FORT MYERS, Fla. - The FGCU Baseball team defeated the Towson University Tigers 8-4 on day two of the FGCU Classic sponsored by Comfort Inn and Suites.
Relievers Patrick Nathanson (Maitland, Fla.), and Craig Clumbly (Winter Haven, Fla.) threw six and a third, only allowing one run on three hits to help the Eagles pull off the victory. Nathanson improves to 2-0 while Crumbly picks up his first save of the year.
Towson’s Gary Helmick (Pasadena, MD) drove the first pitch of the game back up the middle and after a Josh Upchurch (Cape Coral, Fla.) error, ended up at third base. FGCU’s Nick Ursitti (Lehigh Acres, Fla.) retired the next three batters in order to end the Towson threat.
FGCU got on the board in the bottom of the first after Tim Roberson (West Palm Beach, Fla.) drove in Upchurch with a single to right field.
Towson’s Helmick evened up the score in the top of the third when his single to left got past FGCU’s Tim Kiley (Palm Harbor, Fla.) and rolled to the fence. He rounded the bases and scored to lead off the inning. Two singles, three walks, and two errors allowed the opportunistic Tigers to score three runs in the top of the third to extend their lead to 3-1 over the Eagles.
Nathanson entered the game for the Eagles in the top of the third, and with Towson threatening; he struck out Ben Winter (Eliot City, MD) to stop the bleeding for the Eagles. Towson University left the bases loaded.
The Eagles quickly answered back in the bottom of the third with back to back singles by Stephen Wickens (Whitby, Ontario) and Tim Roberson. Mikel Alvarez (West Plm Beach, Fla.) drove in one run with a ground ball to second to pull within one of the Tigers. Josh Chester (St. Petersburg, FL) reached first after wearing a 1-1 fastball in the back. The Eagles rally was put to an end when Towson’s Drew Permison (Columbia, MD) recorded consecutive strikeouts to end the inning.
With two outs in the bottom of the fourth, Upchurch reached third on a single plus an error and was driven in three pitches later by Stephen Wickens on a two strike single to tie the game at three.
Once again, the Eagles mounted a two out rally in the bottom of the fifth only to be spoiled by a Gary Helmick diving play in the 4-3 hole.
In the sixth inning, the Tigers had runners on first and third with no outs. Nathanon struck out the next batters and received backup from both Chester and Alvarez; both making outstanding diving catches to record consecutive outs.
With one out in the sixth, Roberson belted his second homerun of the year to give the Eagles their first lead of the night; 4-3. Alvarez reached first with a bunt that stopped on the foul line and was immediately followed with a two strike, two out single from Brad Roberts (Tampa, Fla.).
Sophomore Craig Crumbly entered the game in the eighth inning for the Eagles and after sitting down the first two batters he faced, ran into trouble as two Tigers reached base. Two pitches later, Wickens recorded the third out to preserve the lead for the Eagles.
In the Eagles half of the eighth inning, they loaded the bases with one out. Junior Brad Roberts delivered in a big way and unloaded the bases as he smoked a 1-1 fastball over the left field fence.
Four Eagles had multiple hits, Tim Roberson went 4-for-5 with two RBI’s, Stephen Wickens was 2-for-three with two runs scored, Mikel Alvarez was 2-for-3 with an RBI, and Brad Roberts was 2-for-5 with a grand slam.
The Eagles will be back in action tomorrow as they play host to the Bulls of South Florida at 4 p.m. at Swanson Stadium.