Seven-Run Fourth Inning Leads FGCU Past Bryant in Game Two
|Florida Gulf Coast||0||0||0||7||0||0||1||0||X||8||10||1|
|Win: POLLY (1-0)||5.0||4||1||1||2||5|
|Loss: MICHAUD (1-1)||3.2||7||7||3||4||4|
|ST. GEORGE (BRYANT)||3||1||1||0||0||0|
FORT MYERS, Fla. – Highlighted by a seven-run fourth inning, the FGCU baseball team secured its first series victory of the season on Saturday afternoon at Swanson Stadium, defeating visiting Bryant University, 8-1, in game two of the weekend series.
“It’s great to get that first series win of the season under our belts,” said head coach Dave Tollett. “(Andrew) Polly gave us another quality start on the mound this afternoon and we were able to get some offense going behind him. We need to carry over some of this offensive and defensive effort into the series finale tomorrow.”
The win levels the Eagles’ record at 3-3 on the season, while the Bulldogs fall to 2-3 overall.
Bryant was the first to strike in the contest, plating one run in the top of the third. Consecutive singles to Daniel St. George and Connor Carignan started off the inning for the Bulldogs. After a one-out walk to David Soltis to load the bases, a sacrifice fly to centerfield by Mike DelPonte allowed St. George to come in from third and give Bryant a 1-0 lead.
A strong fourth inning saw the Green and Blue move seven runners around the base paths to take a 7-1 lead in the game. The Eagles found the bases loaded with one-out following a walk to sophomore Sean Dwyer (Tavares, Fla./Tavares HS), a fielder's choice by freshman Zack Tillery (Naples, Fla./Barron Collier HS) and another walk to junior Mike Reeves (Peterborough, Ontario/St. Peter's Secondary). Junior Dane Wisneski (Jupiter, Fla./Palm Beach Gardens HS/Daytona State) continued his solid start to the season with a single through the left side, which scored Dwyer from third and leveled the score at 1-1. Sophomore Andrew Valencia (Miami, Fla./Gulliver Prep) put the Eagles ahead 2-1, scoring Tillery on a towering RBI single which dropped into shallow right field.
Continuing the offensive production for FGCU in the fourth, freshman Michael Suchy (Bradenton, Fla./Southeast HS) sent a bloop single into right field, picking up his first RBI of the season as Reeves came across the plate from third base. With the Eagles leading 3-1 and the bases still loaded with two outs, centerfielder Ryan Gebhart (Waco, Texas/Midway HS/Missouri) also recorded his first RBI of the year on a walk, as Wisneski touched home plate. Extending the Eagles’ advantage to 5-1, sophomore Brandon Bednar (Stuart, Fla./South Fork HS) recorded an RBI with another bases loaded walk. The Green and Blue's final damage in the inning came on a two-RBI single to centerfield by Dwyer, which moved Gebhart and Suchy to the plate for the 7-1 lead.
The Green and Blue tacked on another run in the seventh, increasing their lead to 8-1. Back-to-back singles by Bednar and Dwyer opened the inning for the Eagles, and Tillery loaded the bases on an error by the first baseman. Reeves tallied his second RBI of the season, bringing in Bednar on a groundout to second base. This proved to be the final scoring of the afternoon, as FGCU held Bryant scoreless over its final two chances at the dish.
In his first start of the season, junior lefty Andrew Polly (Broken Arrow, Okla./ Tulsa Union HS/Cowley County CC) (1-0) tossed five innings in the winning effort, allowing one earned run on four hits while recording five strikeouts and issuing a pair of walks. Also contributing to the winning effort, freshman right-hander Gabe Rivera (Oviedo, Fla./Hagerty HS), junior southpaw Kevin Bryant (Homestead, Fla./South Dade HS), sophomore righty Harrison Cooney (Vero Beach, Fla./Vero Beach HS) and freshman righty Zack Tillery (Naples, Fla./Barron Collier HS) each threw one scoreless inning in respective order. Rivera added his first carreer strikeout to his line, while Cooney surrendered the Bulldogs’ final hit in the contest.
FGCU combined for eight runs on 10 hits and a pair of Bryant errors. Dwyer led the Eagles offensively, going a perfect 3-for-3 with a walk, while driving in a pair of RBI and scoring once. Wisneski and Suchy each went 2-for-4 on the afternoon, adding one RBI and one run scored apiece. Each recording a run scored and an RBI, Gebhart, Bednar and Valencia all went 1-for-4 on the day.
Starting the contest for Bryant, junior right-hander Joseph Michaud (1-1) was hit with the loss after going 3.2 innings and allowing seven runs (three earned) on seven hits, while totaling four strikeouts and four walks. The Bulldogs scored their lone run on five hits and one FGCU error.
The series finale between FGCU and Bryant is set for a 1 p.m. first pitch at Swanson Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Sophomore lefty Brandon Bixler (Oviedo, Fla./Hagerty HS) is the probable starter for the Eagles, while sophomore right-hander Craig Schlitter is expected to throw for Bryant.
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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