Eagles Baseball Splits Doubleheader with Florida Tech
MELBOURNE, Fla. – The Florida Gulf Coast University baseball team split a doubleheader with Florida Tech today losing game one 8-7 and winning the nightcap 5-4. The Eagles are now 38-14 this season with two games left to go in the regular season.
In game one, senior Ryan Williams (Fort Myers, Fla.) took the mound for the Eagles. Williams went six innings giving up five runs on eleven hits with five strikeouts before freshman Richard Bleier (Plantation, Fla.) came in relief. Bleier got rocked in the seventh inning as FIT scored two more runs to tie the game. Junior Matt Laliberte (New Port Richey, Fla.) came into finish the game in the eighth for the Eagles. Laliberte gave up the go-ahead run to FIT and picked up his second loss of the season.
The Eagles bats were alive as they scored seven runs but rough pitching allowed FIT to pull off the victory. Florida Tech jumped out to an early 1-0 lead after the first inning. The Eagles would score two runs to take the lead in the top of the second. Sophomore Shawn Griffin (Hollywood, Fla.) hit his seventh homer of the year and freshman Pat Garrido (West Palm Beach, Fla.) had an RBI single to make the score 2-1 in favor of the Eagles. FGCU’s lead did not last as FIT fought back with two runs in the bottom of the second.
FGCU had a hot hitting fourth inning. The Eagles batted around and scored five runs to take the 7-3 lead. The Eagles were tied 7-7 through seven innings until a double by FIT’s Jonathan Baksh scored the go ahead run. Heading into the top of the ninth the Eagles trailed by just one run. With two outs and two runners on, the Eagles were unable to knock in the tying run.
Freshman Casey Coleman (Cape Coral, Fla.) and sophomore Mike Cleghorn (Jacksonville, Fla.) each had three hits in game one. Cleghorn also knocked in two runs for the Eagles. Garrido added two RBI while Griffin and senior Ian Manson (Plano, Texas) both had an RBI.
Game two featured junior right hander Jason Kiley (Palm Harbor, Fla.) on the mound for the Eagles. Kiley walked six batters and gave up four runs on three hits in five innings of action. Sophomore J.J. Crumbley (Tampa, Fla.) came out of the bullpen in the sixth inning for FGCU. Crumbley pitched four shutout innings to pick up his fourth win of the season.
The Eagles scored the first run of the game in the second inning off of an RBI double by Coleman. Florida Tech took the 3-1 lead in the bottom of the third. Kiley started to lose his command and walked four FIT batters which subsequently allowed three runs to cross the plate.
FGCU scored another run in the fifth when senior slugger Jason Louwsma (Sanford, Fla.) doubled to right field scoring sophomore Graig Smith (Venice, Fla.). Florida Tech matched FGCU with a run of their own in the bottom half of the inning.
Going into the top of the seventh the Eagles trailed 4-2. FGCU tied the game with a homerun by Smith (3) and an RBI single by Louwsma. Both teams were blanked in the eighth. In the top of the ninth, with a runner on third and one out, FGCU decided to have Louwsma (.385 avg.) drop a bunt. Louwsma was thrown out on the play but Upchurch, who was on third, was able to score and give the Eagles the go-ahead run.
Florida Tech threatened in the bottom of the ninth with back-to-back singles to start the inning. The Eagles were able to pull off the double play but the lead runner advanced to third. With two outs and the tying run on third, Florida Tech’s Brendan Twomey grounded out to Eagles’ junior reliever Michael Yates (West Palm Beach, Fla.) to end the game.
Smith went three for four on the day while three other Eagles had two hits. Louwsma had three RBI in the game giving him a team high 69. Coleman and Smith knocked in the other two runs for the Eagles.
FGCU will finish out the regular season next weekend at Swanson Stadium against Rollins College. Rollins will travel to Fort Myers, Fla. for a game Friday evening at 7:00 pm and a doubleheader on Saturday that begins at 1:00 pm.