.
Cameron Hilll leads the Hatters with a .350 batting average while Brandon Hylton has a team-high five home runs. Stetson likes to wreak havoc on the basepaths as they have stolen 68 bases, led by 18 each from Hill and Nick DiPonzio.
On the mound, Cole Stallings leads the team with a 2.82 ERA while Nick Durgin has a 3.16 ERA. Jonathan Gonzalez paces the team with 51 strikeouts.
RHP Nick Durgin vs RHP Jason Woodward
LHP Chris Gonzalez vs RHP Tyler Shuck
RHP Cole Stallings vs RHP Joey Mugavero
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FGCU coach Dave Tollett currently owns a 659-399-3 overall record (.623) and a 219-122 (.647) record in the ASUN. He is the only head coach in the program’s history and led the program to its first trip to the NCAA Tournament in 2017. He is a five-time ASUN Coach of the Year and has guided the Green and Blue to five ASUN Regular Season Championships and one ASUN Tournament Championship. His team has been ranked nationally on several occasions, including as high as No. 9 in the country in 2017, and has coached 58 all-conference selections, 33 draft picks, three current major leaguers, 13 current minor leaguers, four ASUN Pitchers of the Year, four All-Americans, three ASUN Players of the Year, one National Freshman Player of the Year, one National Player of the Year and one seven-time MLB All-Star.
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FGCU teams have combined to win an incredible 89 conference regular season and tournament titles in just 14+ seasons at the Division I level. Additionally, in just 10 seasons of DI postseason eligibility, the Eagles have had a combined 43 teams or individuals compete in NCAA championships. Eight FGCU programs have earned a top-25 national ranking in their respective sports – including women’s basketball (No. 20, 2021-22), beach volleyball (No. 20, 2022) and both men’s soccer (2018, 2019) and women’s soccer (2018) as three of the most recent. In 2016-17, the Green and Blue posted a department-best sixth-place finish in the DI-AAA Learfield Directors’ Cup and top-100 showing nationally, ahead of several Power-5 and FBS institutions. In 2018-19, the Eagles had an ASUN and Florida state best seven teams earn the NCAA’s Public Recognition Award for their Academic Progress Rate in their sport. FGCU also collectively earned a record 3.50 GPA in the classroom in the fall 2020 semester and has outperformed the general University undergraduate population for 25 consecutive semesters. The past five semesters (Fall 2019 – Fall 2021) each saw another milestone reached as all 15 programs achieved a 3.0-or-higher GPA team in each. The Eagles also served an all-time high of 7,200 volunteer hours in 2017 – being recognized as one of two runners-up for the inaugural NACDA Community Service Award presented by the Fiesta Bowl.