Florida Gulf Coast shortstop Julio Gonzalez (Brad Young/BradYoungPhoto.com)


FGCU Bursts Onto Big Stage

Under The Radar

Call it Shock City.

The Florida Gulf Coast Eagles first got some attention in 2010, when Chris Sale was named National Pitcher of the Year in his final season before becoming a first-round pick, and, ultimately, a five-time MLB All-Star.

But the university didn’t become marketable until 2013, when its little-known men’s basketball team reached the Sweet 16 and became known as “Dunk City.” Despite being a No. 15 seed, the high-flying Eagles knocked off Georgetown and San Diego State before falling to the Florida Gators.

The Eagles baseball team earned revenge on the Gators last week in baseball, knocking off Florida 7-3 and 3-2 on consecutive nights as part of a home-and-home series.

Florida was ranked second in the nation at that time, so, perhaps the “Shock City” moniker could be a bit more all-encompassing for the FGCU athletic program, especially this week when the men’s basketball team is in the NCAA tournament against Florida State and the women’s team also made it, playing at Miami.

But the Gators baseball team was the first giant to fall this year at the hands of FGCU.

“I know their fans were a little bit mad,” Eagles shortstop Julio Gonzalez said. “Florida is a powerhouse. But we felt we could play with anyone, and we proved it in those games.”

The 22nd-ranked Eagles (14-3) will get another chance to prove it on Wednesday night when the No. 1 Florida State Seminoles (13-3) make their first-ever trip to Fort Myers to play FGCU.

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