Friday, October 20, 2017

FGCU

fgcu sunrise

“naples

Graduates from Florida Gulf Coast University this winter will be walking across the stage in Alico Arena after all.

After previously announcing that the university was considering moving commencement ceremonies to the student union on campus in smaller ceremonies, FGCU said that the fall semester’s commencement ceremonies will be at Alico Arena on December 16.

The changes were being considered after the university extended the semester by one week in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, bringing logistical challenges to holding the ceremony as originally scheduled.

“As indicated all along we’ve been evaluating various options during the evolving aftermath of the hurricane, and our University Commencement Committee has indicated we will be able to hold the Commencement ceremonies in Alico Arena on December 16,” FGCU spokesperson Susan Evans said in an email Friday.

FGCU will have twin ceremonies, one at 9 a.m. for graduates in arts and sciences, and engineering, and another at 1 p.m. or business, education, and health and human services graduates.


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fgcu and stetson battle in an atlantic sun conference women's soccer matchup

“naples

The FGCU men’s soccer team, which began the year ranked No. 15, dropped a pair in Colorado this weekend to open the year.

Opening the season Friday against No. 3 Denver, the Pioneers broke open a 1-1 halftime draw with a pair of goals in five minutes to pull away and win, 3-1.

On Saturday, a late rally wasn’t enough to complete a comeback in a 3-2 loss to Air Force. Dennis Zapata’s goal in the 86th minute closed the gap to within one, but the Eagles couldn’t find an equalizer to steal a point off the academy.

FGCU played the opening matches short-handed, without last year’s NCAA-leading goal scorer Albert Ruiz and conference first-team Kamar Marriott, both of whom sat out due to injury.

This weekend, the program faces Vermont and Central Connecticut State in Burlington, Vt. First year FGCU coach Jesse Cormier coached at Vermont before taking the FGCU job.

 

Women’s Soccer sweeps weekend

 

The women’s soccer program improved to 3-1 with a 1-0 win over Valparaiso and a 5-1 win over Eastern Michigan this weekend in a tournament in Boca Raton.

Marjorie Boilesen scored a pair in the Eastern Michigan match, and now leads the team with three goals thus far on the young season.

The Eagles head home for the first time the season, playing host to Kent State on Friday, and Liberty on Sunday.

 

Volleyball starts 3-0 in first of two host tournaments

 

The FGCU volleyball team started the season off with a 3-0 start after sweeping the FGCU Hilton Garden Inn Invitational at Alico Arena this weekend.

The Eagles beat Georgia Southern, Florida International, and IUPUI without dropping a single set. Amanda Carroll led the way with 51 total kills in the three matches.

Next week, FGCU hosts another weekend tournament, this one involving all in-state opponents. FGCU hosts UCF, Miami, and FAU in the Homewood Suites Sunshine State Classic, opening with UCF on Friday. The weekend tournament will be their last matches at home until October.


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The FGCU men's basketball team huddles up during a practice at the Amway Center in Orlando.

“naples

The graduation of Marc-Eddy Norelia and Demetris Morant has left some very big – and tall – shoes to fill for the FGCU men’s basketball team.

Guard play isn’t an issue for the Eagles, anchored by star Brandon Goodwin at the point, along with Zach Johnson and Christian Terrell, but the frontcourt is still a mystery.

It’s going to be up to, in part, a trio of 6-foot-10 newcomers to fill that void.

For two of those players, Michigan transfer and Bishop Verot graduate Ricky Doyle, and VCU transfer Michael Gilmore, who becomes eligible after the fall semester, it’s been a long wait.

“It’s everything that I’ve trained for and I know I can do,” Doyle said. “I know I can score in the low post.”

Both players have had to sit out due to NCAA mandated transfer rules, but Eagles coach Joe Dooley doesn’t expect there to be a slow pickup for them.

“That was one of the great things about having Ricky and having Michael in the program last year they were able to get a feel for those teams,” Dooley said.

The third guy in the equation is Brady Ernst, a junior college transfer.

One last newcomer down low is 6-foot-9 freshman Brian Thomas, who is already getting rave reviews from summer workouts.

“He’s got terrific size for a guy his size and weight. He’s just young right now, inexperienced,” Dooley said. “It’s hard for big guys because they don’t get to simulate it until they get to college.”

A couple returning faces also plan to factor into the rotation, including senior Antravious Simmons, who was often the first big man off the bench for the Eagles last season. Simmons averages 5.4 points and 3.4 rebounds in 14.5 minutes per game as a junior. Sophomore stretch-four Raysean Scott Jr. appears ready for a larger role as well.

“We had stretches last year where Raysean really helped us. He jumped up and got 14 against Michigan State, but because he was young he didn’t get a lot of opportunities,” Dooley said. “We think he’s going to be a really great player.”

FGCU’s last addition to this year’s class, replacing high-flyer Rayjon Tucker, who left the program in June, is a forward as well. UNLV transfer Troy Baxter Jr., standing 6-foot-8, will have to sit out the season, however.


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brandon goodwin smirking after a play

“naples

Brandon Goodwin had a superlative season for the FGCU men’s basketball team in 2016-17, but he’ll have to do it again – and better – if he wants to make the NBA.

Earlier this summer, Goodwin declared for the NBA Draft. A change in NCAA rules after the 2016 season allowed players to declare and go through the evaluation and workout process without losing their college eligibility as long as they don’t hire an agent.

Goodwin pulled his name from the draft, returning for his senior season with the knowledge of what he’ll need to do if he wants to make it to the league.

“It was humbling. Teams were telling me what I need to work on,” Goodwin said. “Basically, they told me I need to come back and do it again. I think scouts want to see me be more consistent, with my game, scoring, being a leader for the team.”

The former UCF transfer led the Eagles in scoring last season with 18.5 points per game, along with 4.5 rebounds and 4.1 assists, and scored a game-high 28 points in the team’s 86-80 loss to Florida State in the NCAA Tournament.

Eagles coach Joe Dooley has no doubt that Goodwin will move on to the next level, whether it’s NBA or elsewhere overseas.

“He’s going to have opportunities to play professionally,” Dooley said. “I don’t know if it’s going to be the NBA or overseas, but he’s definitely going to play for money.”

“The biggest thing for him is to continue to work.”

That’s something that Goodwin said going through the draft process helped him understand. He said he need to improve his outside shooting – he shot 35 percent from three – and improve as a distributor on offense. Goodwin had 139 assists to 72 turnovers last season.

“Most likely I won’t be a scorer at the next level, I’ll need to get my teammates involved and make wide open threes,” Goodwin said.

But for right now, the goal is returning to the NCAA Tournament, and that starts with anonymous days in the gym which all run together.

“It’s a lot of new faces, we’re just interested to see how things will mesh going into next year so we’re taking out time and getting a feel for each other,” Goodwin said. “I’m trying to be a leader and guide them in the right direction.”

There are quite a few new faces on the roster to get used to. Freshmen Brian Thomas and 5’3” guard Darnell Rogers. There’s junior college transfer Dinero Mercurius. Then there’s returning faces which the fans will get to see for the first time, Ricky Doyle and Michael Gilmore, transfers becoming eligible.

For the latter two, it’s a struggle that Goodwin knows all too well.

“Be patient, everything’s not going to come all at once. It’s going to take days at a time,” Goodwin said about getting back into being an everyday player from sitting out as a transfer. “Don’t get down on yourself when you make a bad choice. It’s like [Michael Jordan] said, every shot you don’t take is a miss.”


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fgcu president wilson bradshaw

“naples

By the time Dr. Wilson Bradshaw reads this story, he’ll probably be on his way to a new home in St. Augustine.

Florida Gulf Coast University’s top administrator will clock out for the final time on Friday, after nearly 10 years at the helm as university president.

Sitting in the conference room adjacent to his office sits a litany of FGCU memorabilia. A golden shovel commemorates the groundbreaking on the school’s Fort Myers camps in 1995. Awards and plaques lines the walls, along with a litany of news clippings about great moments in the school’s history.

But perhaps the most striking images were posters on a pair of easels. One showed an aerial view of the FGCU campus in 2006. The other from 2012. It was reminiscent of seeing a pair of family photos, watching how quickly things change and grow.

“Even that one’s quite out of date,” Bradshaw said. “When I came here in 2007, there was no Lutgert Hall. There was no Holmes Hall. South Village, where the Residences are was just flatland. I can’t say enough about the community that stepped up and made significant contributions that allowed us to do these things.”

He left out Sugden Hall, Marieb Hall, a solar farm, expansion of the Student Union, and a soon to be completed expansion of athletic facilities at Alico Arena. To be fair, it’s not like it was easy to remember everything when for several years it seemed that new buildings seems to just appear out of thin air.

“It’s our 20th anniversary, one of our taglines is ‘it started with land and a grand plan.’ I have had the great fortune to participate and actualize that plan along with the very gifted people I have worked with. I don’t think I’ll take it all in until I’m out of the position and able to take a deep breath.”

When Bradshaw arrived at FGCU after seven years at Metropolitan State University in Minnesota, he stepped into a school which was still trying to take root and find its identity. In those 10 years, the student population has grown from 9,400 to nearly 15,000 students, the school has added 15 more degree programs including its first doctoral offerings, more than doubled the number of students living on campus, sent its operation budget go up $100 million and its endowment nearly double to $83 million.

All of this happened while the nation slogged through one of the worst recessions in generations.

“We had to manage, because our state budgets were being cut, at least operating budgets. We came through that successfully, we did not survive we continued to thrive, albeit at a slower level but it was not Armageddon for us,” Bradshaw said. “The people I work with here are very smart people. We’re going into our fifth year now not having raised tuition, or fees, because the focus is on affordability and quality. I’m a native Floridian, I was educated in this public system so it is something I take to heart. It is special to be here, making those educational opportunities for younger folks like I used to be.”

Bradshaw was born in Sanford, and grew up in West Palm Beach. The time Bradshaw grew up in has been compared to that of today, as the political climate is tense and divisive, and that powder keg has often gone off on college campuses around the country. Last year, students took to the campus in protest after racially charged language was scrawled onto whiteboards, and white supremacist flyers were posted around campus.

“I grew up in the Civil Rights era. I’ve seen a lot of things, a lot of graffiti that makes a lot of the things we see here, well it doesn’t make it stand out,” Bradshaw said. “By the time it happened here on this campus, it had momentum all around the country. I was very disappointed, but not surprised.”

Still, he sees ideological conversations as constructive – if people let them be.

“I feel very strongly that on this campus, without the clichés of marketplace of ideas and those kind of things, I think this is a place where you have to learn how to listen to opposing views in a civil and respectful manner.”

“Some of that stuff offends me, but it’s part of the price of freedom. It’s part of the price of democracy, and that’s why I have faith in this democracy. I think it does require an educated populace if we’re going to be strong and we’re going to be sustainable, we’re going to need more education not less. And that won’t result in everyone thinking the same way.”

While politics can be divisive, what’s been unifying, and a big boon to the university in the last decade has been the athletics programs. Bradshaw has been an avid and vocal fan of FGCU athletics, attending every event he can. In some cases, he’s been seen sneaking down into the Dirty Birds – the name of the student section at Eagles basketball games.

“I’ve seen a lot of tremendous success in athletics, and it contributes certainly to visibility, and spirit,” Bradshaw said. “I believe that if there are activities, if there are programs that allows students to personalize their experience, some may find it to be athletics, some may find it to be student government, it makes that educational experience more important to that individual student. Athletics is one of those things, and of course it rallies the community.”

wilson bradshaw and marc-eddy dancing
Photo courtesy of Linwood Ferguson.

Since moving to Division I in 2007, and becoming full members in 2011, every team sport save volleyball – they’ll get here, Bradshaw says – has made it to their NCAA tournament. Baseball finally broke through this year, softball got the program’s first NCAA postseason win in 2012. Both men’s and women’s soccer have been tournament mainstays, with the women appearing in five of six, and then men in four, including advancing to the second round for the first time last year. The women’s basketball team has been in four NCAA tournaments.

But of course, no conversation about FGCU can be had without mentioning “Dunk City.” Headlines from the men’s basketball program’s historic run to the Sweet Sixteen as the first, and still only, No. 15 seed to get that far are all over the conference room.

“I remember going to Philadelphia when we got to the NCAA Tournament,” Bradshaw said. “We got to Philadelphia just happy to be in Philadelphia. Playing Georgetown, having our fingers crossed. That was cool.”

It would be easy to think that man saying he’s retiring would be doing exactly that. After all, that new home in St. Augustine is waiting, Bradshaw said he plans to spend more time fishing.

But students may be seeing Professor Bradshaw soon. As part of the president’s contract, Bradshaw has a teaching position waiting for him, after a sabbatical of course.

“We’re still fleshing out what those courses will be,” he said. “And I’ll spend part of my sabbatical boning up so I can catch up on some of those disciplines.”

All told, he says it’s a career he’s very proud of. Decades in academia, including 17 years as a university president, and another five as a provost.

“I didn’t go to graduate school aspiring to be a university president at all, or even be a part of administration at all. Those things kind of happened. I’ve had a rich and rewarding career. It’s allowed me to travel and do research and teach at some of the finest institutions in this country. That’s been very, very good. It’s been rewarding at each stage, as a faculty member and a researcher, and as I moved up the administrative rank.”

Still, retirement is retirement. And as trite as it may be, talk of anyone retiring after a long career is one that often leads to the idea of an individual’s legacy. But Bradshaw isn’t having it.

“I’m certainly not going to write it,” he says, telling a story about his time at Florida Atlantic University where he mentored a student. That student earned his law degree, and that student, David Brennen, is now Dean of the University of Kentucky College of Law.

“In my mind, my legacy will be borne out by the 15,000 graduates who got their diploma here. My legacy will be written by them, by what they do in making their communities and families better.”


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“naples

Ricky Doyle is ready to play in front of the hometown crowd.

The Bishop Verot grad is also, thankfully, finally, fully healthy.

Doyle talked with reporters during an open gym session for the FGCU men’s basketball team this week about the rollercoaster of a year he had last season while sitting out per NCAA rules as a transfer from Michigan.

“It was a long recovery but at this point right now I feel pretty good,” Doyle said.

The 6-foot-10 forward spent much of last season dealing with a series of medical maladies. He had one surgery, called a Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty, or a UPPP for those not wanting to try and pronounce that, as part of dealing with sleep apnea which limited him at Michigan.

Then, to make matters worse, as he was recovering from that surgery in November, Doyle started to feel a constant pain in his stomach. Doyle said he tried to work through it, but after a week, the pain got to the point he had to go back in and see someone.

Turns out, his appendix had burst.

Now fully pain free and with a clean bill of health, Doyle’s had to work himself back into playing shape.

“It was frustrating,” Doyle said. “My biggest thing is I know how it feels to train at a high level, so when I get back I immediately go to that level and I would just kill myself. I would work out for a day and couldn’t move for a week.”

“The hard thing for me was to step back, cut back on the workouts I was usually doing to simple stuff. It was really hard walking up stairs. Picked up a bag of ice and threw my back out because the muscles in my back weren’t strong enough. I’m at a point now where I’m starting to feel good.”

With the departure of frontcourt stalwarts Marc-Eddy Norelia and Demetris Morant, Doyle is expected to take on a major role for the Eagles in the paint this season, one of a trio of 6-10 players on the roster with junior college transfer Brady Ernst, and Miami transfer Michael Gilmore who becomes eligible in December.

While most of the excitement around Doyle involves seeing him on the floor, the fact that he’s a hometown product is certainly a selling point.

“It’s awesome,” Eagles coach Joe Dooley said. “We want to make sure that the guys that are good enough in this area, we’re in contention to be able to keep them home. It’s good to have Ricky back home and he’ll have a big impact on the program.”


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“naples

Former FGCU standout Emma Svensson is moving into coaching.

The four-year swimmer from Sweden will be joining her former swimming coach Neal Studd as an assistant coach at Florida State, the program announced. Svensson spent the last two years at FSU as a graduate assistant.

“He is probably the person who has inspired me the most in my life so far,” Svensson said. “I’ve probably learned more from him than anyone else I know, it’s going to be a time. He’s a fun guy, and we have a great coaching staff here FSU.”

Svensson graduated from FGCU in 2015, after qualifying all four years for the NCAA’s as an Eagle. She scored FGCU’s first NCAA points in 2014 with a 12th place finish in the 50-meter freestyle, and was part of the program’s first championship final in 2015 in the 200-meter freestyle relay.

Studd, who founded FGCU’s swimming and diving program, took over the coaching position at FSU in 2016.

“I am extremely excited Emma is joining our staff,”  Studd said in a team release. “She has an outstanding knowledge of the sport. She understands what is required to be successful at the very top level. As one of my former swimmers and as a graduate assistant for the past two years, she has a unique perspective of what I want and expect from an assistant coach.”

Svensson, who graduated this spring with a masters in financial mathematics, wasn’t planning on making coaching a full time job, she said.

“I had a couple job offers lined up at graduation,” Svensson said, expecting to find work as an actuary. “When this opportunity came up it was too good to be true, an opportunity that I couldn’t say no to.”

FIELER SIGNS IN BELGIUM

Chase Fieler’s high-flying career will continue on in Belgium. The 6-foot-8 forward signed a two-year deal with Telenet Oostende last week.

Oostende is the top team in Belgium, having won the Belgian League title six years running. Fieler will join Corey Walden on Oostende’s roster, who played part of his collegiate career at Stetson.

Since going pro in 2014, Fieler has won a title in every season he’s played, first with Spanish second-division team Ourense, who earned the club’s first promotion to Liga ACB, Spain’s top flight, in nearly two decades. Fieler also won back-to-back Dutch league titles with Donar, including DBL playoff MVP this past season.


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fgcu sunrise

“naplesFlorida Gulf Coast University will be taking a budgetary haircut for 2017-18 – an $8 million one to be exact.

The state university system’s Board of Governors announced performance funding totals for the next school year, and FGCU fell into the bottom three.

As a result FGCU, along with Florida A&M and North Florida, will not receive any of the $245 million performance fund for the next school year. Florida A&M had gotten $11.5 million last year, FGCU $8 million, UNF got nothing.

Florida’s 11 state universities are graded on a series of 10 different metrics, including graduation rates, retention rates, academic progress, and job placement and earnings numbers by graduates, among others.

“We are disappointed to be in the bottom three for performance funding.  While there are metrics on which we performed well, the bottom line is we must improve our four-year graduation rate,” FGCU Vice President and Chief of Staff Susan Evans said in an email Thursday afternoon.

A new metric this year, net tuition per degree, didn’t help FGCU’s cause. The metric assesses the cost to attend the school, minus scholarships and other financial support. On that measure, FGCU came in at $18,790, highest among the 11 schools. The average across all schools was just under $15,000.

“Affordability has been a priority for the Governor and the Legislature as well as the Board of Governors because it increases student access and relieves student debt,” Ned Lautenbach, Vice Chair of the Board of Governors said in a release. “It’s exciting to see the universities turning that goal into a reality.”

Evans said that FGCU has a plan for how to deal with the lost funds, which will include delaying or possible canceling a renovation of the university library. The school also plans to cut some part-time employees, let some currently vacant positions stay that way, and cut back on custodial and lawn services to make up the shortfall.

FGCU has long struggled with its graduation and retention rates, as has UNF, as both schools often lose students who start there but finish at larger institutions, such as the University of Florida.

UF will get the largest share of the state’s fund, $55 million, while South Florida will get $45.4 million, an increase of $13 million. West Florida will get $21 million, coming in third after receiving nothing last year.


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zach johnson driving for a layup

“naplesIntercollegiate athletics have grown into a multi-billion dollar venture and, with the assistance and promotion of the NCAA, universities and colleges have blossomed and flourished as a result of this critical source of prestige and revenue.

Locally, it has been quite a year for the athletic programs at Florida Gulf Coast University.

For the third year in a row, FGCU took home the Bill Bibb Trophy, an award given to the Atlantic Sun school with the best results across all sports.

The Eagles won three regular season titles, plus swimming and diving, in the Coastal Collegiate Swimming Association.

But the postseason is where the program truly shined. FGCU made NCAA postseason appearances in men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s tennis, swimming, men’s cross country, and baseball, along with four women’s cross country runners competing as individuals in an NCAA regional.

“We take a lot of pride, collectively, in being successful more than in just one sport,” Athletic Director Ken Kavanagh said. “I think it’s pushed teams to have even more goal-driven responsibilities.”

BREAKTHROUGHS

For the first time in program history, both the men’s and women’s basketball teams made the NCAA Tournament in the same year. The men’s team, far and away the class of the ASUN this season, rolled into its second straight NCAA Tournament, third in the last five seasons, earning a No. 14 seed. The Eagles were eliminated by No. 3 Florida State, 86-80 in the first round in Orlando.

The women’s team rallied, after losing out on their first regular season conference title since 2010 to Stetson, to knock off the Hatters on the road in the conference final. As a No. 13 seed in the NCAA Tournament, the Eagles nearly pulled off a first-round upset against No. 4 Miami on their home floor. Only a Keyona Hayes bucket, with 1.5 seconds to go, allowed the Hurricanes to extract a 62-60 win.

Men’s soccer for the first time advanced past the first round in school history in November, knocking off USF in a penalty shootout. The Eagles then took North Carolina into extra time playing with a man down before falling 3-2.

Baseball made its first NCAA Tournament this season, winning a pair of games on the final day of the ASUN tournament to earn their spot. The Eagles were rewarded with a No. 2 seed in the Chapel Hill Regional and won their opener against No. 3 Michigan on Friday. Loses to Davidson and North Carolina ended the Eagles season, which saw them reach as high as No. 9 in the national polls.

WHAT’S THE SECRET?

Remarkably, FGCU is achieving this without full funding for all of their sports. Of the 15 programs that FGCU fields, only seven of them were able to offer the maximum allowable number of scholarships. Softball becomes fully funded next year to make it eight.

The secret, Kavanagh says, is people.

“It starts and ends with people,” Kavanagh said. “We’ve got great coaches doing a great job recruiting and getting quality student-athletes who are successful not only in terms of playing their sport but leadership. If you don’t have good leadership, obviously with coaches but even in the ranks of the upperclassmen, you aren’t successful.”

Even outside of the athletic program, FGCU has been the beneficiary of a growing donor base. Donors have allowed the school’s athletic programs to start reaching full funding, as well as an expansion of Alico Arena. There’s also the support of top brass within the university, starting with outgoing president Dr. Wilson Bradshaw, and with incoming President Dr. Michael Martin.

“He’s supportive. He was at LSU and he relayed that to me when we first got to meet a number of months ago how excited he was to be at LSU as the chancellor when they won the College World Series in 2009,” Kavanagh said. “Our trustees are supportive, and you have to have that overall environment as a teamwork to get things done and we’ve been blessed to do so.”


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FGCU Baseball

“naplesThe FGCU baseball team needed two wins on Sunday to keep their NCAA Tournament dreams alive.

Host North Carolina had other plans.

The No. 2 national seed Tar Heels took control early, and FGCU’s best season in program history came to an end with a 10-1 loss in the Chapel Hill Regional.

“We thought we had to come out and get the lead, put a little pressure on them,” FGCU coach Dave Tollett said. “That never happened, and once they got ahead they could play the hit-and-run game and be able to run. So it really took us out of our gameplan.”

The Tar Heels (49-13) jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the second inning, starting when Cody Roberts singled into right. An error by Eagles outfielder Marc Coffers allowed Michael Busch to score from first, then Brian Miller drove home Roberts to make it 3-0. An RBI from Kyle Datres scored UNC’s first run of the game in the first.

“We knew coming in that they were a very aggressive team. They hit a lot of balls hard, and a lot of balls fell for them today,” Eagles senior Nick Rivera said. “They’re just a really good team, and when teams of that caliber get on you that early, it’s tough to come back.”

Trailing 5-0 in the sixth, the Eagles (43-20) appeared to get something going with bases loaded and one out for Eli Lovell. Lovell grounded into a fielder’s choice, scoring Richie Garcia. That would be it for the Eagles though, as Jake Smith flew out to center to end the inning, and it turned out, their last real scoring threat of the day.

UNC removed any doubt in the eighth, scoring five runs in the inning, capped off by a two-RBI triple from Brandon Riley.

“I’ll tell you what, they did capitalize on the extra bases. I think two long singles they stretched into hustle doubles,” Tollett said. “Once they got the lead they just kept putting the pedal to the metal.”

Tyler Baum pitched 5.1 innings, leaving right before Lovell’s RBI. Baum allowed three hits and one earned run, to go with four strikeouts and four walks.

“He did a good job. He did a good job getting ahead,” Rivera said. “I don’t know what we were for getting leadoff guys on this week, but it wasn’t very good. So, he just did a really good job.”

Though it wasn’t the result that he or the team wanted, Rivera believes the future is bright for the FGCU program, even as the senior moved on toward a likely selection in this summer’s MLB draft.

“I mean this is just good for everything, for recruiting, for us to put more fans at games,” Rivera said. “I think it’s just great for us just to open the gates and get to a regional. And for me, a senior, to help lead that was very special. I was something I wanted to come back to do.”

<strong>A RECORD YEAR</strong>

-Most wins (43) in a single season in program history.
-Highest national ranking (No. 9) in program history.
-First win against a No. 1 ranked team (5-2 over FSU, Mar. 15)
-Three wins against top five opponents (FSU, Florida twice, two Top 5 wins in history before 2017)
-First ASUN Tournament win
-First NCAA Tournament berth
-First NCAA Regional win (10-6 vs. Michigan, Friday)


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