This Week in Atlantic Sun Baseball: May 2nd

Thursday, May 02, 2013

MACON, Ga. - With only three weekends remaining of conference play, North Florida continues to lead the Atlantic Sun Baseball standings at 14-4, while Mercer (15-6) and ETSU (13-8) are right behind the Ospreys.

This weekend, UNF travels to DeLand - the site of the 2013 A-Sun Baseball Championship - for a three-game set with Stetson (10-8). Northern Kentucky hosts Lipscomb, while Jacksonville travels down to FGCU for a series with the Eagles. ETSU looks to pick up a few non-conference wins with a trio on games at UIC.

A-Sun Baseball Weekly Notes (#ASunBSB):
  • FGCU’s Ricky Knapp was tabbed the A-Sun Pitcher of the Week for the fourth time in his career following a career-best 12 strikeouts vs. Northern Kentucky. Knapp ranks in the top-five of the A-Sun for Opp Batting Average (.219; 2nd), ERA (1.84; 3rd), Strike Outs (59; 4th), Wins (7; T4th) and Innings Pitched (73.1; 5th).
  • Mercer’s Nick Backlund picked up his second career A-Sun Player of the Week Honor on Monday. Backlund currently leads the A-Sun in RBI (60), doubles (18) and homers (11). No one has accomplished that feat in the A-Sun in the past 16 seasons.
  • Kennesaw State’s Steve Janas continues to roll as the Owls’ Friday starter. He owns a 7-0 record, 0.75 ERA with only five earned runs allowed this season. He has won his last six starts and accumulated only three walks compared to 29 strikeouts. The Owls have outscored their opponents by a combined score of 44-7 in those six starts.
  • Stetson has won its last four A-Sun series despite dropping the opening game of the series in all four. All four of the Hatters series opening losses have been by two runs or less. Stetson currently sits in fifth place in the conference standings.
  • Mercer, Kennesaw State and USC Upstate all take a break from action this weekend, while ETSU has a non-conference series at Illinois-Chicago.
  • ETSU’s Kerry Doane leads the NCAA with eight complete games thrown this season. His eight complete games are tied for second-most in the A-Sun since 2001 when Troy’s Jason Bernard tallied 10.
  • North Florida has won 23 games at home this season. The Ospreys’ home win total is tied for the sixth most in the A-Sun since the 2005 season. Stetson and UCF sit at the top of the list with 28 home victories over the past nine seasons. UNF has three home contests remaining this season with FGCU.
  • The Ospreys currently sit in first place in the A-Sun with a road series against Stetson on deck. Over the past 15 seasons, an A-Sun team from the state of Florida has won the conference regular-season title 13 times (Troy - 2005; Belmont - 2012). Mercer (15-6) and ETSU (13-8) sit in second and third place.
  • Mercer’s David Teasley broke the NCAA and A-Sun record for career appearances (152) with an appearance in the Bears’ Saturday win at USC Upstate. He passed Stetson’s Tom Hickox (1988-91) for the record.
  • The Bears, who currently sit at No. 21 in the Perfect Game national poll, have racked up 36 wins this season, which is tied for 21st-most in the A-Sun since the 2003 season. Mercer has eight contests remaining in the regular season. North Florida’s 33 wins this season is tied for 33rd-most over the same span.
  • In the latest RPI release, Mercer claimed the 23rd spot just ahead of North Florida (43rd) and FGCU (87th). The past 10 Atlantic Sun teams to receive at-large berths into NCAA Tournament had an average RPI of 35.
  • Three A-Sun starting pitchers have ERA’s lower than 2.00; KSU’s Steve Janas (0.75), UNF’s Michael Renner (1.58) and FGCU’s Ricky Knapp (1.84). Last season, the lowest ERA for a starting pitcher was 2.16 from North Florida’s Tyler Moore. The last pitcher with a sub-two ERA was FAU’s Mickey Storey in 2005 at 1.70.
  • ETSU’s Andrew Green and Kennesaw State’s Peyton Hart are etching their names into the A-Sun career record books as the duo has cracked the top-25 for career at-bats. Green is 22nd with 827 at-bats just ahead of Hart’s 820 (24th). Mercer’s Evan Boyd recently cracked the list in 35th place with 787.
  • Mercer is tied for sixth in the nation for wins this season with Cal State Fullerton at 36, while UNF lands in a tie for 15th-most wins with five squads. The Bears’ .750 win percentage is 15th-best nationally.
  • Since the 1999 season, 15 Atlantic Sun teams have received at-large invitations to the NCAA Tournament. The average record for teams entering the tournament was 41-18.

Follow the Atlantic Sun on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.