FGCU Baseball releases 2014 season schedule, looks to maintain superiority against Sunshine State opponents
Florida Gulf Coast University Baseball Head Coach Dave Tollett released a 2014 FGCU Baseball schedule that includes six teams that participated in the 2013 NCAA Baseball Tournament. The Green and Blue will play 27 games at Swanson Stadium, including meetings with American Athletic Conference foe University of South Florida, Atlantic Coast Conference member University of Miami and Big Ten Conference powerhouse University of Michigan.
The Eagles will face 10 Florida schools in a total of 28 games out of the 56-game season, as they look to maintain dominating performances against Sunshine State programs after finishing the 2013 season with a 16-9 record against such opponents.
“Being a mid-major school, it is always great to play against other top schools in our state,” junior outfielder-first baseman Michael Suchy said. “Knowing that the state is starting to not take us lightly adds more of a competitive nature to the game. So I’m very excited to try and keep that dominance rolling.”
One of the most anticipated series that lies ahead for the Eagles is the four-game series against University of Florida. In the 2013 season, FGCU won three out of four games against the then-No. 19 Gators. In the three wins in Gainesville, the Eagles outscored the Gators 23-9. Florida came up with a win against the Eagles at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers, the spring training site for major league baseball’s Minnesota Twins, during its series finale almost two months after being swept by FGCU on their own turf.
After a year removed from NCAA Baseball Tournament, Florida invested heavily in recruiting, and that earned the Gators the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation according to Baseball America. The Gators also sit at No. 16 in the Collegiate Baseball Preseason Poll, three spots higher than last season.
With these preseason decorations surrounding a talented Gators squad, the Eagles are not fazed a bit.
“Last year when we played them at Gainesville, they were ranked 13th in the nation at the time and that ranking never affected us,” Suchy said. “We came out and played the game knowing we could (win). This year I want us to keep that same mentality of not caring about rankings and beat them. We were not surprised (after beating Florida) last year, and I will not be surprised this year if we just play our game.”
Florida, Florida Atlantic University, Miami, Mercer University, East Tennessee State University and No. 9 Florida State are the six 2013 NCAA Tournament participants that the Green and Blue will be facing throughout the season. The Eagles were on the unlucky side against these opponents as they posted a record of 5-8 against them during the 2013 season.
This season, FGCU will be looking for some clutch hitting from 2013 A-Sun second team selection Suchy, who finished his sophomore season with a .314 batting average, with nine home runs, 71 hits, 46 RBI and 37 runs scored. He led the team in home runs and RBI and ranked fifth in hits and fourth in on-base percentage.
Suchy concluded his decorated sophomore season as the No. 2 prospect in the A-Sun Conference and 38th best sophomore according to Baseball America. FGCU will open the season at Feb. 14 with a five-game homestead, including a four-game series against Atlantic-10 program Rhode Island and a single game against USF.