BOCA RATON, Fla. – Harrison Lam singled to left-centerfield with two outs in the bottom of the 10th inning to give Lynn University a 5-4 win over No. 17 Florida Gulf Coast University in NCAA Division II South Region action Tuesday afternoon at McCusker Sports Complex. Lynn improves to 27-13. FGCU falls to 28-10.
With one out in the 10th, Felix Martinez singled to right, moved to second on a balk against Eagles’ freshman lefty Richard Bleier (Plantation, Fla.). Junior right-hander Justin Stiver (Englewood, Fla.) came on to strike out Ricky Gerena for the second out before Lam connected to drive home Martinez with the game winner.
After being held hitless by sophomore reliever Craig Sheets for four innings, FGCU rallied to tie the game at 4-4 in the ninth. Sophomore Graig Smith (Venice, Fla.) led off with a single and advanced to second on a fielding error by third baseman Jimmy Bacon. Senior Jason Louwsma (Sanford, Fla.) followed with a double down the left field line to score Smith with the tying run. After issuing an intentional walk to senior Ian Manson (Plano, Texas), Sheets got out of the jam by inducing sophomore Mike Cleghorn (Jacksonville, Fla.) to ground into a double play.
For the first six innings of the game, it was all FGCU. The Eagles jumped on the board first with a pair of runs in the first inning. Senior Chris Perry (Largo, Fla.) grounded a one-out single up the middle and advanced to second on a fielding error by Lynn shortstop Gerena on a ball hit in the hole by Louwsma. Manson followed with an RBI double down the right field line to score Perry. Knights’ starter Joel Burnett then plunked Cleghorn in the helmet to load the bases. FGCU pitcher Casey Coleman (Cape Coral, Fla.) followed with a sacrifice fly to centerfield for a quick 2-0 lead. FGCU would take a 3-0 lead in the third on a two-out RBI double by Coleman that scored Manson, who had drawn a one-out walk.
Making his fifth start of the season, Coleman (3-0), a freshman right-hander, allowed just four singles and a walks while striking out eight Knights through the sixth. In the seventh, the Knights loaded the bases with one out on a pair of walks sandwiched around a double to right field by first baseman George Brandner. Senior left-hander Ryan Williams (Estero, Fla.) replaced Coleman and, after a strikeout, gave up a walk and two-run single that tied the game at 3-3.
Lynn took a 4-3 lead in the eighth on a solo home run to right field by Tommy Tickenoff off Eagles right-hander Matt Laliberte (New Port Richey, Fla.), who allowed just one run in 2 1/3 innings of relief.
FGCU had just two hits off Sheets (2-2), who pitched the final six innings for the win. Bleier (0-1) was saddled with the loss. Coleman had a double and two RBI to lead the Eagles offensively.
FGCU is off until next Tuesday, April 18 when it travels to Saint Leo for a South Region contest at 6 p.m.