Eagles Use Four-Run Eighth to Down Lipscomb, 10-9
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The FGCU baseball team used a four-run eighth inning to defeat the Bisons of Lipscomb, 10-9, in game two of the three game series on Saturday afternoon in Nashville, Tenn.
FGCU improved to 22-12 on the season (13-4 A-Sun) while Lipscomb dropped to 13-23 on the year (5-6 A-Sun).
Junior Richie Erath (West Palm Beach, Fla.) was given the game ball to start the afternoon for the Eagles. The right hander went six innings and allowed seven earned runs on nine hits, to go with a pair of strikeouts in the no-decision. Freshman lefty Kevin Bryant (Homestead, Fla.) moved to 1-1 on the season after throwing one inning and allowing just one run on two hits in the winning effort.
Right hander Josh Cotham was credited with the loss for Lipscomb after pitching three innings and allowing four earned runs on five hits.
The Eagles wasted no time, moving three runs home in the top of the first inning. Shortstop Stephen Wickens (Whitby, Ontario) singled to left field to start off the game and advanced to second base on a sacrifice bunt by junior Mikel Alvarez (West Palm Beach, Fla.). After juniors Tim Roberson (West Palm Beach, Fla.) and Zach Maxfield (North Port, Fla.) drew walks to load the bases, senior Josh Chester (Weston, Fla.) sent a double to right center to score both Wickens and Roberson (2-0). Maxfield later scored from third on an error by the shortstop (3-0).
In the top of the second frame, the Blue and Green increased their lead to a five run advantage. Another error by the shortstop allowed freshman Eric Acevedo (Miami, Fla.) to reach first, and he was followed by a Wicken’s single and a bunt single by Alvarez to load the bases. Roberson picked up an RBI as Acevedo came home on a groundout to first base (4-0), and Wickens came home on a groundout to third base by Maxfield (5-0).
The Bison broke up the shutout in the bottom of the second, as three runs came across the plate. Back to back singles started off the inning, and a sacrifice bunt advanced the runners to second and third with one out. Later in the inning with two outs, a double to left center score both base runners cutting the Eagles advantage to 5-2. With a runner on second base, a triple down the left field line trimmed FGCU’s lead to two runs (5-3).
Junior Luke Smierciak (Gainesville, Fla.) single handedly extended the Eagles lead in the top of the third frame. The right fielder connected with a 2-0 delivery and sent it over the fence in left field for a solo home run, his sixth round tripper of the year (6-3).
Lipscomb would move ahead on the scoreboard in the home half of the third. A single to shortstop started the inning and was succeeded by a walk, putting runners on first and second with no outs. The six-hole hitter scored the runner from second base on a double (6-4), and all runners came home when the next batter sent a three run homer to right field (7-6).
FGCU surrendered another run in the bottom of the seventh (8-6), but responded with four runs of their own in the top of eighth to regain the lead. Roberson led off the inning with a double to left center and came across on a one-out single to right field by Chester (8-7). Junior Alex Lozada (Estero, Fla.) stepped in to pinch run for Chester, and moved to second when Smierciak was hit with a first pitch delivery. Sophomore Joe Guarnaccia (Weston, Fla.) hit into a fielder’s choice to put runners on the corners before junior Austin Gaines (Dunedin, Fla.) came to plate and laced a full count pitch over the fence for a three-run home run, giving the Eagles a 10-8 edge.
A leadoff home run in the bottom of the eighth would give the Bisons hope of a comeback, but both teams would go scoreless for the remainder of the game and the Eagles held on for the 10-9 victory.
The Blue and Green moved 10 runs across on 13 hits in the contest. Wickens hit 3-for-6 and scored twice, while Roberson went 2-for-5 with two runs scored and an RBI. Chester batted 2-for-4 and Gaines went 1-for-5 with a run scored on the home run, both with three RBI. Smierciak recored an RBI and a run scored on a home run in his 1-for-4 day. Alvarez, Maxfield and Guarnaccia each recorded at least one hit in the ball game, with a combined two runs scored and an RBI.
Lipscomb registered nine runs on 12 hits in the game.
The decisive game of the three game series with Lipscomb is set for a 1 p.m. opening pitch on Sunday afternoon.
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