FGCU Baseball Beats Saint Leo in Slugfest
SAINT LEO, Fla. – No. 26 Florida Gulf Coast University banged out 19 hits to overpower Saint Leo University 12-7 in NCAA South Region baseball action at Southard Stadium Tuesday night. FGCU improves to 29-10 while Saint Leo falls to 30-15.
FGCU rallied from an early 3-0 deficit by scoring once in the second inning, twice in the third and once in the fourth inning to take a 4-3 advantage. After the Lions jumped ahead in the bottom of the first inning on a three-run home run by right fielder Rhett Teller, the Eagles battled to tie the game at three by scoring one run in the second on a groundout and two runs in the fourth on a home run to right field by sophomore left fielder Mike Cleghorn (Jacksonville, Fla.).
FGCU took a 4-3 lead in the fourth inning on a sacrifice fly by freshman center fielder Josh Upchurch (Cape Coral, Fla.). Saint Leo would tie the game again in the bottom of the inning on a two-out, two-strike RBI triple to centerfield by shortstop Jerry Gonzalez.
Saint Leo tied the game at 4-4 with a run in the bottom of the fourth, only to see FGCU regain the lead with three runs fifth inning on RBI base hits from Shawn Griffin (Jacksonville, Fla.), Casey Coleman (Cape Coral, Fla.) and Pat Garrido (West Palm Beach, Fla.).
Saint Leo rallied to score a pair of runs in the sixth inning on back-to-back singles from Sean VanGuilder and Eric Mesa to get the Lions within one run at 7-6 and knock Eagles starter Justin Stiver (Englewood, Fla.) from the game. But FGCU freshman left-hander Richard Bleier (Plantation, Fla.) came on to strike out Eric Spicer with runners on second and third to end the threat.
The Eagles capitalized on a throwing error on Lions’ catcher Ricky Nolan to score three runs in the seventh inning, two of which were unearned. Saint Leo added an unearned run in the bottom of the seventh but was shut down by Coleman over the final two innings. FGCU added insurance runs in both the eight and ninth innings for the 12-7 final.
Stiver picked up the win for FGCU, earning his team-high sixth win of the year. Stiver threw five and two-thirds innings, allowing six runs on ten hits. Coleman earned his fourth save with three innings of relief work, to tie the single-season save record. Lions’ starter Carter Clements took the loss, allowing four runs on eight hits in three and two-thirds innings.
The Eagles had four hitters with three hits apiece and two hitters with a pair of hits. Cleghorn went 3-for-4 with three RBI and two runs scored. Griffin went 3-for-5, including two doubles and a RBI, while junior Geoff Rottmayer (Clearwater, Fla.) was 3-for-5 with a run scored. Garrido went 3-for-5 with a pair of runs scored. Upchurch and senior Jason Louwsma (Sanford, Fla.) had two hits each. Teller led Saint Leo with two hits and three RBI. Four other players added two hits each.
FGCU continues its eight-game road trip with a 6 p.m. game on Wednesday at Palm Beach Atlantic.