2019 @ASUNBSB Season Preview: FGCU Eagles

2019 @ASUNBSB Season Preview: FGCU Eagles

ATLANTA, Ga. - Opening day is now under two weeks away, and with the 2019 season quickly approaching it's time to take a team-by-team look at all nine ASUN Baseball squads starting play this spring. FGCU continues the preview countdown after placing fourth in the ASUN Preseason Coaches Poll, receiving one first place vote.

After appearing in the NCAA Tournament in 2017, FGCU suffered a down season and looks to rebuild and aim for its second ASUN title in three seasons. The Eagles' offense looks to lead the charge this year after placing second in the ASUN with a .280 team batting average and blasting 41 homers, trailing only Lipscomb's 46 for the entire season in the league. The top three home run hitters all come back for the Eagles, including Kohl Gilmore (11), Richie Garcia (5) and Alex Brait (5). 2018 ASUN Freshman of the Year Christian Proffitt brings his bat back as well after hitting .284 in his debut campaign.

On the mound, Evan Lumbert is the only starter coming back who made at least 10 starts on the bump in 2018. Justin Gill enters his second season with the team after transferring in from Polk State. The senior righty made seven starts out of 14 appearances in his first season in Fort Myers, posting an of 3.38 ERA. As a staff last season, FGCU allowed the fewest home runs, limiting the opposition to just 23 long balls. They also marked a 4.17 ERA as a club, one of only three teams in the conference to limit opponents to less than 4.50 earned runs.

Head Coach Dave Tollett has built a non-conference slate featuring big matchups with teams such as Ohio State, Florida and Rutgers and Miami to challenge the Eagles outside of ASUN action. A visit to North Florida begins conference play, with Jacksonville slated to come to Fort Myers this season and a trip to Stetson a late-season matchup that could decide playoff seeding. 

FGCU Team Quick Facts
2018 Record:
 32-21 (8-13)
Best Single-Season Record in ASUN: 35-18; (25-8) - 2008
ASUN Championships: 2017
ASUN Regular Season Titles: 2008, 2009, 2010, 2014
NCAA Appearances: 2017
2019 Season Notes: The Eagles bring back a loaded lineup of ASUN All-Conference selections and aim to rebound following a disappointing year and reclaim ASUN glory for the second time.
Season Opener: vs. Bethune-Cookman; 2/15/19 - 6:30 PM
ASUN Opener: at North Florida; 3/22/18 - 6:30 PM 

Coaching Staff
Head Coach:
 Dave Tollett
Career Record (Years): 565-337-3 (17th Year)
FGCU Record (Years): Same
Staff: Brandon Romans, Matt Reid, Thomas DiBenedetto, Rance Terry

Key Returners
- Alex Brait, Jr., C: Appearing in 48 games between the outfield and catcher, Brait hit over .300 for the first time in his collegiate career, leading the Eagles with a .335 mark. Hitting five home runs as well, Brait proved to be a backstop that could deliver in front of the plate. Behind it, the junior threw out nine of the 28 runners who attempted to steal on him, helping the Eagles' pitching to a 4.17 ERA. 
- Richie Garcia, Jr., 3B: The 2017 ASUN Freshman of the Year enters his third season after placing second on the club with seven home runs. A staple at the hot corner, Garcia had 22 multi-hit contests and 14 multi-RBI games to prove his worth in the middle of the lineup. The team leader with 50 RBIs, 17 doubles and three triples, Garcia looks to be the anchor of an Eagles' plate attack. 
- Kohl Gilmore, R-Jr., DH: The 2018 ASUN home run king, Gilmore belted 11 dingers last season as part of FGCU's 41 total on the year. Starting all 53 games in his first season with the Eagles, Gilmore hit .282 and drove in 43 runs on the season while reaching base safely in 23-straight games at one point in the year.

Top Returning Pitchers 
- Evan Lumbert, Sr., RHP: Lumbert enters his final season with FGCU as the clear favorite to become the team's ace after posting a 6-3 mark last season with a 3.11 ERA. The right-hander struck out 66 hitters in 63.2 innings pitched, allowing only 19 walks in the process. Began last season 3-0 and picked up a non-conference victory vs. #22 FAU, throwing 5.2 innings of one-run ball.
- Justin Gill, Sr., LHP: Gill started seven games for the Eagles last year out of 14 appearances, returning with the second-most starts on the team this year. The lefty posted a 1-3 mark with a 3.38 ERA but limited his free passes, giving up just 17 walks over his 53.1 innings of work.
- Trey Vickery, Jr., LHP: Vickery appeared in 20 games last season, leading the Eagles with a minuscule 2.21 ERA. Posting a 2-0 mark with one save, the lefty worked 20.1 innings over the season and struck out 18 batters while walking only nine. After doubling his work load from his first to second season, Vickery might become the lead horse out of the 'pen for FGCU this season.

Impact Newcomer
- Mason Studstill, Jr., RHP:
 Studstill enters the FGCU program looking to bolster the pitching depth. A former Miami Hurricanes product who spent last season with East Florida State, the righty struck out 63 hitters in 57.1 innings. Out of high school in Florida, Studstill was a 22nd round selection of the Cleveland Indians in the 2016 MLB Draft.