Knapp's Complete Game Shutout Leads FGCU to 2-0 Win Over UNF in A-Sun Opener
|Florida Gulf Coast||0||1||1||0||0||0||0||0||X||2||8||0|
|Win: KNAPP (3-1)||9.0||3||0||0||3||6|
|Loss: WESTWOOD (2-1)||8.0||8||2||2||1||9|
FORT MYERS, Fla. – In yet another stellar start on the mound, sophomore right-hander Ricky Knapp (Port Charlotte, Fla./Port Charlotte HS) tossed a complete game shutout against North Florida in the Atlantic Sun Conference opener on Friday evening at Swanson Stadium, as the FGCU baseball team went on to a 2-0 victory over the Ospreys.
The win improved the Eagles’ record to 7-10 on the season, as they now sit 1-0 in league play. Meanwhile, the Ospreys dropped to 12-6 (0-1) in the loss. The Green and Blue now hold an all-time mark of 11-2 in A-Sun opening weekends, including a 6-1 mark when beginning the league slate at Swanson Stadium.
“Knapp did extremely well for us on the mound this evening,” said head coach Dave Tollett. “He was showing good command and did a nice job of mixing up his pitches. At the plate, (Sean) Dwyer really stepped up tonight with some key at-bats and delivered twice with the home run and the triple. When you get both sides of the ball working you can come away with wins and that’s what they helped us do this evening.”
In his first career complete game shutout, Knapp matched a career-high six strikeouts while allowing three hits and issuing just three walks in the 92-pitch outing. The last complete game shutout in A-Sun play for the Eagles came last season, when Sunday starter and current senior Jason Forjet (Pembroke Pines, Fla./Nova HS) kept Campbell (March 18) off the board in a 6-0 win. With a 3-1 record on the season, Knapp now owns a 1.65 ERA through five appearances, including four starts, and has held opponents to a .193 average with 17 punch outs and only four walks in 32.2 innings on the hill.
The Green and Blue broke into the run column in their second chance at the dish on the strength of a solo longball by sophomore clean-up man Sean Dwyer (Tavares, Fla./Tavares HS). Starting off the inning for the Eagles, the Tavares, Fla. product quickly deposited his second home run of the season to dead centerfield on the first pitch of the frame for the early 1-0 lead.
FGCU made it a 2-0 game in the home side of third on a standup double to left field by sophomore Andrew Valencia (Miami, Fla./Gulliver Prep). Following a single through the right side by sophomore Brandon Bednar (Stuart, Fla./South Fork HS) and a sacrifice bunt by senior Ryan Gebhart (Waco, Texas/Midway HS/Missouri), Valencia laced a deep fly ball to the warning track in left to easily bring in Bednar from second base for his team-best 13th RBI of the year.
The final 8 ½ innings of scoreless baseball were finished off with a 1-2-3 top the ninth by Knapp, as the Eagles took the A-Sun opening contest 2-0.
FGCU plated its two runs on eight hits, and were led by Dwyer’s 2-for-3 game which featured a home run, a triple, a run scored, an RBI and an intentional base on balls. Valencia drove in one RBI in his 1-for-4 night, while Bednar (2-for-4) scored the Eagles’ other run the ballgame. Bednar now leads the team with 13 runs scored, and Dwyer holds a share of the team-lead with a pair of home runs.
UNF starter Kyle Westwood (2-1) also had a solid performance on the mound in the losing effort, accumulating a career-high nine strikeouts while allowing two earned runs and one walk in eight innings of work.
The two squads will be back in action on Saturday beginning at 2 p.m., with the series finale slated for a 1 p.m. start on Sunday at Swanson Stadium. The Eagles intend to throw junior lefty Andrew Polly (Broken Arrow, Okla./Tulsa Union HS/Cowley County CC) (1-1, 5.51 ERA) against UNF junior southpaw Michael Renner (3-1, 3.58 ERA) on Saturday.
Saturday, Mar. 17 – 2 p.m.
FGCU – LHP Andrew Polly, Jr. (1-1, 5.51 ERA, 16.1 IP, 10 SO, 7 BB, .281 B/Avg.)
UNF – LHP Michael Renner, Jr. (3-1, 3.58 ERA, 27.2 IP, 19 SO, 4 BB, .243 B/Avg.)
Sunday, Mar. 18 – 1 p.m.
FGCU – RHP Jason Forjet, Sr. (0-2, 2.96 ERA, 24.1 IP, 23 SO, 5 BB, .240 B/Avg.)
UNF – LHP Tommy Organ, Jr. (1-1, 4.87 ERA, 20.1 IP, 19 SO, 9 BB, .288 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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