Murray and the Bats Cruise Past USC-Upstate in #ASunBSB Opener
Friday, March 21, 2014 | by Matt Moretti III (@Moretts13)
Photo Courtesy: Jim Dostie
Photo Courtesy: Jim Dostie
FGCU (14-8)
USC Upstate (9-14)
3/21/2014 | Spartanburg, S.C. | Attendance: 109
USC Upstate000000000021
Win: MURRAY (5-0) 8.0200010
Loss: MANUPPELLI (3-2) 2.076110
RIVERA (FGCU) 514301



WP | Michael Murray (5-0): 8.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 10 SO
LP | Zac Manupelli (3-2): 2.0 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 0 SO

 ­­– The FGCU baseball team (14-8, 1-0 Atlantic Sun) got the offense rolling early and never looked back riding the hot arm of Mike Murray to an 8-0 victory over USC-Upstate (9-14, 1-3 A-Sun) on Friday night, starting off A-Sun play with a win for the sixth-consecutive season.

Murray (West Palm Beach, Fla./Forest Hill HS) came out on a Friday night and dominated once again, picking up his fifth-straight win and matching his 2013 win total. The two-time A-Sun Pitcher of the Week struck out 10 batters over 8.0 scoreless innings allowing just two hits, both of which came in the third inning and lowering his A-Sun leading ERA to 0.20. Murray has now held his opponents without an earned run in each of his last five starts and has allowed just one earned run this season, striking out 49 – five short of 2013 total of 54 – and walking just five batters.

The middle men in the order drove in seven of the Eagle’s eight runs. Michael Suchy (Bradenton, Fla./Southeast HS) went 2-2, driving in four and scoring twice from the three-hole while Nick Rivera (Cape Coral, Fla./Bishop Verot HS) sprayed four hits, including his first homerun of the season and drove in three batting behind Suchy. The Green and Blue would collect 16 hits in all with five players picking up multiple.

“Great start to the conference season,” head coach Dave Tollett added. “Murray did his thing and the bats gave him plenty of support which is huge in any league game. We put it all together tonight for the first time this season and hopefully we realized that work to towards that every night the rest of the way.”

FGCU wasted no time getting the scoring started in this one as Jake Noll (Punta Gorda, Fla./Charlotte HS) led off with a double to right-center. Suchy came to the plate with one out and drove in Noll on a single through the left side to put the first tally on the board. That would be all the Green and Blue would get in the first but they were far from done.

In the second, Colton Bottomley (Davie, Fla./Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS) led things off with a single and with bases loaded following an error, Gage Morey (West Palm Beach, Fla./PB Central) reached on a fielder’s choice but Bottomley would be forced out at home for the second out of the inning. Suchy then came to the plate and singled again, driving in two bringing up Rivera who drove his first homerun of the season over the left-field wall, collecting all three of his RBI on the night in one swing.

With a 6-0 lead in hand, Murray gave up the only two hits he would allow all night in the bottom of the third and clamped down on the Spartans from there. His 10 strikeouts are the second most he has recorded this season and make the fourth start in which he has struck out at least nine.

After the Eagles tacked on one more in the eighth, Tollett turned the ball over to Brad Labozzetta (Lakeland, Fla./Lakeland HS), making just his second relief appearance of the season who worked a nearly clean ninth to close out the 8-0 win for Murray and the Eagles. Noll, the nation’s leader in stolen bases was held without a swipe on Friday night.

FGCU will conclude its first A-Sun series of the year tomorrow in a doubleheader beginning at 2 p.m. due to weather concerns on Sunday. It will be the fourth double-dip of the season for FGCU of which they have only swept one and have been swept once.