No. 26 Baseball Splits Doubleheader with ETSU
Saturday, March 23, 2013 | by Matt Judd
Tillery batted .636 (7-for-11) in the three-game series (J. Meric photo)
Tillery batted .636 (7-for-11) in the three-game series (J. Meric photo)
#26 Florida Gulf Coast (14-5)
ETSU (13-7)
3/23/2013 | Johnson City, Tenn. | Attendance: 410
Florida Gulf Coast100100000261
Win: DOANE (4-1) 9.062225
Loss: BIXLER (2-1) 5.033354
GREEN (ETSU) 312110

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. – In just its second doubleheader this season, the No. 26 FGCU baseball team split the pair of contests with ETSU on Saturday afternoon at Thomas Stadium in Johnson City Tenn. ETSU took game one with a 3-2 victory but the Eagles got the better of them in game two in a thrilling 10-9 win.

The Eagles move to 15-5 on the year and 2-1 in Atlantic Sun action while ETSU went to 14-7 and 3-3 in league play. The Green and Blue earned the three-game series win, 2-1, after taking the first game Friday night, 3-2.

The Bucs took game one with a complete game effort from starter Kerry Doane. Doane went all nine innings, allowing two runs, on six hits while fanning five batters in a 120-pitch complete-game victory.

In game one, the Eagles got on the board in the first inning. Freshman Tyler Selesky (Estero, Fla./Estero HS) lead off the inning with a walk. Senior Mike Reeves (Peterborough, Ontario/St. Peter’s Secondary) laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Selesky to second and junior Sean Dwyer (Taveras, Fla./Taveras HS) doubled to left center to bring in Selesky from third.

ETSU took the lead in the bottom half of the second when Andrew Green and Dyaln Tritsch led off the inning with back-to-back hits. Both runners advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Chris Riopedre and both scored on infield throwing error.

The Green and Blue would then even the score in their half of the fourth when junior Brandon Bednar (Stuart, Fla./South fork HS) doubled down the left field line, advanced to third on a wild pitch and came around to score on an infield groundout to shortstop by sophomore Michael Suchy (Bradenton, Fla./Southeast HS).

The Bucs responded in the fifth when Jeremy Taylor walked, stole second and scored on a double to left field by Andrew Green. Doane would cruise the rest of the way, picking up the game-one victory for ETSU.

Junior lefty Brandon Bixler (Oviedo, Fla./Hagerty HS) (2-1) was credited with the loss in game one. The Oviedo, Fla. native tossed five innings, allowing three runs on three hits while striking out four in his first loss this season.

Senior righty Danny Patrick (Jupiter Fla./Jupiter HS/Pepperdine/Palm Beach State) relieved Bixler in the sixth and allowed three hits over 2.1 innings of work. Lefty classmate R.J. Brown (Bradenton, Fla./Bloomingdale HS) got the final two outs for the Eagles.

Sophomore Zack Tillery (Naples, Fla./Barron Collier HS) led the offense, going a perfect 3-for-3 at the dish. Dwyer chipped in a hit and an RBI while Selesky and Bednar each tallied a hit in the loss. Suchy recorded the only other RBI in the game for the Eagles.

In game two, ETSU jumped ahead with two runs in the second inning. After back-to-back singles followed by a sacrifice bunt to move the runners to second and third, the first run scored on a wild pitch and the second came in on a sacrifice fly-out.

The Green and Blue evened the score in the top of the third with a lead-off single by redshirt sophomore Alex Diaz (Miami, Fla./Ferguson HS) followed by a RBI triple by Bednar. Bednar would eventually come in on a sacrifice fly-out by Dwyer to tie the game at 2-2.

The Eagles took their first lead of the game the following inning with back-to-back homeruns to left center by freshman Nick Rivera (Cape Coral, Fla./Bishop Verot HS) and Suchy.

The lead didn’t last long as Riopedre of ETSU hit a two-run blast to left field to even the score at 4-4 in the bottom half of the frame.

FGCU would take the lead again in the top half of the sixth with a bases-loaded single by junior Andrew Valencia (Miami, Fla./Gulliver Prep) followed by a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch to Diaz to take a 6-4 edge.

The Bucs would tie the game up immediately in the bottom half with a double down the right field line by Kevin Phillips that plated two runners.

The Green and Blue responded in the top of the seventh with back-to-back singles by Dwyer and redshirt senior Brooks Beisner (Punta Gorda, Fla./Charlotte HS/Auburn) followed by a single to left center by Rivera to plate Dwyer from second base to reestablish a 7-6 advantage.

ETSU again tied the game up in the bottom half of the frame with a lead-off single by Jeremy Taylor, who advanced to second on an error by the shortstop. Taylor was moved over to third with a sacrifice bunt and came around to score the following batter on an RBI groundout to second by Clinton Freeman.

The Eagles would plate two in the top of the eighth with a lead-off walk to Valencia who was moved to second by a sacrifice bunt and scored on a RBI-double by Bednar. Bednar would move to third on a single by Reeves and scored on the following at-bat with a sacrifice fly out by Dwyer. 

FGCU added an insurance run in the top half of the ninth on a bases-loaded sacrifice fly-out by Diaz, to score Nick Rivera from third and take a 10-7 lead. The final run proved to be pivotal in the bottom half of the ninth.

Up three going into the bottom half of the ninth. Phillips leads off with a single, followed by a bases-clearing double by the right field line by Jordan Sanford. Down two runs with two outs in the inning, Freeman singled to right field to plate Sanford from second and cut the lead to just one. Daniel Tucker pinch run for Freeman on first and Tyler Roach followed with a pinch-hit double to left center to leave the tying run on third and the winning run on second. Tritsch would come up with runners in scoring position and junior right-hander Harrison Cooney (Vero Beach, Fla./Vero Beach HS) got him to end the inning on a swinging strikeout and secure the win for FGCU.

Freshman right-hander Michael Murray (West Palm Beach, Fla./Forest Hill HS) started for the Eagles in the finale and allowed six runs on eight hits and fanned two batters in 5.2 innings of work. Brown made his second appearance on the day in the sixth inning and allowed only one unearned run in 1.1 innings pitched. Cooney tossed the final two innings and allowed two runs on four hits to record his third save this season and second save this series.

Nick Rivera led the offense in the win, going 3-for-5 with a RBI, homerun and three runs scored. Tillery also recorded three hits in the win, and tallied six hits combined in the doubleheader. Bednar, Reeves and Beisner each collected two hits in the victory. Dwyer tallied two RBI in the night-cap, both coming on sacrifice fly-outs. Diaz also plated two runs in the game. The 16 hits in the win tied a season-high for the Eagles.

For the series, Tillery powered the offense, batting .636 (7-for-11) with a double. Nick Rivera and Bednar each tallied five hits in the three-game series. Nick Rivera, Suchy and Dwyer each recorded three RBI in the weekend series. Tillery, Nick Rivera, Reeves, Bednar and Suchy started all three games and all of them batted over .300 in the series.

The Eagles will be back in action Tuesday, when they travel to Tampa, Fla. to take on USF in a mid-week contest. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m. on the campus on USF.

Fans can get updates and information on FGCU baseball all season long by visiting www.FGCUATHLETICS.com or by following the team on twitter @FGCU_Baseball.