This Week in Atlantic Sun Baseball: May 10th

Friday, May 10, 2013

MACON, Ga. - Mercer, North Florida and FGCU have all clinched spots in the 2013 Atlantic Sun Baseball Championship. On Friday, ETSU will lock up a spot in the championship, while Stetson can guarantee a berth with a win and a Lipscomb win vs. Jacksonville.

The Buccaneers take on No. 21 Mercer, while North Florida welcomes FGCU to Harmon Stadim for a showdown of two top-three teams in the A-Sun. USC Upstate and Kennesaw State square off in Georgia as Lipscomb treks to Jacksonville for a series with the Dolphins. Northern Kentucky faces Stetson in the Hatters final conference series of the regular season.

A-Sun Baseball Weekly Notes (#ASunBSB):
  • FGCU is currently riding a 10-game winning streak, which started on April 26th. The win streak is tied with Valparaiso for the longest in the nation. Coming into Friday’s game, six teams are tied for a nine-game win streak.
  • The Eagles’ offense has exploded during the win streak as FGCU is averaging 9.1 runs per game over the span. In the 10 game prior to the winning streak, FGCU averaged only 4.2 runs.
  • Lipscomb’s Josh Cotham earned his second Pitcher of the Week honor after a 1-0 shutout victory at Northern Kentucky. It marked his second career shutout; fourth most among active A-Sun players, and was also the 70th appearance of his career, which is seventh-most among active A-Sun student-athletes.
  • Northern Kentucky has played in the most one-run games this season among A-Sun teams with 17 games being decided by one run. Half of NKU’s wins have come in one-run contests. Mercer owns the most one-run game victories with nine just ahead of FGCU (8) and Stetson (8).
  • ETSU’s Kerry Doane picked up his 10th win of the season in his ninth complete-game effort, which leads the NCAA, with a 10-1 victory vs. Illinois-Chicago. Doane became the first A-Sun pitcher to win double-digit games since FGCU’s Chris Sale, current Chicago White Sox ace, won 11 in 2010 and was tabbed the National Player of the Year.
  • Mercer’s Nick Backlund continues to lead the A-Sun in RBI (62), doubles (18) and homers (12). No one has accomplished that feat in the A-Sun in the past 16 seasons. ETSU’s Clinton Freeman also has 18 doubles this season. The Bears host the Buccaneers this weekend in a three-game set.
  • Kennesaw State’s Steve Janas is rolling 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.
  • 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. If the Ospreys earn three wins at home this weekend vs. FGCU it would move UNF up to the fourth-most wins since 2005.
  • The Bears, who currently sit at No. 21 in the Perfect Game national poll, have racked up 37 wins this season, which is tied for 17th-most in the A-Sun since the 2003 season. Mercer has six contests remaining in the regular season. North Florida’s 34 wins this season is tied for 28th-most over the same span.
  • In the latest RPI release, Mercer claimed the 23rd spot just ahead of North Florida (56th) and FGCU (74th). 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 (1.43) and FGCU’s Ricky Knapp (1.68). 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.
  • Mercer is tied for 11th in the nation for wins this season with Oregon, Pittsburgh and South Alabama at 37, while UNF lands in a tie for 20th-most wins with five squads. The Bears’ .740 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.

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