Coleman leads FGCU Baseball past Saint Leo
FORT MYERS, Fla. – Freshman Casey Coleman (Cape Coral, Fla.) threw a complete-game eight-hitter Tuesday night to lead No. 21 Florida Gulf Coast University to a 7-3 NCAA Division II South Region baseball victory at Swanson Stadium.
With the win, FGCU improves to 32-10 on the season. Saint Leo drops to 30-19. Both teams are in contention for an at-large berth in the NCAA Division II regional tournament.
“When you get down to the final weeks of the season you’ll take a win any way you get one,” said FGCU head coach Dave Tollett. “A regional win over a team like Saint Leo that is also battling for an NCAA tournament spot is huge for us.”
The first FGCU pitcher to register a nine-inning complete game this season, Coleman (3-0) held the Lions scoreless through the first seven innings of the game, allowing just four hits in that stretch. He allowed three hits and three runs in the eighth inning but came back to shut down the Lions on one hit in the ninth inning. The right-hander struck out four and walked two, while also hitting three batters.
“For a freshman to step up and pitch the way he did in a tough ballgame was outstanding,” said Tollett.
FGCU got on the board with single runs in each of the first three innings, each run coming with two outs. Senior Ian Manson (Plano, Texas) had an RBI fielder’s choice in the first, sophomore Graig Smith (Venice, Fla.) singled home senior Chris Perry (Largo, Fla.) in the second and sophomore Shawn Griffin (Jacksonville, Fla.) had an RBI single in the third for a 3-0 lead.
The Eagles added three more runs in the sixth inning. Junior Geoff Rottmayer (Clearwater, Fla.) led off the inning with his ninth home run of the season to make it 4-0. Back-to-back singles by Perry and freshman Pat Garrido (West Palm Beach, Fla.) chased Lions starter Pete Martinez (2-5). After reliever Carter Clements retired Smith for the first out, freshman Josh Upchurch (Cape Coral, Fla.) singled to load the bases. Sophomore Mike Cleghorn (Jacksonville, Fla.) and senior Jason Louwsma (Sanford, Fla.) followed with run-scoring singles for a 6-0 advantage.
Saint Leo cut the lead in half in the eighth inning on a three-run home run to right field by first baseman Eric Spicer. FGCU would add an unearned run on a throwing error in the bottom of the inning for the final margin.
Four players had two hits apiece for FGCU, which had 13 hits in the game. Upchurch went 2-for-5 with two runs scored while Cleghorn, Louwsma and Garrido each went 2-for-4.
FGCU begins a three-game series with Lynn University with a single-game on Saturday night at 7 p.m.