Baseball hosts Cincinnati for 2022 season opener

FORT MYERS, Florida. – The 2022 season is finally here as the FGCU baseball team opens the new campaign this weekend, hosting the Cincinnati Bearcats at Swanson Stadium.

The series begins Friday night at 6:30 p.m. before the teams play a doubleheader on Saturday starting at 1 p.m. The weekend ends on Sunday with a single game at 11 a.m. All games will be broadcast on the FGCU Baseball YouTube channel.

The Eagles are coming off a 28-20 season in 2021, which included a 12-6 record in ASUN play. In the preseason coaching poll, FGCU was picked second while garnering three first-place votes, only behind Liberty.

Red shirt-junior Brian Ellis (Oviedo, Fla./Hagerty HS) and junior Joe Kinker (North Port, Fla./Venice HS) returns to the Eagles after being named All-ASUN a season ago. They were also named to the All-ASUN Pre-Season Squad a few weeks ago.

Ellis, a 2021 All-ASUN First Team selection, is also on the Bobby Bragan Collegiate Slugger Award Watch List, which considers performance on the field, in the classroom and in the community. Ellis hit .361 last season and also led ASUN with .489 on-base percentage while recording 31 RBI and scoring 45 runs. He was also named the 43rd outfielder in the nation by d1baseball.com.

Kinker was a second-team All-ASUN selection last season after leading the Greens and Blues with 13 homers. He also led the Eagles with 44 RBIs and 87 total goals while hitting .271.

Two more Eagles named to All-ASUN pre-season squad as transfers Luis Rodriguez (Guarenas, Venezuela/Miami Christian HS/Santa Fe College/Dyersburg State) and Bobby’s head (Winter Garden, Fla./West Orange HS/Austin Peay) also moved up. Rodriguez comes from Santa Fe College where he hit .359 with 14 homers, 78 RBIs and 61 runs scored in two seasons while Head trades after playing four years at Austin Peay where he was an All-OVC First-Team selection in 2021 .

On the mound, the Eagles will have to replace the starter on Friday night Mason Studstillbut FGCU returns launchers Jason Woodward (Titusville, Florida/Titusville HS), Tyler Shuck (Cape Coral, FL/Canterbury HS), and Najer-Victor (Philadelphia, PA/East Ridge HS), anyone who should see action this weekend.

Woodward and Shuck mostly pitched in relief last year but will have a chance to start in 2022 after posting ERAs of less than four last season. They also both had good control numbers as they each had strikeout-to-walk ratios of over 2.00, with Woodward taking out 39 while walking 15 while Shuck had 38 punches and 17 walks. Woodward also earned a spot on d1baseball.com’s starting pitcher rankings, listing in 144th place.

The head coach Dave Tollet, the only coach in program history, will enter his 20th season with the Eagles this season and has a career record of 636-385-3. He will look to guide the FGCU to their eighth ASUN Championship and their first trip to NCAA Regionals since 2017.

The Bearcats enter the 2022 season with higher expectations than in recent years. They were chosen to finish in third place by conference coaches in the 2022 American Athletic Conference preseason baseball poll, which is the highest since joining the conference for the 2014 season. East Carolina was chosen to finish first and Tulane was expected to be second. Three Bearcats have been named to the All-AAC preseason squad – OF Paul Komistek, OF Cole Harting and OF Griffin Merritt. Komistek was named the 2022 AAC Preseason Player of the Year by league coaches.

Pitch matches
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 6:30 P.M.
LHP Tristan Weaver vs. HPR Jason Woodward

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 1 PM
RHP Garrett Harker vs. HPL Daniel Bacher

SATURDAY FEBRUARY 19, MATCH 2
LHP Alex Shea vs. HPR Tyler Shuck

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 20, 11 AM
RHP Aiden Bradbury vs. Darien Smith Where Najer-Victor

For complete coverage of FGCU baseball, follow the Eagles on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook at @FGCU_Baseball and online at www.FGCUathletics.com. You can also sign up to receive news about FGCU baseball or other programs straight to your inbox by visiting www.fgcuathletics.com/email.



TOLLET COACH

FGCU Coach Dave Tollet currently holds an overall record of 636-385-3 (.623) and an ASUN record of 211-115 (.647). He is the only head coach in program 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 season championships regular ASUN tournament and an ASUN tournament championship. His team has been ranked multiple times nationally, including 9th in the nation in 2017, and has coached 58 all-conference picks, 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, a National Freshman Player of the Year, a National Player of the Year and a seven-time MLB All-Star.



EAGLE CAMPAIGN

IT NEEDS A TEAM to achieve our most recent goal – a $10 million campaign to address the needs of student-athletes for continued academic success, life skills, mental health, nutrition, strength and conditioning as well as needs of the department for expansion and improvement of facilities as well as mentoring and leadership training for coaches and staff. The name embodies our mission and the goal of the EAGLE – Eagle Athletics Generating Lifetime Excellence campaign. Join our team and commit your donation today to help the Eagles of tomorrow!



#FEEDFGCU

FGCU Athletics sponsors events in November and April to benefit the FGCU Campus Food Pantry (www.fgcu.edu/foodpantry) and the Harry Chapin Food Bank (www.harrychapinfoodbank.org), FGCU Athletics’ charities of choice. For more information, including how to contribute, please visit www.fgcu.edu/foodpantry and use the hashtag #FeedFGCU to help raise awareness.

ABOUT THE FGCU
FGCU teams have combined to win an incredible 87 conference regular season and tournament titles in just 14+ seasons at the Division I level. Additionally, in just nine seasons of DI playoff eligibility, the Eagles have brought together 43 teams or individuals competing in NCAA championships. Eight FGCU programs ranked in the top 25 nationally in their respective sports, including women’s basketball (#25, 2021-22), beach volleyball (#20, 2021) and men’s soccer (2018, 2019) and women’s football. (2018) as three of the most recent. In 2016-17, the Vert et Bleu posted the department’s best sixth place finish in the DI-AAA Learfield Directors’ Cup and top 100 nationally, ahead of several Power-5 and FBS institutions. In 2018-19, the Eagles had an ASUN and Florida State’s top seven teams won the NCAA Public Recognition Award for their rate of academic progression in their sport. FGCU also collectively achieved a record 3.50 classroom GPA in the fall 2020 semester and outperformed the general undergraduate college population for 24 consecutive semesters. The Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, and Spring 2021 semesters each saw another milestone reached as all 15 programs achieved a team GPA of 3.0 or higher in each. The Eagles also served an all-time high of 7,200 volunteer hours in 2017 – being recognized as one of two finalists for the inaugural NACDA Community Service Award presented by the Fiesta Bowl.

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