@FGCU_Baseball Earns Second-Straight A-Sun Walk-Off Victory Over USC Upstate
|Win: COONEY (2-4)||3.0||4||1||1||1||3|
|Loss: AUGENSTEIN (2-3)||1.1||1||1||1||0||1|
FORT MYERS, Fla. – Facing a bases-loaded situation with no outs in the USC Upstate side of the 11th, the FGCU baseball team worked out of the jam and made good of the opportunity in the home half of the frame, as junior Brandon Bednar (Stuart, Fla./South Fork HS) connected for a two-out RBI single into right center, helping the Green and Blue to their second walk-off victory in as many days in the Atlantic Sun series, 3-2, on Saturday afternoon at Swanson Stadium.
Finding the bases full with no outs in the 11th, junior right-hander Harrison Cooney (Vero Beach, Fla./Vero Beach HS) induced a fly ball to right field which led to double play, as sophomore Michael Suchy (Bradenton, Fla./Southeast HS) gunned the runner out at the plate attempting to tag from third. With runners on the corners, Cooney sent the Eagles back to the plate by stranding the opposing runners with a swinging strikeout.
Recording two quick outs in the bottom of the 11th, senior Mike Reeves (Peterborough, Ontario/St. Peter’s Secondary) got the inning rolling with a single down the right field line. After junior Sean Dwyer (Tavares, Fla./Tavares HS) was hit by the first pitch he faced, Bednar was able to bring in the game-winning run by drilling a 0-2 pitch into right center and advance Reeves across the plate.
Battling a snake on the field prior to the game and rain showers throughout the afternoon, the Eagles’ record moved to 22-13 overall and 8-6 in the A-Sun with the win. USC Upstate dropped its record to 22-18 this season, including a 7-10 mark in conference play.
The Eagles fell behind 1-0 in the top of the second after a leadoff single from Brody Greer. Later in the inning with two away, a single into centerfield by Tyler Miller allowed Greer to score for the one-run advantage.
FGCU faced the one-run deficit until the home half of the eighth, when it received a double down the left field line to open the frame from Dwyer, who moved to third on an error by the third baseman on the play. Bednar collected his team-best 31st RBI of the season on a double to right center that scored Dwyer easily from third. The 1-1 score held for the remainder of regulation as the two teams headed to the extra frames to determine the winner.
The Spartans reestablished a 2-1 edge in the top of the 10th with a single by Trey Richardson and a walk to Green to move a runner in scoring position. Luke Weber drove in the lone score in the frame with a single to center field, as Richardson scored to put USC Upstate back on top.
Answering in the bottom of the inning, the Eagles knotted the score for the second time in the contest. Freshman Nick Rivera (Cape Coral, Fla./Bishop Verot HS) landed on second base with a one-out double down the left field line. Redshirt sophomore Alex Diaz (Miami, Fla./Ferguson HS) entered as a pinch runner for Rivera and later scored on a single to center field by Suchy to send the game to the 11th.
Starting the game for the Eagles, freshman right-hander Michael Murray (West Palm Beach, Fla./Forest Hill HS) earned the no-decision after tossing six innings, allowing just one run on seven hits and one walk, retiring eight of the 26 batters he faced by strikeout.
Entering in relief in the seventh, sophomore righty Jack English (Delray Beach, Fla./Cardinal Newman HS) supplied 0.2 innings prior to the brief rain delay, and graduate student right-hander Richie Erath (West Palm Beach, Fla./Palm Beach Central HS) went 1.1 scoreless innings to get the Green and Blue to the ninth.
Cooney (2-4) earned his second victory of the season, tossing the final three innings and allowing one run on four hits and one walk, while striking out three of the 14 batters he faced.
FGCU scored three runs on 10 hits and one Upstate error. Instrumental in the 11th inning walk-off, Bednar went 3-for-6 in the game while driving in a pair of RBI, and Reeves provided a 2-for-5 day with a walk and the game-winning run scored. Dwyer also supplied a 1-for-4 game with a walk and a run scored and Suchy brought in a RBI in a 1-for-5 afternoon.
The Spartans scored two runs on 12 hits and a pair of FGCU errors. Hit with the loss after 1.1 innings of relief work, senior right-hander Ben Augenstein (2-3) allowed one run on one hit, adding one strikeout. Junior lefty David Roseboom started the contest for USC Upstate and went 7.1 innings, allowing one run on six hits and a pair of walks to go with six strikeouts in the no-decision.
With rain forecasted for Sunday in the Fort Myers area, the two teams have agreed to move the series finale to a 12 p.m. start. The Eagles are prepared to send junior left-hander Brandon Bixler (Oveido, Fla./Hagerty HS) to the mound to start the game, opposite USC Upstate senior right-hander Gaither Bumgardner.
FGCU Probable Pitcher
Sun. – LHP Brandon Bixler, Jr. (3-2, 2.72 ERA, 36.1 IP, 50 K, 28 BB, .195 B/Avg.)
USC Upstate Probable Pitcher
Sun. – RHP Gaither Bumgardner, Sr. (4-1, 3.21 ERA, 33.2 IP, 27 K, 13 BB, .230 B/Avg.)
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