Dwyer Delivers Walk-Off as FGCU Baseball Takes Series Opener with Bryant, 5-4
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|Win: ANDERSON (1-0)||1.0||0||0||0||0||2|
|Loss: LISANTI (0-1)||0.1||0||2||0||2||0|
FORT MYERS, Fla. – Trailing by one run entering the final frame, the FGCU baseball team plated a pair of runs in the ninth to defeat visiting Bryant University, 5-4, in walk-off fashion on Friday evening at Swanson Stadium. Sophomore Sean Dwyer (Tavares, Fla./Tavares HS) came through in the clutch, driving in the deciding run in game one of the three-game weekend series.
“This was a great win for our team tonight,” said head coach Dave Tollett. “I felt that our pitching did a good job again this evening and kept us right in the game. It was nice to see Dwyer step up in that situation and bring in that go-ahead run. We need to take the momentum from this win tonight and keep it rolling throughout the rest of this weekend.”
With the walk-off victory, the Green and Blue improve to 2-3 on the young season, while Bryant drops to 2-2 with the loss.
After freshman right-hander Brady Anderson (Arcadia, Fla./DeSoto County HS) tallied his sixth-straight scoreless frame to start the season in a 1-2-3 top of the ninth, the Eagles headed into their final at-bat trailing the Bulldogs, 4-3. In the home half of the inning, freshman Michael Suchy (Bradenton, Fla./Southeast HS) started the Eagles comeback with a leadoff walk. As redshirt freshman Alex Diaz (Miami, Fla./Ferguson HS) intended to lay down a sacrifice bunt to advance Suchy, the Eagles quickly found runners on second and third with no outs courtesy of a throwing error on the play by Bryant catcher Mike DelPonte. After a walk to Ryan Gebhart (Waco, Texas/Midway HS/Missouri) loaded the bases, sophomore Brandon Bednar (Stuart, Fla./South Fork HS) sent a ground ball to third base, however, the Green and Blue leveled the game at 4-4 on the play as the third baseman’s throw pulled DelPonte away from home plate on what would have been a force out.
With the bases still loaded, Dwyer stepped to the plate for his third at-bat of the contest. Holding a 2-2 count at the dish, the Tavares, Fla. product sent a low fly ball to right field, deep enough to bring Diaz in from third and give the Eagles the 5-4 walk-off victory.
The Eagles got on the board early in the game, bringing two runs across the dish in the home half of the first. With one out in the frame, Bednar connected on a hard hit ground ball to the left side of the infield and quickly advanced to second base on a throwing error by the shortstop. A groundout to first base allowed Bednar to move to third base as freshman Zack Tillery (Naples, Fla./Barron Collier HS) stepped into the box. Behind early in the count, Tillery battled back and eventually roped a single through the right side to score Bednar and make it a 1-0 game. Following a walk to junior Mike Reeves (Peterborough, Ontario/St. Peter's Secondary) in the next at-bat, a two-out single from Dane Wisneski (Jupiter, Fla./Palm Beach Gardens HS/Daytona State) allowed Tillery to score from second base and double the Eagles' lead to 2-0.
Bryant leveled the contest in the visitor's side of the third after loading the bases on a leadoff single, a walk and a bunt single down the third base line to begin the frame. What appeared to be a double-play ball ultimately resulted in two runs coming across for the Bulldogs, as Diaz's errant throw to first allowed Bryant's Jordan Mountford to round third and make it a 2-2 game. Picking up a 4-6 putout prior to the error, the Eagles worked out of the tough situation with a pop out to third base and swinging strikeout to end the inning.
Plating another run in the home half of the third, the Green and Blue quickly reestablished a 3-2 lead in the contest. A Bednar single to right center followed by a walk to Dwyer got things started in the inning for the Eagles. Sending a single up the middle, Reeves picked up his first RBI of the season as Bednar came around to score from second.
The Bulldogs moved ahead 4-3 in the top of the seventh. Leading off the inning with a single, Bryant's Dan Muscatello advanced to second on a groundout to shortstop and came across the plate on a RBI single to centerfield by Connor Carignan. Later in the frame, Carignan added a run to the scoring column on a single to shallow center by David Soltis.
Bryant’s lead would hold until the ninth when the Eagles put together their late-inning heroics.
Senior righty Jason Forjet (Pembroke Pines, Fla./Nova HS) started the contest for the Eagles and totaled six strikeouts through his 6.2 innings on the mound, allowing four runs (three earned) on seven hits while issuing four walks. Freshman right-hander Jack English (Delray Beach, Fla./Cardinal Newman HS) was also effective in his 1.1 scoreless frames, picking up a strikeout while allowing two hits. While continuing his scoreless innings streak, Anderson improved to 1-0 on the season while recording a pair of strikeouts.
Offensively, the Eagles recorded five runs on seven hits and three Bryant errors. Tillery led the Green and Blue, going 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored. Bednar scored twice, while Dwyer, Reeves and Wisneski each added an RBI on the night. Suchy and Diaz accounted for the other two FGCU runs in the contest.
The two teams will be back in action on Saturday for game two of the three-game series. First pitch is set for 2 p.m. at Swanson Stadium.
Saturday, Feb. 25 – 2 p.m.
FGCU – LHP Andrew Polly, Jr. (0-0, 1.59 ERA, 5.2 IP, 1 SO, 2 BB, .250 B/Avg.)
BRYANT – RHP Joe Michaud, Jr. (1-0, 0.00 ERA, 7.0 IP, 5 SO, 1 BB, .160 B/Avg.)
Sunday, Feb. 26 – 1 p.m.
FGCU – LHP Brandon Bixler, So. (0-1, 2.25 ERA, 4.0 IP, 5 SO, 4 BB, .083 B/Avg.)
BRYANT – RHP Craig Schlitter, So. (0-0, 0.00 ERA, 1.0 IP, 1 SO, 0 BB, .400 B/Avg.)
Live stats, in-game Twitter updates (@FGCUEagles and @FGCUBaseball), results and recaps from all FGCU events are available at www.FGCUAthletics.com.
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