Bednar's Clutch Single Lifts FGCU Baseball to 6-5 Walk-Off Victory Over No. 28 FAU
Tuesday, April 10, 2012 | by Caleb Baker (@calebaker)
Photo by Dennis Snyder
Photo by Dennis Snyder
#28 FAU (22-12)
Florida Gulf Coast (13-20)
4/10/2012 | Fort Myers, Fla. | Attendance: 187
Florida Gulf Coast0022000116100
Win: COONEY (3-2) 1.021110
Loss: Bo Logan (2-3) 0.111100
Kyle Newton (FAU) 432111
Mike Spano (FAU) 302110

FORT MYERS, Fla. – After a one-run lead diminished in the top of the ninth, the FGCU baseball team responded in the home half of the inning, as sophomore Brandon Bednar (Stuart, Fla./South Fork HS) delivered a one-out single up the middle to plate the game-winning run, lifting the Eagles to a 6-5 walk-off victory over No. 28 FAU on Tuesday evening at Swanson Stadium.

“This was a solid team victory for us this evening,” said head coach Dave Tollett. “(Brandon) Bixler did a nice job to start the game for us on the mound but ran into a little trouble in the sixth, and it was nice to see (Jack) English come into a tough situation and work out of the jam. Then, after giving up the tying run in the top of the inning, it was great to have the guys rally together and win it in our last chance at the plate on a clutch hit from Bednar. No one area stood out in the game but, again, it was nice to have the group come together and win this evening against a very good FAU team.”

Earning just the third victory in program history over a ranked opponent, the Eagles’ record improved to 13-20 this season. It also marked the second win over a ranked foe this season, as the Green and Blue took down then-No. 2 Florida State last week in Tallahassee, Fla., 5-1. In the loss, FAU dropped to 22-12 on the year. The Eagles will now take a 7-2 series record to Boca Raton, Fla. as they close the home-and-home series with the Owls on May 8.

Surrendering the game-tying run in the top of the ninth, the Green and Blue got their chance in the home half with the top of the lineup, and quickly got to work as senior Ryan Gebhart (Waco, Texas/Midway HS/Missouri) connected on the first pitch he saw for an infield single to the shortstop. After a sacrifice bunt by freshman Michael Suchy (Bradenton, Fla./Southeast HS) moved Gebhart to second, Bednar stepped to the plate with one out in the inning. Holding a 2-1 count at the dish, the Stuart, Fla. product smashed a hard grounder passed the pitcher and into centerfield, easily scoring Gebhart for the 6-5 walk-off win.

The Owls jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead in the game, lighting up the scoreboard in the top of second on a sacrifice fly to centerfield.

FGCU answered with two runs in the bottom of the third to establish a 2-1 lead in the game. A walk issued to freshman Brady Anderson (Arcadia, Fla./DeSoto County HS) was followed by a sacrifice bunt attempt from Gebhart, but an errant throw by the pitcher allowed the Eagles to find runners on second and third with no outs. Suchy then brought Anderson in to score on a sacrifice fly to centerfield, and sophomore Sean Dwyer’s (Tavares, Fla./Tavares HS) single through the right side later in the inning plated Gebhart for the one-run FGCU advantage.

In the fourth inning, FAU briefly tied the game as a solo home run to left field pushed the score to 2-2, but the Eagles responded again with two runs in their next chance at the plate. Batting in the designated hitter role, junior Mike Reeves (Peterborough, Ontario/St. Peter’s Secondary) opened the inning with a single to right field and Anderson put runners on first and second with a one-out hit-by-pitch. In the midst of a solid game offensively, Gebhart smashed a double down the left field line to plate both base runners, giving FGCU a 4-2 lead.

Having allowed two runs on just three hits entering the frame, sophomore lefty Brandon Bixler (Oviedo, Fla./Hagerty HS) ran into a bit of trouble in his sixth inning of work. After recording the first two outs in the inning, the Owls followed with a single and back-to-back walks before eventually scoring on another walk in the inning to make it a 4-3 game. Freshman right-hander Jack English (Delray Beach, Fla./Cardinal Newman HS) entered in relief with the bases still full, and picked up the final out of the inning on a swinging strikeout to sustain the Eagles one-run advantage. However, FAU would tack on another run in the top of the seventh to tie the game yet again at 4-4.

The Green and Blue reestablished the lead in the bottom of the eighth when redshirt freshman Alex Diaz (Miami, Fla./John A. Ferguson HS) roped a one-out double down the left field line and advanced to third when the left fielder misplayed the ball near the fence. Freshman Zack Tillery (Naples, Fla./Barron Collier HS) stepped in the box and sent a towering fly ball into right field, allowing Diaz to touch home plate on the sacrifice for the 5-4 edge.

After surrendering yet another game-tying run in the visitor’s side of the ninth, the Green and Blue battled back with some late inning heroics and eventually took the 6-5 victory with the walk-off single up the middle by Bednar.

Making his seventh start of the year, Bixler went 5.2 innings and allowed three runs on four hits while adding five walks and five strikeouts. English tossed 0.2 innings in relief, giving up one run and two walks while adding a punch out. Junior lefty RJ Brown (Brandon, Fla./Bloomingdale HS) also saw action in relief, hurling 1.2 scoreless innings, allowing one hit while striking out one hitter. Sophomore right-hander Harrison Cooney (Vero Beach, Fla./Vero Beach HS) improved to 3-2 after allowing one run on two hits and a walk in the top of the ninth.

The Eagles scored six runs on 10 hits and a pair of FAU errors. Leading the charge offensively, Gebhart went a perfect 3-for-3 in the game, driving in two RBI and scoring twice. Bednar hit 1-for-5 in the game, but drove in the game-winning RBI. Additionally, Dwyer (2-for-4) added an RBI and Anderson scored twice, while Reeves (1-for-3) and Diaz (1-for-4) accounted for the other two runs scored in the game.

FAU scored five runs on seven hits, while Naples, Fla. product Bo Logan was hit with the loss in relief after throwing 0.1 innings and allowing one run on one hit.

FGCU will be back in action as it travels across Alligator Alley to face No. 7 Miami on Wednesday, April 11 beginning at 6:00 p.m. in Coral Gables, Fla. The Eagles intend to start RHP Tillery (0-0, 2.45 ERA) in the contest. Live stats, in-game Twitter updates (@FGCUBaseball), results and recaps will be available at www.FGCUAthletics.com.