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FGCU Outlasts Penn State, 12-11
FORT MYERS, Fla. – Penn State would jump on Eagles starter Craig Crumbly (Winter Haven, Fla.) early scoring two runs in the top of the first inning. After a quick first out, Grant Youngblood (Marietta, Ga.) would fist a single into right field. Three pitches later, on a 2-1 count, Mike Deese (Roswell, Ga.) took a fastball over the fence in left center to give the Nittany Lions a 2-0 lead.
After a one out triple off the right center fence by Josh Upchurch (Cape Coral, Fla.) and an RBI double to the left center gap, the Eagles cut the lead in half.
In the top of the third, Louie Pacconi (North Merrick, N.Y.) singled to left and advanced to third on a perfectly executed hit and run by Youngblood making it second and third with one out. Deese collected his third RBI of the game on a sacrifice fly to left making the score 3-1. The Nittany Lions would score two more runs making the score 5-1 after back to back RBI doubles by Cory Wine (Stillwater, Okla.) and Jordan Staranka (Pittsburgh, Penn.).
FGCU would pull within three after Tim Roberson (West Palm Beach, Fla.) drove a solo home run, his third of the year, just over the right field fence.
Bobby Jacobs (West Chester, Penn.) lead off the fourth for Penn State with a line drive over the shortstops head. After a sacrifice advanced him to second, Blake Lynd (Deer Park, Tex.) would dribble a seeing-eye single through the infield to add one more run to the score. Sophomore Trent Landa (Jacksonville, Fla.) would replace Crumbly for the Eagles and get out of the inning.
In the bottom half of the fourth, Greene would lead off with a walk and would be followed by a Zach Maxfield (Northport, Fla.) single making it first and second for Josh Chester (St. Petersburg, Fla.). Chester would walk on five pitches loading the bases for the Eagles. After a strike out, Steven Wickens (Whitby, Ontario) would drive in two with a single up the middle making the score 6-4.
The visiting Nittany Lions would tack on three more in the fifth after two infield hits, an Eagle error, where a ball was thrown away, and an RBI single by Landon Nakata (Honolulu, Haw.). Penn State’s Youngblood would flare a single past Wickens and would advance to third on a Desse double to right, his third of the game. Three pitches later, Wine belted a two RBI single up the middle extending the Penn State lead to 11-4.
FGCU would turn it on in the bottom of the eighth, scoring seven runs. Greene and Chester would draw back to back walks to lead off the inning. Freshman Joe Guarnaccia (Davie, Fla.) singled to left to drive in Greene making the score 11-5. Back-to-back walks by Wickens and Upchurch would push one more run across the plate and load the bases for Roberson. Roberson would drop a towering grand slam homerun 417 feet to pull the Eagles within one run making the score 11-10. Alvarez would lay down a bunt the next pitch and Penn State’s pitcher would throw the ball into right field allowing him to advance to second. Roberts would tie the game on a one out RBI double to right field that allowed Alvarez to score from second. Maxfield grounded out to second to end the Eagles seven run eighth inning.
After the Eagles held Penn State at bay in the top of the eighth, Chester would get hit by a pitch with two strikes and would later be throw out at second on a Guarnaccia bunt for the first out of the inning. Wickens would single up the middle making it first and second with one out for senior Josh Upchurch. Upchurch would walk on five pitches to load the bases for the Eagles with only one out. After a pitching change, Roberson would ground into an inning ending 4-6-3 double play forcing the game into extra innings.
FGCU’s Derek Shaw (New Port Richey, Fla.) retired the side three up, three down in the tenth and eleventh.
In the bottom of the eleventh inning, with one out, Chester double to right center and advanced to third on a Guarnaccia groundout. Wickens grounded out to second leaving Chester stranded on third.
In the bottom of the twelfth, Upchurch walked and was move over by Roberson’s sacrifice bunt. After Alvarez reached first on an intentional walk, Roberts flew out to right field. With two outs, Greene would strike out swinging to end the Eagle threat.
After a Wickens error to begin the fourteenth inning, Penn State failed on a bunt attempt and was doubled up on a strike’em out throw’em out play by Greene. Shaw would strikeout Deese to end the inning.
Wickens would lead off the bottom of the fourteenth with a walk and the Eagles would find themselves with first and second nobody out after Upchurch beat out a sacrifice bunt. Roberson was unable to lay down the bunt and struck out for the first out. Alvarez would come to the plate with two on and one out and reach base on a fielder’s choice leaving runners at first and third for Roberts. Roberts would deliver in the clutch and drive in the game winning run with a single back up the middle.
Derek Shaw picked up the win, pitching 5.1 flawless innings of relief, not allowing any hits or walks, and striking out seven Nittany Lions. Shaw improved to 2-1 on the season. Scott Kelley took the loss, allowing a run on two hits in two innings of relief, striking out four. Kelley dropped to 2-2 on the season.
The Eagles and the Nittany Lions close out their two-game series tomorrow afternoon at Swanson Stadium. First pitch is set for 4:00 PM.