Baseball: FGCU Preview

Submitted by formerlyanonymous on March 3rd, 2010 at 12:51 PM

@FGCUswingin at swanson

Wednesday – 6pm ETLive Video ($5.99), Live Stats
Bobby Brosnahan (0-1, first career start)
vs Jack Wagoner (2-0, first start)

Opponent Record (Ranks): 6-1 (none, receiving votes)

All Time Series: 0-0 (first meeting)

Swanson Stadium
Fort Myers, FL

The Florida Gulf Coast Eagles of the Atlantic Sun conference aren't one of the normal middle of the road Florida teams Michigan has scheduled in the past. Unlike Jacksonville, Jacksonville State, or North Florida, FGCU is actually a solid baseball school, and home to multiple players on the preseason All-American watch lists. They are very capable of competing with big-time programs, and they are more than capable at scoring runs.

Weather

Weather should be good if not a bit windy tonight. Temperatures are in the low 50s, but winds are expected to be 15-20 mph from the WNW to start the game. The field looks directly north, so it should be a cross wind with a little bit of it coming in from left field. This should lead to a few less homers to left, but could also spell trouble on the infield.

FGCU Pitching

FGCU's primary star is pitcher Chris Sale, who Michigan won't be seeing tonight. He's just that good that he warrants mentioning even in this space. The kid was the MVP of the Cape Cod League this past summer, and he's widely speculated to be a first round if not top 5 draft pick in this year's MLB draft.

But like I said, Michigan is lucky enough to skip that. Instead, they will see junior righty Jack Wagoner, a vagabond pitcher who is on his third school in 3 years. Nothing is available as far as stats in his sophomore year at St. Petersburg College, but in his freshman year, Wagoner started 11 games (13 total appearance) with a 5.84 ERA and 46 strikeouts in 57 innings pitched. He did throw two complete games, but the school being Sacred Heart, he did go 2-8 on the season. This season, Wagoner has two relief outings totaling 4 innings, giving up just 2 hits and striking out 4. One of those two outings was a save.

FGCU Offense

The Eagles are lead by first/third baseman Zach Maxfield. Maxfield was listed on a few preseason All-American teams, and he's batting at a .370 clip with a team leading 13 RBIs out of his clean up spot. His .519 slugging percentage is 4th on the team.

What should be pointed out, though, is that Maxfield is only the 7th best batting average among starters… at .370. No one in the FGCU lineup is hitting under .333. Only one player is slugging below .415. No player has an on base percentage lower than .438. This team has put up pinball numbers, predominantly from a ton of singles, but it does come against some VERY weak competition. The Eagles swept Temple and took 3 of 4 from Sacred Heart. So take the numbers for what the baby seal clubbing numbers they are.

If I had to pick to players to keep your eye on, it'd be Austin Gaines and Stephen Wickens. Both are hitting over .420, but Gaines has been the slugger with 10 RBIs and an .800 slugging percentage. Wickens is the primary base stealer on the team with 7 steals already this season without being caught. Mikel Alvarez is the secondary base stealer, with 4 in 4 attempts.

Michigan

Rich Maloney will be sending out Bobby Brosnahan as the mid-week pitcher. Brosnahan is a redshirt freshman and one of the teams two primary left-handed pitchers. Brosnahan has two appearances this season for 4 innings of work. In that time, he's given up 2 runs on 5 hits, 3 walks and 4 strikeouts. Bobby came highly recruited as one of the top pitchers out of high school before having Tommy-John surgery, and he was to be one of our top starting pitching prospects. Hopefully this goes well, but I wouldn't be surprised if he only went a maximum 4 or 5 innings before being removed, regardless of the score. It will be a good sign if he lasts that long against the FGCU lineup.

The weekly game notes have Kevin Krantz returning to start in left field. This probably isn't a bad idea. His defense is probably the best of the three so far, and a mid-week game might give him a chance to warm up his bat. I also wouldn't be surprised to see Stephens get an at-bat or two tonight with time in left field.

I have a feeling Michigan loses this game. Brosnahan is in his first start, most of our relievers that we'll use tonight will probably be back end of the bullpen. I still can't feel that solidly that our offense has awaken yet. It's just hard to predict a win.

Relevant Reading

Comments

Lofter4

March 3rd, 2010 at 12:08 PM ^

http://www.ncaa.com/sports/m-basebl/spec-rel/022510aad.html

Edit: It's also worth pointing out that I'm a total A-Sun nerd. I'm in grad school at one of them right now, and I'm typing this from Macon, GA and about to go watch the A-Sun basketball tournament kickoff at 2:30. Love me some Lipscomb Bisons vs Kennesaw State Owls.

So, needless to say, FGCU colliding with UM is like a wet dream for me.

I'm gonna stop talking now, maybe go sit this one out.

Quag77

March 3rd, 2010 at 12:25 PM ^

FA predicts a FGCU win. Don’t give up faith FA…of course the team hasn’t really given you another option based on record year to date, however…..

I have seen the great Maize & Blue in action this year (this will be the first game not at the field - sucks) and I still hold out high hopes. Stats are what they are but I firmly believe this team will kick in another gear soon. I’m hoping it’s today with a great deal of momentum going into the next two weekends.

I kind of like Coley in left and adding another bat in the line-up but not against Krantz either (as long as Krantz produces offensively). Also would like to see Mills get some action. He may not have the strongest arm in left but I think his bat would be the best option and he is a good athlete & outfielder.

On the mound think we see Brosnahan go as long as he can (maybe 4-5) then see Smith, Ballantine, Clark & Wood. Smith had a rough last outing but he’s too strong to give up on and he'll turn it around soon. Ballantine and Clark need a few more innings to get accustomed to college expectations and I still like Wood as the set-up or closer. You’ll see the bats start to come out today. I think we pull this one out 7-3. Go Blue!

SWFlaBlue

March 3rd, 2010 at 9:44 PM ^

Decided to let my 11-year old son come out with me and throw the first pitch (along with a half dozen other guys!?) and he promptly fired a one-hopper right past the catcher, which bummed him out quite a bit.

Before the game Rich Maloney and the FGCU coach visited the tailgate that was set up and spoke to the group. What a class act. He also toook the time to chat up my son who was sporting the Mike Hart jersey proudly.

BMF-GoBlue

March 3rd, 2010 at 11:07 PM ^

Was at the game myself tonight. Michigan looked good. And to tell you all the truth FGCU ain't no push over. They have been getting better and better and have even hopes of going to the College World Series according to a local news paper write up on them. Even though they were sloppy tonight. The Wolverines were well represented tonight at the game as well. It was good to drive 45 minutes and be able to see them play tonight, hope they can make it down again. GO BLUE!!!

MGoShoe

March 3rd, 2010 at 11:11 PM ^

...when any U-M team comes to the local area. Besides football games in A2 and Happy Valley, the last U-M sporting event I attended was the Women's Water Polo team at Maryland a few years ago. I'd go see any Michigan team that came to the DC area no matter what sport.