FGCU Baseball Ends Regular Season with Doubleheader Split
BOCA RATON, Fla. – The Florida Gulf Coast University baseball team closed out the regular season with a doubleheader split at Lynn University, winning game one 9-6 and dropping the nightcap 6-1.
Junior catcher Jason Cooper (Bradenton, Fla.) blasted a three-run home run in the ninth inning to snap a 6-6 tie and propel the Eagles to the win in the opener. Junior second baseman Chris Perry (Largo, Fla.) led off with a double down the left field line. After David Cox (Sarasota, Fla.) grounded out, Knights closer Craig Sheets intentionally walked junior Jason Louwsma (Sanford, Fla.) to set the stage for Cooper. Cooper then crushed a 2-2 pitch high over the trees in left field for his fifth home run of the year.
FGCU led 5-1 into the fifth before Lynn rallied for five runs, all coming with two outs, off Eagles starter Jason Kiley (Palm Harbor, Fla.). Three walks and two singles in five consecutive at-bats, plus a costly throwing error, allowed the Knights to take a 6-5 lead.
The Eagles tied the game at 6-6 in the eighth inning, as freshman outfielder Shawn Griffin (Hollywood, Fla.) hit a one-out RBI single up the middle to score junior third baseman Ian Manson (Plano, Tex.), who had singled to lead off the inning and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by sophomore Derek Mollica (Boca Raton, Fla.).
FGCU scored five runs, three earned, in the first inning after sending nine batters to the plate. Cooper drove in three runs with a bases-loaded double and the Eagles scored two more on Knights throwing error for a 5-0 lead.
Cooper keyed a nine-hit attack with two hits and six RBI while Mollica added a pair of hits. Freshman J.J. Crumbley (Tampa, Fla.) pitched two perfect innings of relief to pick up the win. John Zagaria, Raymond Perez and Donovan O’Dowd had two hits each for Lynn. Sheets (3-3) took the loss.
The Knights cruised offensively in game two, scoring at least one run in four of the seven innings. Rick Davis had a two-out, two-run double to right center field in the second inning for a 2-0 lead. Lynn went up 4-0 in the fourth after a costly error allowed two runs to score. They added single runs in the fifth and sixth innings.
FGCU scored its only run in the fifth when Cox launched a double to deep center field to score Manson, who had singled. The Eagles had a chance to add another run on a fly ball to rightfield by Mollica, but Perez ‘s throw from right field was on target as O’Dowd easily tagged out Cox at home.
Lynn starter Joe Cox (9-4) held FGCU to just five hits to pick up the win. FGCU senior right hande4r Billy Phillips (New Port Richey, Fla.) allowed six hits and five runs over five innings to fall to 6-4.
FGCU finishes the year 37-18. Lynn closes the regular season at 35-21. Only the top-four teams in the South Region advance to NCAA regional play. Coming into the series, the Eagles were sixth and the Knights seventh. NCAA regional play begins May 19.