FORT MYERS, Fla. – Marking the final contest in the 11-game stand at Swanson Stadium, the No. 26 FGCU baseball team is set to take on visiting FIU on Wednesday evening beginning at 6:30 p.m.
Sitting at 8-2 over the current stretch of home games, the Eagles enter the mid-week contest with a 13-4 overall record following a Sunday afternoon loss to Ave Maria at Swanson Stadium.
FGCU slid three spots to No. 26 in the latest release of the Collegiate BaseballTop 30 poll, announced by the media outlet on Monday afternoon. The Green and Blue were also ranked No. 30 according to the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA), and were listed among “others to watch” by Perfect Game for the third-straight week. After landing at No. 6 last week, the Eagles dropped to No. 11 in the latest edition of the College Baseball Daily Mid-Major Poll. Additionally, FGCU received six votes (T-36th) in the USA Today Top 25, while dropping out of the Baseball America Top 25 ranks.
The Eagles will send sophomore right-hander Zack Tillery (Naples, Fla./Barron Collier HS) to the mound to start the contest with the Panthers. Through four starts this season, the Naples, Fla. product is 2-1 with a 2.08 ERA and a .247 opponent batting average, recording 11 strikeouts and seven walks in 21.2 innings of work. In his last start against Western Michigan (Mar. 10), Tillery supplied seven innings on the mound, allowing one unearned run on five hits while recording four punchouts in the winning performance. The victory over WMU was the second-straight win for the second-year arm, who also led the Eagles to a triumph over Big Ten foe Michigan (Mar. 4), allowing just one hit in his six frames on the mound, recording a trio of strikeouts.
Offensively, the Green and Blue are led by redshirt senior Brooks Beisner (Punta Gorda, Fla./Charlotte HS/Auburn), leading the squad with a .439 average and a team-best .727 slugging and .500 on-base percentage. Driving in 11 runs scored, the Punta Gorda, Fla. native has connected for a team-high four home runs and also matched a team-high 17 RBI.
Scoring a team-high 18 times, junior utility man Brandon Bednar (Stuart, Fla./South Fork HS) has also driven 17 RBI to match Beisner’s total. While leading the team with three stolen bases, Bednar holds a .384 average, good for second on the team, with a .521 slugging percentage and a .425 on-base percentage.
With 15 RBI and 15 runs scored, junior Sean Dwyer (Tavares, Fla./Tavares HS) is connecting at a .359 clip, adding a trio of home runs and a .450 on-base percentage. Senior catcher Mike Reeves (Peterborough, Ontario/St. Peter’s Secondary) and freshman Nick Rivera (Cape Coral, Fla./Bishop Verot HS) are hitting .338 and .311, respectively, combining for 21 runs scored and 14 RBI.
FIU is hitting a combined .300, led by freshman infielder Edwin Rios’ .354 average with 17 RBI, 17 runs scored, a pair of home runs and team-highs of 12 doubles and a .573 slugging percentage. Sophomores catcher Aramis Garcia and shortstop Julius Gaines are both hitting .349 on the year with Garcia leading the squad with 18 RBI and three home runs. Junior infielder Zach Sweety rounds out the Panthers above the .300 mark at .346.
Already leading the squad with seven appearances, including one start, freshman right-hander Dillon Maya with make the start for FIU. Holding a 0-1 record, Maya sits with a 3.86 ERA through 16.1 innings, recording 16 strikeouts and eight walks while keeping opponents to a .274 average at the plate.
It will be the first of a home-and-home series this season between the two clubs, with FGCU making the return trip to Miami, Fla. on Wednesday, May 1 at 6:30p.m.
The all-time record in the series sits in favor of FGCU, 6-5, however FIU has taken the previous three meetings between the schools.
Tickets for all home contests are available online at www.FGCUATHLETICS.com/tickets or by calling the FGCU ticket office at 239-590-7145.
Fans can get updates and information on FGCU baseball all season long by visiting www.FGCUATHLETICS.com or by following the team on twitter @FGCU_Baseball.