Eagles Fall to Canes in 'Battle of the Birds'
FORT MYERS, Fla. – The FGCU baseball team fell to No. 13 Miami, 9-0, in the “Battle of the Birds” at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers, Fla., in front of a loud and boisterous crowd of 3,627 on Wednesday evening.
FGCU moves their record to 21-11 (12-3 A-Sun) on the year, while Miami improves to 24-9 (11-4 ACC) on the season.
Junior Patrick Nathanson (Maitland, Fla.) got the start on the mound for the Eagles. The lefty went 4.2 innings and allowed five runs (four earned) on four hits and a walk, to go with two strikeouts in the losing effort, dropping his record to 3-2. Sophomore Jacob Barnes (St. Petersburg, Fla.) pitched 3.1 innings of scoreless baseball, allowing one hit and recording one strikeout.
Miami sent David Gutierrez (3-0) to the bump to start the game and the righty pitched seven scoreless innings, allowing no hits in the winning effort.
In the top of the first frame, leadoff batter Zeke DeVoss stepped to the plate for Miami and was hit by a 2-1 delivery. After stealing second and moving to third on a groundout, DeVoss came across the plate on a one-out single to center field by Scott Lawson, giving the Hurricanes an early 1-0 lead.
The Canes would add two runs to their total in the top of the second inning. Harold Martinez drew a full count walk to start things off, and advanced to second when Chris Pelaez was hit by a 2-2 delivery. Nathan Melendres advanced the runners to second and third on a sacrifice bunt and Martinez came home on a wild pitch (2-0). Pelaez plated the final run of the inning as he came in from third on an infield fielding error (3-0).
Miami threatened the Eagles in the top of the fourth stanza when Pelaez singled to right field, and advanced to second on the play off a fielding error by junior Luke Smierciak (Gainesville, Fla.). After a wild pitch moved Palaez to third, Smierciak prevented the runner from coming home on a spectacular diving catch for the final out of the inning.
Two runs were added to the Hurricanes column in the top of fifth after DeVoss singled to left field and moved to second off a fielding error on the play. Stephen Perez tripled into right center field to score DeVoss (4-0) and Perez later scored on a sacrifice fly to center field from Lawson, giving the Canes a 5-0 lead.
The Blue and Green pressured the visitors in the bottom of the eighth inning, breaking up the perfect game and the no-hitter. Junior Zach Maxfield (North Port, Fla.) started things off by getting hit with a 1-0 pitch and Smierciak broke up the no-hitter on a single into left field. The Eagles would have the bases full with one out, but Miami retired the side before any runs crossed the plate to hold on to the five-run advantage.
Before it was all said and done, The U would score four more runs. Melendres led off the top of the ninth with a single through the left side and was followed by a double to left field by Michael Broad. Miami loaded the bases on a two-out walk by Perez and Melendres scored (6-0) on a single by Lawson. Another single by Yasmani Grandal plated Perez and Broad (8-0) and moved runners to second and third. The final run of the ballgame came home on a single to left center by Martinez that brought Lawson across the dish (9-0).
Miami plated their nine runs on 10 hits in the game, while FGCU registered one hit off the bat of Smierciak.
The Eagles will now take the road for a weekend series with conference opponent Lipscomb in Nashville, Tenn. The opening contest is scheduled for a 7 p.m. opening pitch on Friday, followed by games at 2 p.m. on Saturday and 1 p.m. on Sunday.
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