This is also the third and final game in the “series” between these two non-conference foes. On February 22nd, Miami took the first game between these two 3-0. On April 11th, behind freshman pitcher Zach Tillery, FGCU beat the Hurricanes 4-2.
Since that time, a lot has changed for the Canes. They have stumbled in ACC play and are just now beginning to get back on their feet.
But for the Eagles, very little has changed. They have continued on as a mediocre team, 21-29 overall and 12-12 in the Atlantic Sun, and their struggles on offense have kept them from having much success.
As a team, they have a batting average of .236. Even in this era of BBCOR bats in college baseball, that’s pretty poor.
Brandon Bednar leads the team with a .286 average, Sean Dwyer chips in with a .273 average and Ryan Gebhart is hitting .258. Every other regular player, however, is hitting .244 or worse.
A lot of times when you see a team with so little going on offensively, you also see a team that tries to get things going on the base paths, but that’s not the case with the Eagles. They have only stolen 22 bases as team and no player has more then eight steals.
Their pitching staff is what has kept their team afloat.
They sport a respectable team ERA of 4.21. The bullpen is led by workhorse R.J. Brown. In 35 innings pitched over 22 appearances, Brown has a 4.11 ERA. Brady Anderson, a freshman two-way player, gives the Eagles a versatile long reliever. In 17 appearances, including three starts, Anderson has a 4.46 ERA.
Although Florida Gulf Coast has not yet announced a starting pitcher for the game, the Hurricanes should expect to see Zach Tillery again. The Eagles have only played one midweek game since the last game against Miami and Tillery got the start in that one as well.
At this point, this game doesn’t mean all that much for the Hurricanes. They are more or less slotted into a two seed at a regional with only a remote chance to move up to a host spot. Because of a high RPI and a solid strength of schedule, the Hurricanes also aren’t at much risk of dropping to a three seed, or worse, out of the tournament altogether.
That’s not to say that there isn’t any reason to play hard in this game. There are still some guys I’m sure Coach Morris would like to get going at the plate and every game is a chance to do that. I’d look for Miami to come away with a win in this one, but I think it will be close.