FGCU loses Heartbreaker to Central Missouri State 5-2
Sunday, March 07, 2004
Eagles Sports News Eric Wagman, Assistant Sports Information Director 10501 FGCU Blvd. South Ft. Myers, FL 33965 Office Phone: 239-590-7060 Email: ewagman@fgcu.edu For Immediate Release 3/6/04 Central Missouri State 5, Florida Gulf Coast University 2 Next Game: Monday, March 8, vs. Shippensburg and Indiana University of Pennsylvania. First pitches set for 4:00 pm and 7:00 pm. FGCU loses Heartbreaker to Central Missouri State 5-2 Fort Myers, FL – In a game that lived up to all of the hype, the FGCU Eagles lost 5-2 to the defending Division II National Champions of Central Missouri State University before an electric crowd of 1189 fans. The Mules jumped ahead first in the top of the first inning when Francisco Leandro ripped an RBI triple to right centerfield that scored leadoff man Eric Errante. Errante had earlier walked to start off the ballgame. The next few innings were dominated by the starting pitchers, but FGCU would strike back in the bottom of the fourth. Sophomore Rene Ruiz led off the inning with a single up the middle, the team's first hit of the evening off Mules starter Steve Sharpe. After Ruiz advanced to second on a passed ball and Sophomore Kip Perry walked, Senior Chris Brown laid down a textbook sacrifice bunt that advanced both of the runners to second and third. Freshman Travis Parrott then hit what appeared to be a sure single to leftfield but it was snagged by diving third baseman Shawn Callahan for the second out of the inning. The luck would even itself out during the next at bat when Sharpe threw a wild pitch in the dirt that scored Ruiz from third and tied the game at 1-1. The two starting pitchers, Sharpe for CMSU and Junior Billy Phillips for FGCU, then took over the ballgame as they matched each other pitch for pitch and shutout inning for shutout inning until the final innings. The Eagles were finally able to put something together in the form of a two out rally in the bottom of the eighth inning. The rally began as Perry and Brown put together back-to-back walks to put runners on second and first. After Patrick Stubbe pitch ran for Perry at second, Parrott hit what looked like an inning ending groundout, but the ball got past the second baseman Errante and Stubbe scored to make it a 2-1 ballgame. The drama then began to build as the Eagles were now only three outs away from the biggest win in the program's young history. The inning got off to a bad start as first baseman Joe Gullion led off the inning by smoking a double down the leftfield line off of reliever Ryan Williams. Callahan followed with a sacrifice bunt down the first base line that advanced Gullion to third. With the infield playing in, designated hitter Joe Strada hit a pop up to shallow left field that again looked like it was going to drop, but Ruiz made an excellent play from the shortstop position going back hard to make the catch and record the second out. After Tommy Bryant fought for a walk, the Eagles went to the bullpen and brought in closer Chris Cahill. Although Cahill walked Josh Eftink to load the bases, things looked good for the Eagles as the Mules and batter Will Bradley were down to their final strike. Bradley then made the play of game by stroking a bases clearing triple to deep right field just over the outreached arms of Patrick Stubbe. The Mules would tack on another run later in the inning on a bases loaded walk and go into the bottom of the ninth with a 5-2 lead. The Eagles made an valiant attempt to come back in the ninth with two runner getting on base, but Mules reliever Nick Webber came into the ballgame and struck out the only two batters he faced to end the game. Sharpe got the win for the Mules going 8.1 innings and giving up two runs, one earned, on four hits while striking out 10. Webber worked two thirds of an inning to get the save. Phillips (3-1) got a no-decision for the game as he pitched 7.1 innings and gave up only one run on three hits while striking out four. Williams (3-2) was credited with the loss. He went 1.1 innings and gave up two runs on two hits and a walk. Leading the way offensively for the Eagles was Ruiz who went 2 for 5 with one run scored. Parrot and Sophomore catcher Jason Cooper each had one hit a piece as well. The Eagles (17-6) will play vs. Shippensburg and Indiana University of Pennsylvania on Monday starting at 4:00 pm and 7:00 pm, respectively. Eric Wagman Graduate Asst. Baseball Coach/ Asst. Sports Information Director Florida Gulf Coast University 239-590-7060