Mercer Uses Extra Innings to Defeat No. 24 FGCU Baseball, 4-3
|Win: KOURTIS (2-0)||2.2||3||0||0||2||3|
|Loss: COONEY (1-4)||2.2||4||1||1||5||3|
MACON, Ga. – Finding the bases loaded in the top of the 10th, No. 24 FGCU was unable to plate the go-ahead run, eventually falling to Mercer in the home half of the inning, 4-3, in game two of the three-game Atlantic Sun Conference weekend set on Saturday afternoon in Macon, Ga.
The loss drops the Eagles’ record to 20-11 (6-5 A-Sun), as they have now dropped three-straight contests. The Bears will take a 28-10 (9-5 A-Sun) record into the Sunday finale between the teams, which has been moved to a 10 a.m. start.
The Eagles jumped out in front 1-0 in the first inning after freshman Tyler Selesky (Estero, Fla./Estero HS) began the game with a lead-off double down the left field line followed by a sacrifice bunt by senior Mike Reeves (Peterborough, Ontario/St. Peter’s Secondary) to move Selesky to third. Junior Sean Dwyer (Taveras, Fla./Taveras HS) brought Selesky across the plate with a sacrifice fly to deep centerfield to give FGCU the one-run advantage.
The Green and Blue doubled its run total the sixth to go up 2-0, as Reeves started the inning with a single to center and moved to third on a single to right field by Dwyer. With runners on the corners, junior Brandon Bednar (Stuart, Fla./South fork HS) hit a grounder to the shortstop, allowing Reeves to score from third.
The two-run lead was short-lived as Mercer leveled the game in the home side of the inning. Nick Backlund started the inning with a one-out walk and moved to second on a hit to center field by Austin Barrett. Both runners advanced on a wild pitch before David Reid-Foley delivered a single to center with two away, which plated both runners to tie the game up a 2-2.
The Bears didn’t stop there, scoring the go-ahead run in the home half of the seventh. Sasha Lagarde and Derrick Workman both reached base by way of a hit-by-pitch. With a runner in scoring position, Backlund cashed in with a RBI single to center for the first lead of the game for Mercer, 3-2.
FGCU answered with a run in their half of the eighth. With one out in the frame, Bednar sent a ball through the left side and moved to third on a single to right field by freshman Nick Rivera (Cape Coral, Fla./Bishop Verot HS). Redshirt senior Brooks Beisner (Punta Gorda, Fla./Charlotte HS/Auburn) plated Bednar from third on a fielder choice to the shortstop to tie the game at 3-3. The score remained deadlocked through the final inning and a half as they two squads headed to extras.
The Eagles threatened in the their chance in the tenth with two away, finding the bases loaded after a walk to Beisner, a single through the left side by sophomore Michael Suchy (Bradenton, Fla./Southeast HS) and a hit-by-pitch issued to freshman Colton Bottomley (Davie, Fla./Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS). The scoring opportunity went unanswered as the inning came to close with a fly ball to centerfield that left the bases full.
Mercer got the better of the Eagles in the home half of the 10th inning with the game-winning run. Boyd reached first on a fielder’s choice, attempting to advance a runner on a sacrifice bunt to the pitcher. Koehler then double into the right center gap, moving the winning run to third. FGCU intentionally walked Lagarde to load the bases, prior to Chesney Young connecting for a single up the middle on a 2-2 pitch, giving the Bears the 4-3 victory.
Starting the game for the Green and Blue, freshman Michael Murray (West Palm Beach, Fla./Forest Hill HS) earned the no-decision after hurling the opening 5.2 innings and allowing two runs on six hits and two walks, while striking out five. Surrendering the decisive run in the 10th, junior Harrison Cooney (Vero Beach, Fla./Vero Beach HS) (1-4) was hit with the loss after coming into the game in the seventh and going 2.2 innings, allowing four hits and recording a trio of punchouts.
FGCU scored three runs on 11 hits, led by Bednar’s 2-for-5 game which included a run scored and one RBI. Nine of the 10 Eagles to see action recorded at least one hit in the contest, with Suchy (2-for-4) supplying the only other multi-hit performance. Selesky (1-for-5) and Reeves (1-for-3, BB) accounted for the other runs scored, while Dwyer (1-for-4) and Beisner (1-for-3, 2 BB) each recorded an RBI.
Mercer recorded four runs on 10 hits in the contest. Entering in the eighth, sophomore righty Dimitri Kourtis (2-0) earned the victory for the Bears after going 2.2 scoreless innings and allowing three hits to go with three strikeouts.
Moving the start time up three hours, the Eagles look to prevent the series sweep by the Bears when the two squads return to action on Sunday morning beginning at 10 a.m. The contest can be viewed lived at www.ASun.TV.
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