@FGCU_Baseball Takes A-Sun Series with USC Upstate Despite Sunday Loss
|Win: BUMGARDNER (5-1)||7.0||7||4||3||1||6|
|Loss: BIXLER (3-3)||0.2||1||5||5||4||1|
FORT MYERS, Fla. – Using extra innings to earn victories in the opening two games of the Atlantic Sun Conference weekend set, the FGCU baseball team was unable to complete the series sweep of USC Upstate on Sunday afternoon at Swanson Stadium, falling to the Spartans 17-9.
The Eagles come away from the weekend with a 22-14 overall record, which includes an 8-7 mark against league foes. Meanwhile, the Spartans exit Fort Myers holding on to a 23-18 (8-10 A-Sun) record on the season. FGCU also upped its all-time record to 112-53 in A-Sun contests, a mark that has seen the Eagles establish an 11-7 advantage in the all-time series with USC Upstate.
USC Upstate was quick to take a lead in the contest, moving seven runs across the plate in the top half of the first inning. The lead grew to 9-0 in the visitor’s half of the third as three more Spartans touched the plate to extend the advantage.
FGCU broke into the scoring column in the bottom of the third after back-to-back one-out singles by freshman Tyler Selesky (Estero, Fla./Estero HS) and senior Mike Reeves (Peterborough, Ontario/St. Peter’s Secondary). Both runners advanced one bag on the second out of the inning, setting up a two-RBI single though the right side by junior Brandon Bednar (Stuart, Fla./South Fork HS) as the score read 9-2 in favor of USC Upstate.
The Spartans came through with a combined five runs over the fourth, fifth and sixth innings to establish a 14-2 edge over the Green and Blue.
The Eagles doubled their output in the bottom of the seventh when redshirt sophomore Alex Diaz (Miami, Fla./Ferguson HS) reached on an error by the first baseman and moved into scoring position at second base on the play. After Selesky reached on a 3-2 walk, Reeves connected for an RBI single into right field, also moving runners to the corners with one out. Selesky later scored in the inning on a fielder’s choice groundout to second base by junior Sean Dwyer (Tavares, Fla./Tavares HS) to cut the deficit to 14-4.
Bringing in three more runs in the top of the eighth on a two-RBI double by Tyler Lesch and another RBI single by Luke Weber, the Upstate lead swelled to 17-4 entering the final frame.
The Green and Blue attempted to rally in the their last chance at the plate, sending five runs across the dish. Freshman Colton Bottomley (Davie, Fla./Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS) touched first on a single though the left side and was followed by another single into left field by Diaz. The Eagles held runners on the corners with one away when Selesky reached on a fielder’s choice, prior to Reeves roping a single into left field to score Bottomley. After Selesky scored and Reeves moved to second on a groundout to first by Dwyer, FGCU lowered the Upstate lead to 17-7 with another RBI single to right field by Bednar. The final strike in the contest came off the bat of freshman Nick Rivera (Cape Coral, Fla./Bishop Verot HS), who blasted a two-run home run over the left field wall with two away in the inning. The rally stopped there however, as the Spartans prevented the A-Sun weekend sweep with a line drive out to left field to end the game and finalize the 17-9 victory.
Starting the contest on the mound of the Eagles, junior lefty Brandon Bixler (Oviedo, Fla./Hagerty HS) (3-3) was handed the loss after going 0.2 innings and allowing five runs on one hit and four walks. The Eagles used a combination of seven arms through the contest.
FGCU scored nine runs on 12 hits and pair of Upstate errors. Reeves produced the most offensively on the day, going 4-for-5 with a triple, two RBI and a pair of runs scored. Scoring three times, Selesky provided a 2-for-5 game, while Bednar went 2-for-5 with three RBI and a run scored. On the strength of the ninth-inning home run, Rivera went 1-for-5 in the game with a run scored and two RBI. Diaz and Bottomley each scored once in 1-for-4 afternoons.
USC Upstate brought in 17 runs on 20 hits and pair of FGCU errors. It marked a season high for hits allowed by the Eagles this season, surpassing the 15 they allowed earlier this month to FAU (April 10). It also established the most runs allowed in a league loss since joining the A-Sun in 2008, in addition to the second most runs allowed in a Division I loss after surrendering 19 runs to Central Michigan (Feb. 20) during the 2009 season.
For the series, the Eagles brought in 15 runs and 15 RBI while hitting a collective .267. Reeves batted .600 (9-for-15) over the three games, recording a triple, two RBI and four runs scored while leading the team with a .625 on-base and .733 slugging percentage. Bottomley held a .417 mark (5-for-12) on the weekend, with one double, one RBI and one run scored. Bednar hit .313 (5-for-16) with one double, driving in a team-best five RBI and scoring once.
FGCU now turns its attention to a two-game mid-week series at Swanson Stadium with Bethune-Cookman, beginning Tuesday evening at 6:30 p.m. The two schools will return to the field on Wednesday night, also slated for a 6:30 p.m. first pitch. A preview for the pair of games will be available at www.FGCUATHLETICS.com on Monday.
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