Offensive Production Lifts FGCU Over ETSU, 18-9
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. – Scoring a season-high 18 runs on a season-best 20 hits, the FGCU baseball team defeated ETSU, 18-9, in game two of the three-game Atlantic Sun Conference series on Saturday afternoon at Howard Johnson Field in Johnson City, Tenn. Every batter was able to record a hit in the contest for the Blue and Green.
With the victory, the Eagles improved their record to 14-14 on the year, including 8-6 in the A-Sun. Meanwhile the Bucs dropped to 15-8 overall and 7-5 in the conference.
With four multi-run innings including a six-run fourth, every batter to step into the box recorded at least one hit on the afternoon. The Blue and Green were led at the plate by senior Mikel Alvarez (West Palm Beach, Fla./Palm Beach Central HS), who went 4-for-7 with four RBI and a run scored from the leadoff position. Freshman Sean Dwyer (Leesburg, Fla./Tavares HS) also had a strong showing with a five RBI outing that included two runs scored and a 3-for-5 day at the dish. Additionally, freshman Jake Foley (Punta Gorda, Fla./Charlotte HS) added five runs scored and an RBI in a 3-for-5 game.
Junior right-hander Jacob Barnes (St. Petersburg, Fla./St. Petersburg HS) got the start in the contest for the Eagles, allowing five earned runs on six hits to go along with six strikeouts in 4.1 innings on the mound. Freshman lefty Alex Norris (Clearwater, Fla./Dunedin HS) picked up his first career victory (1-0) in relief, throwing 2.2 innings and surrendering three runs with a pair of strikeouts. Freshman Ricky Knapp (Port Charlotte, Fla./Port Charlotte HS) also saw action in relief of Norris, giving up just one unearned run and sitting down three batters in two frames on the bump.
ETSU's Derek Bushey (1-2) was credited with the loss after throwing the first 3.2 innings of contest. Bushey gave up seven runs, just one of which was earned, on six hits in addition to four strikeouts and pair of walks.
Just one run crossed the plate through the first three innings, with the lone tally coming off the bat of junior Javi Sujo (Miami, Fla./Miami Sunset HS/Middle Georgia College) in the second frame. Coming to the dish with one out in the inning, Sujo connected with a 1-0 pitch and sent it deep down the right field line for his first home run as an Eagle.
The scoring would pick up in the FGCU side of the fourth as six runs were moved to plate. After senior Zach Maxfield (North Port, Fla./North Port HS/Pasco-Hernando CC) reached on an error, a fielder’s choice from Foley put Eagles on first and third. With two outs in the inning, Dwyer singled passed the first baseman to score Maxfield, and a double down the right field line by senior Robert Greene (Cape Coral, Fla./Mariner HS) brought home Foley and moved runners back to the corners. Another error in the frame allowed Alvarez to reach first, moving Greene to third and allowing Dwyer to make it a 4-0 lead. Freshman Brandon Bednar (Stuart, Fla./South Fork HS) stepped into the batter’s box for a double down the right field line to score Greene, and later crossed the plate with Alvarez on an extra base hit from Roberson, making it a 7-0 score.
ETSU moved a trio of runners around the bases in the home half of the fourth to cut its deficit to 7-3. A walk and a single started off the inning, and were followed with a three-run home run to right field by Bo Reeder.
A leadoff double by sophomore Mike Reeves (Peterborough, Ontario/St. Peter's Secondary) started off the Eagles’ side of the fifth, and a one out single to left field by Foley put runners on first and third. Dwyer was then able to record a pair of RBI with a triple to right center. The FGCU lead would move to 10-3 after a single through the right side from Alvarez advanced Dwyer to the plate.
The Bucs responded with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fifth following a leadoff home run from Matthew Scruggs, and a one out single through the right side by Derek Trent that scored Paul Hoilman from second base.
FGCU extended its advantage to 14-5 with a four-run sixth inning. Maxfield started the frame with a single and moved to third on a double to right center by Reeves. Sujo then stepped back to the plate and singled to score Maxfield. After Foley reached on an error to load the bases, a Dwyer sacrifice fly scored Reeves and a double to left center from Alvarez plated Sujo and Foley.
ETSU’s John Long began the home side of the sixth inning with a double to left center and moved to third on groundout. The scoreboard read 14-6 heading to the seventh frame after Scruggs batted in Long on a double down the left field line.
Padding their lead with three more runs, the Eagles went ahead 17-6 just before the seventh inning stretch. With Roberson on second and Maxfield on first following an error and a walk, respectively, a Foley double brought Roberson in to score. Yet another ETSU error allowed Dwyer to reach first, and Maxfield to touch the plate from third. Later in the frame with two outs, Alvarez singled to score Foley.
Back-to-back home runs from Reeder and Andrew Green to start off the frame allowed ETSU to make it a 17-8 ballgame in the bottom of the seventh.
The Eagles would make it a 10-run contest once again following a leadoff double to right center by Foley to open up the final frame. With his fifth RBI of the game, Dwyer singled through the right side to bring Foley across the plate.
ETSU was able to bring just one run across to score in the final half inning as the Blue and Green recorded the final out to secure the 18-9 victory.
Splitting the first two games, the two teams will be back in action for the series clinching contest on Sunday beginning at 12:05 p.m. Results and recaps of the contest will be available at www.FGCUAthletics.com following the game.
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