FORT MYERS, Fla. – Rollins College jumped out to an early lead and held on to defeat Florida Gulf Coast University 8-7 Friday night in NCAA Division II South Region baseball action at Swanson Stadium.
The Tars (28-26) jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the second on an RBI single by Jesse More. After the Eagles (38-15) tied the game with an unearned run in the third, Rollins sent 10 batters to the plate in a six-run sixth inning to take a 7-1 lead.
The Eagles chipped into the lead with three runs in the bottom of the sixth. Sophomore Mike Cleghorn (Jacksonville, Fla.) and senior Jason Louwsma (Sanford, Fla.) drew back-to-back walks to start the inning. Senior Ian Manson (Plano, Texas) followed with a deep fly ball to left that Tyler Hartman caught near the warning track and was able to double up Cleghorn at second base. Junior Geoff Rottmayer (Clearwater, Fla.) followed with a two-run home run to left to cut the deficit to 7-4.
Rollins added the eventual winning run in the seventh on a lead-off triple by Steve Mannebach and an RBI single from Anthony Soto to make it 8-4.
Eagles’ sophomore Shawn Griffin (Hollywood, Fla.) blasted a long, three-run home run to left field in the bottom of the eight to pull the Eagles within one run at 8-7. FGCU would advance a runner to second in the ninth but were unable to score the equalizer.
More led a 14-hit Rollins attack with three hits. Starter Eduardo Chile (6-7) picked up the win after allowing five hits and four runs, three earned, over the first six innings. Right-hander Michael Eppich worked the ninth for his second save.
Griffin finished 3-for-4 with four RBI’s to pace FGCU, which was held to just seven hits in the game. Junior right-hander Justin Stiver (Englewood, Fla.) took the loss to fall to 6-5.
The two teams conclude the regular season with a single game on Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m.