FGCU Baseball Surprises Tampa
TAMPA, Fla. – Florida Gulf Coast University took the first game of a three-game series against seventh-ranked Tampa 6-1 in Division II south region baseball action at Sam Bailey Field on Friday.
Before an out was made in the game, FGCU jumped to a 3-0 lead on a three-run blast by junior Jason Cooper (Bradenton, Fla.). They added another run on a RBI single by sophomore Derek Mollica (Boca Raton, Fla.) for a 4-0 advantage after one-half of an inning.
Tampa got a run back in the bottom of the second on a RBI double by Scott Leffler scoring T.J. Alonzo.
The score remained 4-1 until the top of the seventh when sophomore Kevin Burns (Fort Myers) tripled home junior Ian Manson (Plano, TX) to increase the Eagles advantage to four runs. Senior David Cox (Sarasota, Fla.) scored an unearned run in the top of the ninth to add to FGCU’s lead making the score 6-1.
Sophomore right-hander Jason Kiley (Palm Harbor, Fla.) pitched a complete game for the Eagles allowing one run on six hits with five strikeouts to improve to 5-1. The Eagles 6-7-8 hitters of Manson, Burns, and Graig Smith (Venice, Fla.) had two hits apiece to pace a 10-hit attack.
Sergio Perez (8-3) took the loss giving up four runs in the first inning before settling in to pitch the next four innings without yielding a run. Chris Whitney finished the game in relief for UT giving up three hits and two runs in four innings of work. Orlando Rosales and Alonzo combined for four of Tampa’s six hits.
FGCU, which beat Tampa for the first time in three seasons, improves to 32-8 overall and 18-7 in south region play. The Spartans, who have lost four straight, fall to 28-10. The teams finish the series with a Saturday doubleheader beginning at 1 pm.
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