4/5/2014 | Fort Myers, Fla. | Attendance: 242
WP | Brady Anderson (2-1): 4.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 SO
LP | Justin McCalvin (2-3): 4.1 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 SO
BOX SCORE (PDF)
FORT MYERS, Fla. – Trailing 3-2 in the bottom of the ninth, the FGCU baseball team (21-11, 7-1 Atlantic Sun) sent six batters to the plate against one of the nation’s top relievers and mounted a two-run rally that allowed the Eagles to walk off with a 4-3 victory against Kennesaw State (14-20, 2-9 A-Sun) on Saturday afternoon.
Ryan O’Malley (San Jose, Ca./College of San Mateo) came to the plate with the bases loaded, one out and a tie score in the bottom of the ninth and lifted a sacrifice fly to center to bring in the game-winning run. It was O’Malley’s second RBI of the game and his second clutch hit in less than a week as he also provided a go-ahead, two-RBI triple in the ninth inning opposite Florida A&M on Wednesday.
“Picking up a win like this says a lot about our team,” said head coach Dave Tollett. “This is a very strong league and you have to be able to go get wins and we did that today. Our lineup struggled early on this year but it has done some growing up and is finding an identity.”
Jake Noll (Punta Gorda, Fla./Charlotte HS) and Colton Bottomley (Davie, Fla./Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS) both went 3-5 at the plate and scored two runs each while Michael Suchy (Bradenton, Fla./Southeast HS) and Zack Tillery (Naples, Fla./Barron Collier HS) each drove in a run.
FGCU starting pitcher Nick Deckert (Tallahassee, Fla./Tallahassee CC) worked through 5.0 innings, allowed four hits, walked three and struck out five but gave up two runs, raising his ERA to 2.83. Brady Anderson (Arcadia, Fla./DeSoto HS) came on in relief and only gave up two hits over four innings but one run came across the plate to give KSU a 3-2 lead at the time. He would go on to pick up his second win of the season, striking out three in the process.
The Eagles were the first to strike and wasted little time doing so. In the bottom of the first, Noll led off with a single and Bottomley promptly followed with a hit of his own, moving Noll over to third on the play. Tillery grounded into a fielder’s choice but brought in Noll for the first run of the ball game.
Kennesaw State would answer in the top half of the third, putting its first runs of the weekend on the board. Jacob Bruce would get hit by a pitch with one out and stole second to give preseason All-American Max Pentecost and RBI opportunity. He would come through with a single to tie the game and came around to score two batters later when Bo Way singled to give KSU a 2-1 advantage.
Bottomley led off the bottom of the fifth with a single and Suchy followed by getting hit by a pitch. Tillery sacrificed both runners into scoring position and Nick Rivera (Cape Coral, Fla./Bishop Verot HS) walked to load the bases for O’Malley who came on as a pinch hitter with no one out against new KSU pitcher Justin McCalvin. McCalvin came into the game with the fifth best WHIP (Walks + Hits Per Innings Pitched) ratio in the nation at 0.68. The Owl reliever would hit the first batter he faced however to allow FGCU to tie the score at two.
Kennesaw State collected the go-ahead run in the top of the eighth, setting the stage for the FGCU rally in the bottom of the ninth. Noll led off the inning with a single to center and once again it was Bottomley following with a hit; a double down the left field line to put the game-winning run on second with no one out for Suchy. The Bradenton, Fla. native bounced a ground ball to short that would score Noll to tie the game but recorded the first out of the frame. With Bottomley alone on second, the Owls opted to intentionally walk Tillery to create the force play. Rivera followed with a walk of his own to load the bases for O’Malley who lifted a fly ball to deep center which provided plenty of time for Bottomley to tag and trot home, securing the 4-3 victory for the Green and Blue.
FGCU now leads the all-time series 16-7 and will be in search of a sweep tomorrow afternoon when it concludes its series with KSU at 1 p.m. The Eagles are 7-1 in A-Sun play for the third time in program history; they have never been 8-1.
ATLANTIC SUN CHAMPIONSHIP
For the first time in program history, the FGCU baseball team will play host to the 2014 Atlantic Sun Baseball Championship set to take place May 21-25 at Swanson Stadium. The top eight teams in the standings at the end of the regular season will advance to the championship and compete in a double-elimination style tournament to determine the A-Sun’s automatic qualifier to the NCAA Tournament. The Eagles are three-time A-Sun Regular Season Champions and finished second in the league last season.
Single-game tickets for FGCU Baseball are available at a cost of $6 for adults and $3 for children. Season tickets and tickets to the 2014 Atlantic Sun Championship are also available. For more information and additional deals, visit FGCUathletics.com/tickets, or call the ticket office at 239-590-7145.