FGCU Baseball Uses Big Inning to Defeat Lynn
Tampa, Fla. – A five-run sixth inning propelled #2 Florida Gulf Coast to a 7-5 victory over #5 Lynn in the first day of play at the NCAA Division II South Regional. No. 29 FGCU improves to 40-15 on the season while Lynn drops to 33-22.
Lynn struck first with three runs in the top of the third. Harrison Lam put the Knights on the board with a two-run home run and Lynn then added another run on a Tommy Tickenoff single to right center. After the three-run third inning, Eagles' starter Justin Stiver (Englewood, Fla.) exited after giving up a lead-off single in the fourth. The junior right-hander allowed three runs on five hits in three innings, walking five and striking out three.
A two-out rally in the fifth stretched Lynn’s lead to 4-0 as Tickenoff doubled home George Brandner. After an error by Lynn, FGCU responded with a run in the bottom of the fifth as freshman second baseman Casey Coleman (Cape Coral, Fla.)scored on sophomore catcher Graig Smith's (Venice, Fla.) RBI single with two outs.
FGCU took a 6-4 lead with a five-run sixth inning, highlighted by a two-run double by Smith. That was following RBI singles by Coleman and freshman shortstop Pat Garrido (West Palm Beach, Fla.) The four runs in the sixth chased Lynn starting pitcher Chris Snow, who gave up four earned runs and eight hits in 5 2/3 innings. Snow also struck out two while walking none. Bobby Nunn, who relieved Snow, immediately gave up an RBI single to freshman centerfielder Josh Upchurch (Cape Coral, Fla.) and then walked sophomore first baseman Mike Cleghorn (Jacksonville, Fla.) before being lifted for Aaron Miller, who recorded the final out of the inning.
Lynn cut the Eagles' lead to 6-5 as Felix Martinez and Brandner led the seventh inning off with base hits. Martinez then crossed the plate on a Ricky Gerena double play groundout. FGCU got the run back in the eighth, as Upchurch scored on a two-out Cleghorn single to give the Eagles a 7-5 lead.
Coleman came on in the ninth to record the save for Florida Gulf Coast after freshamn lefty Richard Bleier (Plantation, Fla.) pitched five strong innings in relief, yielding two runs on five hits. Bleier also struck out three Knight batters.
FGCU advances to play the winner of Thursday night's Catawba/Florida Southern matchup at 7:00 p.m. on Friday night.
In Thursday's early game, top-seed Tampa shut out #6 seed Albany State 14-0.