BOCA RATON, Fla. – Lynn University scored seven runs in the seventh and survived a ninth inning rally to defeat Florida Gulf Coast University 8-6 in the first game of a season-ending three game series.
FGCU jumped on top 1-0 in the fourth on a solo home run by junior shortstop Jason Louwsma (Sanford, Fla.). Sophomore right-hander Chris Hassen (Port Charlotte, Fla.) was sharp in the early innings. Hassen did not allow a runner past first base until the fifth inning and then did not allow a runner past seventh until the seventh. Lynn’s Rick Davis struck the first blow with a no out, bases loaded single up the middle to score Paul Pedersen and tie the game at 1-1. Hassen followed with a wild pitch to put Lynn up 2-1 but struck out Donovan O’Dowd for the first out. Perez nailed a single up the middle to clear the bases and increase the lead to 4-1.
Junior left-hander Tony Korson (Bethesda, Md.) came in to relieve Hassen following John Zagaria’s sacrifice bunt, moving Perez to second. Korson immediately threw a wild pitch and walked Jimmy Bacon to put runners on the corners. George Brandner launched the next pitch over the trees in right field to extend the Knights lead to 7-1.
Lynn’s Travis Rios was equally effective through seven innings, allowing only five hits and one run while striking out 11 batters in 6.1 innings pitched, his second consecutive double-digit strikeout performance. Brant Spring came on to pitch 1.2 innings of shutout ball to pick up the win.
After the Knights made it 8-1 on an infield error in the eighth, the Eagles mounted a late comeback. FGCU loaded the bases with two outs and Louwsma blasted a grand slam to deep right center field off reliever Travis Osborn to cut the lead to 8-6. Closer Craig Sheets came on to induce Jason Cooper (Bradenton, Fla.) to ground out to shortstop to pick up his fifth save. Lynn improves to 34-20.
With the two home runs, Louwsma set a single-season FGCU home run record with 14. Joey Tolisano set the previous record of 13 in 2003. Cooper also had two hits for FGCU, now 36-17. Hassen, who was trying to equal his school-record of nine wins in a season, falls to 8-4.
FGCU concludes the regular season on Saturday with a noon doubleheader against Lynn.