2/28/2014 | Gainesville, FL | Attendance: 0
WP | Ryan Castellanos (1-0): 7.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 5 SO
LP | Zack Tillery (0-1): 4.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 SO
SV | Reid Roper (1): 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 SO
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The FGCU baseball team (6-4) allowed errors to bite them once again as the Fighting Illini of Illinois (3-4) capitalized for three runs and held on for a 3-2 victory on Friday in the first of two meetings between these programs this weekend. |
Zack Tillery (Naples, Fla./Barron Collier HS) made his debut on the mound for the Green and Blue Friday afternoon and tossed four innings, allowed six hits, two runs, one unearned and stuck out one. Tillery went 4-1 last season with a 3.98 ERA. The Eagles would use four pitchers who combined to give up 10 hits, three runs, walking two and strike out two.
Michael Suchy (Bradenton HS/Southeast HS) paced the Eagle bats with a pair of doubles and one RBI. Jake Noll (Punta Gorda, Fla./Charlotte HS) went 1-4 with a stolen base as the Green and Blue struggled at the plate registering just four hits in this one. Tyler Selesky (Estero, Fla./Estero HS) collected the only other FGCU RBI, his third of the season.
"Any time you hit that many fly ball outs it's going to hurt," head coach Dave Tollett added. "Errors did us in again, we need to cut down on that if we expect to get better."
The Fighting Illini would strike first on Friday afternoon, jumping on Tillery early by picking up a one-out single to left. Cody Hoffner (Sebring, Fla./Broward College) bobbled the ball on the play allowing the runner to advance to second. With two outs, Reid Roper singled to left to bring home the first run of the game.
Illinois would add a second run in the second inning in similar fashion. A leadoff single and groundout put Ryan Nagle in scoring position. A second groundout moved Nagle to third and a Kolakowski single brought him in to give the Fighting Illini a 2-0 lead.
Illinois starter Ryan Castellanos retired the first 11 FGCU batters in order before Suchy came to the plate with two out in the fourth and ripped his third double of the season off the wall in left. He would be stranded however and FGCU would pick up just one more hit prior to the sixth.
Tillery pitched just four innings and would be relieved by freshman Garrett Anderson (Arcadia, Fla./DeSoto HS) who came on to throw 2.2 innings but allowed one run in the bottom of the fifth to give Illinois a 3-0 lead. Coming into the game FGCU held a 2-3 record when trailing after five innings.
In the top half of the sixth, the Eagles picked up two quick outs but a Noll single sparked the two-out rally. The Punta Gorda native would steal second, his sixth swipe of the season, and a Tyler Selesky single to left-center allowed him to come around and score the first run of the ball game for the Green and Blue. Suchy followed with his second double of the afternoon off the left field wall to bring Selesky all the way around from first but that would be all the Eagles would get in the sixth as Illinois would escape the sixth with a 3-2 lead.
FGCU went down in order in the seventh and with Illinois runners on first and third and two down in the bottom half, Andris Gonzalez (Miami, Fla./Indian River State College) relieved Anderson and got Roper to fly out to center, ending the threat.
Gage Morey (West Palm Beach Central, PB Central) came to the plate to lead off the eighth, worked a walk and advanced to second thanks to a sacrifice bunt from shortstop Alex Diaz (Miami, Fla./John A. Ferguson). Kevin Young (Ponta Vedra Beach, Fla./Ponta Vedra Beach HS) pinch hit for Selesky with two outs and struck out, stranding Morey and keeping the Illinois lead at 3-2 with just three outs left for the Eagles.
Sterling Koerner (Fort Pierce, Fla./John Carrol HS) took over the duties on the mound in the eighth looking to keep the Fighting Illini at bay and give the Green and Blue a chance in the ninth. He would sneak out a first-and-second-no-one-out jam to keep the score at 3-2.
Suchy came to the plate to lead off the ninth and went down on strikes bringing up Nick Rivera (Cape Coral, Fla./Bishop Verot HS) who worked a full count before also going down on strikes as well. Hoffner came up as the Eagles last hope but grounded out to end the game, giving Illinois a 3-2 victory and handing FGCU its fourth loss of the season.
FGCU has now committed 19 errors this season which have resulted in 18 unearned runs on the scoreboard. Meanwhile the Eagle hurlers have compiled a 2.15 team ERA and have walked just 17 batters in 10 games for a WHIP of 1.17.
The Eagles conclude their weekend in Gainesville tomorrow beginning with a 1 p.m. rematch with Illinois and concluded with a 7 p.m. tilt with Florida. FGCU is looking to sweep the Gators at home for the second consecutive season. It will be either Brad Labozzetta (Lakeland, Fla./Lakeland HS) or Jack English (Delray Beach, Fla./Cardinal Newman HS) toeing the rubber for the Green and Blue against Illinois while Nick Deckert (Tallahassee, Fla./Tallahassee CC) will take the ball against Florida.