Pitching Leads FGCU to 5-1 Upset of No. 2 Florida State
Wednesday, April 04, 2012 | by Patrick Pierson (@pierson_sid)
Sophomore RHP Harrison Cooney got the win on the mound after going four strong innings. (Photo by Dennis Snyder)
Sophomore RHP Harrison Cooney got the win on the mound after going four strong innings. (Photo by Dennis Snyder)
Florida Gulf Coast (11-18)
#2 Florida State (22-5)
4/4/2012 | Tallahassee, FL | Attendance: 4090
Florida Gulf Coast200000300590
Florida State000001000130
Win: COONEY (1-2) 4.010023
Loss: Scott Sitz (1-2) 6.032209
SUCHY (FGCU) 512000
BEDNAR (FGCU) 412100
DIAZ (FGCU) 402000
James Ramsey (FS) 411000
Jayce Boyd (FS) 401100
John Holland (FS) 401000

Eagles limit explosive Seminole lineup to three hits

TALLAHASSE, Fla. – A collective three-hitter by four different pitchers and a fast start at the dish helped the FGCU baseball team become the second Atlantic Sun Conference team in as many nights to upset a ranked foe, as it defeated No. 2 Florida State, 5-1, Wednesday night on Mike Martin Field inside Dick Howser Stadium in front of 4,090 fans.

The program’s second-ever win against a ranked opponent finishes off a five-game road swing for FGCU (11-18), who heads back into A-Sun action this weekend with a home series against Mercer. The Green and Blue’s other ranked win in the program’s brief five-year Division I history came on May 6, 2009, when it won at No. 9 Florida by a 17-5 margin.

“This is a tremendous win for our program and I’m really happy for our young ball club,” said head coach Dave Tollett, who has led FGCU all 10 years of the program’s existence. “It’s been a long couple of days of waiting to play a game after a tough series loss, but the guys came out ready to go and they earned this win as a team.”

FGCU’s win comes one night after fellow A-Sun member North Florida took down No. 1 Florida, 10-5, in Jacksonville. The Eagle’s win at Dick Howser Stadium was just the second this season by the visiting team, dropping FSU to 17-2 on its home field. The Seminoles, who moved up to No. 2 this week in several national polls, now sport an overall record of 24-5.

Led by sophomore Harrison Cooney’s (Vero Beach, Fla./Vero Beach HS) four straight scoreless innings to start game, the FGCU pitching staff held the potent FSU lineup to one run on a season-low three hits, retiring the Seminoles in order four times. Coming into the night, the Seminoles had won 13 straight home games against the likes of Virginia, Virginia Tech, Stetson and FIU, and had been held to less than two runs just twice over that span.

Cooney retired 12 of the 16 batters he faced over his four innings of work, getting two runs of support in the first en route to picking up his first win of the season on the mound. The Vero Beach, Fla. product gave up just one hit and struck out three batters in his second start of the year. Cooney’s biggest punch out during his 56-pitch outing came in the third inning with the bases loaded and two outs to help FGCU keep its 2-0 lead.

FGCU presented Cooney with a two-run lead before the sophomore righty stepped on the mound, as an RBI double by sophomore Sean Dwyer (Tavares, Fla./Tavares HS) and one-run single by classmate Brandon Bednar (Stuart, Fla./South Fork HS) in the top of the first quickly made it 2-0. Both hits came with two outs with Dwyer’s seventh extra-base hit of the season scoring freshman Michael Suchy (Bradenton, Fla./Southeast HS) all the way from first after a single.

Florida State starter Scott Sitz settled down after the two-run first inning by FGCU, retiring the Eagles in order his other five innings of work en route to finishing with nine strikeouts in a tough-luck loss.

The Seminoles finally capitalized off Sitz sitting down 15 straight batters in the bottom of the sixth, plating a run on a two-out double off of senior lefty R.J. Brown (Brandon, Fla./Bloomingdale HS) to make it 2-1 in favor of the Green and Blue. Brown took over for Cooney to start the fifth, going 1.2 innings. Freshman Jack English (Delray Beach, Fla./Cardinal Newman HS) relieved Brown and recorded the final out of the sixth and went on to work a scoreless seventh.

With Sitz out of the game, FGCU found its rhythm at the dish again, using a wild combination of three hits, a walk, a wild pitch and a sacrifice fly to score three runs and extend its lead to 5-1.

English returned to the mound in the eighth, but after issuing two straight walks to start the frame was replaced by weekend starter Jason Forjet (Pembroke Pines, Fla./Nova HS). Faced with two runners on base and no outs, Forjet induced a pair of fly outs before walking the bases loaded. The senior righty then got the last out of the inning on another fly out.

Forjet returned in the ninth to seal FGCU’s third win over a BCS program this season, retiring the Seminoles in order for his fifth career save and the 5-1 upset.

In a game that pinned the Eagles against an FSU squad that averaged just fewer than 10 hits per game, it was the Green and Blue doing the damage at the dish with a 9-3 edge in the hits column. Suchy, Bednar and redshirt freshman Alex Diaz (Miami, Fla./John A. Ferguson HS) all finished with multi-hit games to highlight the 2-8 hitters in the lineup that went 9-for-28. Dwyer’s double was the only extra-base hit of the game, while he also scored twice. Freshman Zack Tillery (Naples, Fla./Barron Collier HS), who was the scheduled starter for Tuesday’s series opener, supplied an RBI single in the three-run seventh and started at third base.

FGCU and Florida State were scheduled to play a two-game set, but Tuesday’s opener was cancelled due to weather. Wednesday’s game was moved up to a 4 p.m. first pitch, but was also interrupted by thunder and lightning in the area delaying the start until 5:45 p.m.

The Eagles will now turn their attention to Mercer for a critical home A-Sun series that begins on Friday, April 3. The two teams will take Swanson Stadium at 3 p.m. on Friday for the first game of a doubleheader. The series finale will be played on Saturday at 2 p.m.