Eagles Earn 300th Win; Complete Sweep of Ospreys on Friday
FORT MYERS, Fla. – The FGCU baseball team wrapped up regular season competition on Friday evening at Swanson Stadium with a doubleheader against the UNF Ospreys. The Eagles earned the program’s 300th victory with the game one victory, 4-2, and went on for the sweep of the series in game two, 9-2.
Currently ranked 44th in RPI, the Eagles improved to 37-18 overall (25-5 A-Sun) with the doubleheader sweep. The Ospreys dropped to 29-16 on the year (14-12 A-Sun).
With the win in game one of the doubleheader, the Eagles picked up the program's 300th victory (301-134-2 all-time; 8 seasons). Also with the game one victory, the Eagles successfully claimed all 10 A-Sun Conference series on the season, sweeping the three-game sets with USC Upstate, Campbell, Belmont, ETSU, and UNF. The Blue and Green are now 73-20 all-time in A-Sun competition (3 seasons).
Junior Richie Erath (West Palm Beach, Fla.) took the bump to opening the first contest of the afternoon. The right hander allowed just two earned runs on eight hits to go with two strikeouts, improving his record to 7-3 on the year. Junior lefty Patrick Nathanson (Maitland, Fla.) earned his second save of the season, allowing no hits in two scoreless innings of work out of the pen.
Michael Kelly (5-7) was credited with the loss for the Ospreys after allowing four runs (three earned) on 11 hits and six strikeouts in 6.1 innings.
UNF jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead in the top half of the first inning. After a fielding error, an infield single and a walk loaded the bases, a 6-4-3 double play ball allowed T.J. Gavlik to touch the plate from third base (1-0).
Following a one-out infield single by junior Mikel Alvarez (West Palm Beach, Fla.), fellow classmate Tim Roberson (West Palm Beach, Fla.) sent a line drive double over the left fielder’s head, allowing Alvarez enough time to beat out a relay throw to the plate and bring the game level at one apiece.
Gavlik picked up an RBI in the Ospreys’ second chance at the plate. Andrew Hannon doubled down the right field line, and advanced to third on a wild pitch. After a walk put Sam Perry on first base, Gavlik beat out a fielder’s choice to score Hannon from third (2-1).
The game drew level again in the home half of the second inning. Back to back singles by Wickens and Alvarez put runners on first and second with one out. Roberson stepped back into the batter’s box and picked up his second RBI of the contest on a single to left field which scored Wickens from second (2-2).
FGCU established the lead in the bottom of the sixth frame. The Blue and Green had two outs in the inning when junior Luke Smierciak (Gainesville, Fla.) reached on a fielding error by the shortstop, and advanced to second base on a wild pitch. Sophomore Joe Guarnaccia (Weston, Fla.), who excited the crowd with a spectacular diving catch in left center in the previous half inning, singled to left field to score Smierciak on a bang-bang play at the plate (3-2).
The Eagles built a two run advantage in the their next chance at the dish after a leadoff single by Alvarez and a groundout to second that advanced him to second base. Junior Zach Maxfield (North Port, Fla.) laced a line drive single into left field, picking up an RBI by moving Alvarez to the plate (4-2).
UNF would go scoreless over their final two chances at the plate as FGCU went on to claim the game one victory, 4-2.
Registering four runs on 12 hits in the contest, the Blue and Green were led offensively by Alvarez’s 3-for-4, two run game. Roberson went 2-for-4 with two RBI and Maxfield batted 2-for-4 with an RBI. Guarnaccia picked up an RBI, while Wickens and Smierciak each touched the place once.
Senior Pete Woodworth (St. Petersburg, Fla.) took the game ball to the mound for the second contest of the evening and improved to 9-2 on the year after allowing one unearned run on four hits and six strikeouts in a seven inning performance. Sophomore Jacob Barnes (St. Petersburg, Fla.) and freshman Kevin Bryant (Homestead, Fla.) combined for the final two innings of work. Bryant allowed one earned run on two hits, while Barnes pitched 1.2 scoreless innings and recorded two strikeouts.
UNF’s John Atteo dropped to 4-4 on the season with the loss, throwing seven innings and allowing four unearned runs on six hits.
In game two, the Eagles lit up the scoreboard in the bottom of the third inning as junior Austin Gaines started things off with a single to right field. A sacrifice bunt by junior Alex Lozada (Estero, Fla.) moved Gaines to second, and a fielder’s choice with a throwing error allowed Gaines to come across for the first run of the game (1-0). Later in the inning, the bases would be full with Guarnaccia, Wickens and Roberson, a double to deep center field cleared the bases and gave Maxfield three RBI in the contest (4-0).
The Ospreys broke up the shutout in the visitors’ half of the sixth frame. With runners on second and third with one out, T.J. Thompson connected for a sacrifice fly to right field to score Michael Smith from third (4-1). In the top of the eighth inning, UNF plated another run as Preston Hale head home from third base on a single to center field by Ryan Roberson (4-2), cousin to FGCU’s Tim Roberson.
Five insurance runs crossed home plate for the hometown team in the bottom of the eighth inning. Chester dropped a one-out double into center field to get things started, before taking an honorary exit from his final home game as an Eagle as freshman Jay Laurienzo (Tampa, Fla.) entered the contest to pinch run. A Smierciak double to right center scored Laurienzo (5-2), and Gaines sent a single to left to move Smierciak in from second (6-2). The bases were full with Guarnaccia, Lozada, and Gaines later in the frame, when a Wickens hit to center field scored Gaines and Lozada (8-2). Guarnaccia also touched home in the inning on an Alvarez single to left field (9-2). This proved to be the final tally of the contest as the Eagles earned the series sweep with the victory.
FGCU plated nine runs on 13 hits in the second ball game of the day. Alvarez went 3-for-5 with an RBI, Gaines batted 3-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored, while Smierciak hit 2-for-4 with one run and one RBI. Wickens scored and moved in two RBI, Maxfield registered three RBI and Guarnaccia scored twice, all going 1-for-4.
With the regular season behind them, the No. 1 seeded Eagles now turn their focus to the 2010 A-Sun Championship in Nashville, Tenn. The Blue and Green will await the outcome of the remaining A-Sun regular season contests to determine their competition in the program’s first Division I post-season appearance. The conference tournament runs from May 26th-29th.
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